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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Marjory Stephenson to Walter Fletcher Annotation pdf (135,046 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Marjory Stephenson to Walter Fletcher
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (135,046 Bytes)
1931-11-08 (November 8, 1931)
Stephenson, Marjory
Fletcher, Walter
Original Repository: Medical Research Council Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Medical Research Council. Archives.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Research Personnel
Exhibit Category:
Shifting Focus: Early Work on Bacterial Transformation, 1928-1940
Metadata Record Letter from Walter Fletcher to Marjory Stephenson (November 9, 1931) pdf (84,302 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record [Excerpt from] "Innovation in Normal Science: Bacterial Physiology" (June 1985) pdf (100,733 Bytes) ocr (3,865 Bytes)
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 2
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Personal and Biographical, 1931-2000
Folder: Additional Materials Relating to O.T. Avery, 1931-1948, 1960-1972, 1987-1999
Nov. 8. 1931.
Dear Sir Walter,
I have now been back from the States one week and have much to tell you but I will begin with the item which needs your active assistance.
A rather promising young man, one Dr. Tarr from Montreal, has turned up to work in this Department on problems of bacterial metabolism. His own wish is to investigate biochemically the difference in two strains of the same organism exhibiting rough and smooth type colonies especially where such types show a difference in pathogenicity. I suggested to him that it would be interesting to adopt for the purpose the haemolytic streps associated with puerperal fever in view of the fact that the M.R. C was inaugurating an attack on this disease, and that therefore material and cooperation might be forthcoming and we might also hope to gather results which might be of use in characterization of strains. The young man in question fell in very readily with this proposal; will you let me know if it strikes you as a feasible plan and if so help us to get in touch with the right bacteriologist to supply us with strains.
I had a marvelous time in America both as regards holiday and work. As regards the latter, on the technical side I worked first in the Department of Prof. Robert Chambers in Washington Square where I learnt the use of his micro-dissection apparatus and then T was passed on to Dr. Morton Kahn of Cornell who is an expert in the application of the apparatus to the isolation of the single bacterial cell. In both these Departments I received an incredible lot of kindness and invaluable help. I am now engaged in trying to acquire the (rather expensive) apparatus from Leitz.
From Dr. Dakin I got introductions to Avery and Heidelberger and from these I was enabled to get a most valuable insight into the methods by which chemical problems of immunology are being attacked and a view of the rapidity with which this subject is advancing over there; in fact I got the idea that along these lines the most significant move in biochemistry is now being made. The subject is being approached from so many angles by so many workers (al1 quite ready to spend time telling one all about it) that one finally comes away with a very vivid idea of the lines on which things are progressing.
However I can't tell you all in a letter so I will stop right now.
Yours sincerely,
Marjory Stephenson.
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Annotation by Joshua Lederberg:
KW:  visited Chambers, Kahn re single cell isolation; Avery Heidelberg
re chemical immunology -- no ref. to transformation; a Dr Tarr interested
in chemistry of Rough/Smooth bacterial colonies;

jl 11/24/99