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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Torbjorn Caspersson pdf (50,166 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Torbjorn Caspersson
Lederberg wrote this memo to Caspersson requesting information on the Nobel Foundation's consideration of Avery in the 1940s and 1950s, largely in reaction to Vivian Wyatt's 1972 article in "Nature."
Number of Image Pages:
1 (50,166 Bytes)
1972-10-03 (October 3, 1972)
Lederberg, Joshua
Caspersson, Torbjorn
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
Nobel Prize
Exhibit Category:
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
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
Memo from Joshua Lederberg
To: T. Caspersson
I hope (and am sure) you did have a successful meeting.
May I ask your help on a historical matter? Wyatt raised a silly question (see encl.) as well as made some confusing misinterpretations, which I intend to answer more fully in due course. The question was, why did not Avery receive a Nobel Prize? (It is not so unreasonable in relation to his earlier work on polysaccharide immunochemistry; I must surmise that the 1930 prize to Landsteiner was viewed as an appropriate level of emphasis on that field.)
Without pressing such a question, I could still think that the Nobel Foundation may have some documents that would be quite illuminating with respect to that history; and I wonder if there is any possibility of extracting any commentary that could further illustrate the visibility that Avery had in the eyes of biologists between 1944 and his death in 1955. Is it possible to ascertain whether he was even formally nominated?
I would also be most interested in the route of your own early discovery of Avery's work, and your impressions of it. Were you in communication with him prior to 1944?
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