Skip to main contentU.S. National Library of MedicineU.S. National Library of Medicine

Profiles in Science
Pinterest badge Follow Profiles in Science on Pinterest!

The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Mary Washington Frazer, Tennessee State Library and Archives pdf (75,828 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Mary Washington Frazer, Tennessee State Library and Archives
In this letter to Frazer, Lederberg not only inquired as to the extent of Avery's collection at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, but if it included any correspondence from Harriett Ephrussi-Taylor or Fred Griffith.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (75,828 Bytes)
1972-10-13 (October 13, 1972)
[Lederberg, Joshua]
[Frazer, Mary Washington]
Tennessee State Library and Archives
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Transformation, Genetic
Exhibit Category:
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Metadata Record Letter from Mary Washington Frazer, Tennessee State Library and Archives to Joshua Lederberg (October 18, 1972) pdf (75,747 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Mary Washington Frazer, Tennessee State Library and Archives (November 7, 1972) pdf (46,322 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 1972
Dear Sir:
I have an informative communication from Dr. Al Coburn in connection with the enclosed historical note, upon which I plan to enlarge. It includes a note from Mrs. Roy C. Avery stating that her late husband's papers, and "all of Fess's papers " have been deposited with you "In this way they will be kept safely and can be referred to by any interested parties".
I was most pleased to hear this, as I have been having a rather frustrating time recreating a historical record for an important turning point in biology, 1943-1946, in which "Fess" (Professor O.T. Avery) was a central figure. This correspondence may be particularly important, because of Avery's renowned reticence about publishing anything more than the bare bones data of his experiments in print.
May I ask you for information about the character of the collection of O.T. Avery's papers to which Mrs. Roy Avery has referred? Might I then reasonably respond with a request to have some portion of it microfilmed (at my expense) for more careful perusal? His letters may contain many interesting details for the evolution of modern biology that would be unrevealing except to a specialist in the field.
The period 1943-1946 would be of the most central concern, and within that time any correspondence he may have had with the late Harriett Taylor (later Ephrussi) who was one of the first younger biologists to recognize the significance of his work. During an earlier period, back to 1928 or shortly before, any communications with Fred Griffith of London (who died in the blitz in 1944) would also be most revealing.
I doubt that there can be any material here that would be embarrassing to any living persons, and much that may be of vital historical interest; but I would be glad to see it under any cautions concerning publication that you, as custodians, may feel to be appropriate.
Yours sincerely,
Metadata Last Modified Date:
Linked Data:
RDF/XML     JSON     JSON-LD     N3/Turtle     N-Triples