Letter from Rosalind Franklin to John Desmond Bernal
In this letter to Bernal, Franklin protested the low level of the salary approved for her by the Agricultural Research Council,
arguing that it is below the University of London's current pay scale, and below what she would be making in other professional
situations. This was an ongoing source of irritation during the years she was funded by the ARC, and seemed to demonstrate
its members' resistance to taking Franklin's work seriously.
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1 (70,186 Bytes)
1955-07-25 (July 25, 1955)
Bernal, John Desmond
Original Repository: Churchill Archives Centre. The Papers of Rosalind Franklin
Reproduced from the Franklin Collection at the Churchill Archives Centre with the permission of the copyright holder.
The question of adjusting my salary to the new University scales has still not been settled. As it is unpleasant for me to
have to enquire and protest about this at frequent intervals, I should be very grateful if you could get the matter settled
as soon as possible. I am therefore reminding you of the facts.
The salary originally asked for, a year ago, was 1100 pounds p.a. Without explanation, the A.R.C. reduced this to 1080 pounds
p.a. The revision of the University scales would entitle me to an increase of 150 pounds p.a, and the College therefore asked
that my salary be increased to 1250 pounds p.a. This request was refused by the A.R.C., the reason given being my age. My
age is 35, I have been doing full-time research continuously for the past 14 years, and obtained my Ph.D. 10 years ago. I
cannot believe that there is any rule which prevents the A.R.C. from paying a salary greater than 1080 pounds p.a. to a person
of my age and experience. My present salary is less than I should be receiving if teaching or in the Scientific Civil Service,
and is also less than the average received by physicists of my age. In view of the fact that I have no security of employment,
and nevertheless hold a position of considerable responsibility, this seems to me entirely unjust.