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The Michael Heidelberger Papers

Letter from Michael Heidelberger to Linus Pauling pdf (83,908 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Michael Heidelberger to Linus Pauling
In this letter Heidelberger commented on a hypothesis regarding the chemical structure of antibodies and the location of the sites at which they bind to antigens developed by Linus Pauling, the world's preeminent physical chemist at the time. Pauling's article was published as "A Theory of the Structure and Process of Formation of Antibodies" in the Journal of the American Chemical Society 62 (1940), pp. 2643-2657.
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2 (83,908 Bytes)
1940-07-01 (July 1, 1940)
Heidelberger, Michael
Pauling, Linus
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Exhibit Category:
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954
Metadata Record Letter from Linus Pauling to Michael Heidelberger (April 3, 1940) pdf (53,652 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Linus Pauling to Michael Heidelberger (June 21, 1940) pdf (34,277 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record A Theory of the Structure and Process of Formation of Antibodies (July 27, 1940) (in The Linus Pauling Papers) pdf (2,997,683 Bytes) ocr (42,309 Bytes) Document Segments
Box Number: 5
Folder Number: 9
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Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Folder: MS C 245 (first finding aid)
July 1, 1940
Dear Pauling:
I have read your finely considered treatise with the greatest interest and enjoyment. As I told you, I feel that it marks a real step forward in formulating on a chemical basis that exceedingly complicated, but essentially chemical processes of immunity. I like everything about your end-chain picture except the name "claspers" -- on account of its connotations I'm "bearish" on that. Wouldn't it do to call them "combining groups", or "immunologically reactive groupings", or even "haptens"? I think Ehrlich called the "haptophores", but I don't care much for that either.
I've scrawled some minor comments on the manuscript as I went along, and a few longer ones on the accompanying sheet. One of the fine things about Marrack's book is that he lets himself go and speculates a bit on the basis of sound knowledge and careful reasoning. I like this same quality about your article -- if one looks only backward and not forward, one may explain much, but it will be stodgy and unstimulating.
I'm writing to this effect, to Lamb, and hope the J. Am. Chem. Soc. Will take the paper, but I am wondering whether you might not rather have it in Chem. Reviews, where it might come somewhat more readily to the attention of biologists and immunologists? However, I'm leaving this to you and not mentioning it to Lamb.
In a few days we plan to leave on our projected trip West, and I hope, by the first of August, to have the pleasure of discussing these matters with you, seeing your laboratories, and renewing our acquaintance, so pleasantly begun.
With kindest regards to you and Mrs. Pauling, in which my wife joins,
Michael Heidelberger
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