In the early 1970s, Lederberg worked diligently to dispel what he believed was the "myth" that Avery's work on
the "transforming principle" was not widely appreciated by scientists when it first appeared in the mid-1940s. In
this letter, Avery asked Himes how Avery was perceived at Columbia in 1944-45.
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1972-09-14 (September 14, 1972)
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Letter from Marion Himes to Joshua Lederberg (September 21, 1972)
I was looking over some very old notes in connection with the history of genetic recombination in bacteria; and I was reminded
that you had introduced me to Woodger and axiomatic thinking in biology. That path has still to be cultivated in a useful
way; but there are still relics of that way of thinking in some of my current work, which conceivably might still interest
If you have any further thoughts or recollections about the perception of Avery at Columbia in 1944-5, I would be most interested
to have them for an expansion of the letter to Nature.
Dear Dave - Perkins
Can you recall anything of how "Avery" was communicated to the zoology Dept. in 1943-45?