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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Gabriele Ehrlich pdf (71,641 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Gabriele Ehrlich
This letter to Ehrlich was part of Lederberg's efforts in the early 1970s to better determine the initial reactions of molecular biologists to Avery's "transforming principle" in the 1940s.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (71,641 Bytes)
1972-10-13 (October 13, 1972)
Lederberg, Joshua
Ehrlich, Gabriele
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
Recombination, Genetic
Exhibit Category:
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Metadata Record Letter from W. Manski to Joshua Lederberg (November 22, 1972) pdf (38,813 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 5
Folder Number: 2
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Commentary on Avery and His Work, 1944-2005
SubSeries: Inquiries on Avery
Folder: Lederberg Inquiries, 1962, 1972-1978
Oct. 13 '72
Dear Dr. Ehrlich:
This letter concerns Harriett Taylor (Ephrussi); and you need not take any further time about it if you do not recall her well. I am trying to locate her associates, in the period 1943-1945, in whom she might have confided about her intellectual interests in contemporary work on DNA, which eventuated in her working with Avery. Of course now she, Avery, Francis Ryan, Heinrich Waelsch and many others who could have filled in this picture, are gone. I do not recall whether I may have met you at some time past. I am taking some presumptuous initiative in writing you on the strength of your co-authorship of a paper on plasmal assay (JBC 173:547 1948), which is a hint, though scarcely proof, that you may have talked to her about her wider interests. I am not even sure I can recall exactly just when she was working at P&S; I suspect it was in the fall of 1944 -- or was it a year later?
The instance for this inquiry is a memoir I am writing about the intellectual climate at Columbia, 1944-45 that led to the discovery of genetic recombination in bacteria in 1946. It was Harriett who pointed out Avery's paper to me, in January 1945, and I am trying now to trace something of how and when she had learned of this work, what she made of it, and the steps she took to prepare herself to work with Avery and to join his lab. So anything you might recall about the nature and development of her own interest in this would be useful, and I would very much appreciate your sending me a note on it.
Yours sincerely,
Joshua Lederberg
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