Letter from Charles R. Burnham to Barbara McClintock
Burnham wrote this letter to McClintock while he was a post-graduate fellow at Thomas Morgan's Caltech lab. Burnham provided
McClintock with advice on how best to apply for a fellowship at the lab, as Caltech was not coeducational. The letter contains
a brief discussion of Burnham's cytogenetic research and personal life.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
4 (282,102 Bytes)
1931-01-23 (January 23, 1931)
Burnham, Charles R.
Original Repository: American Philosophical Society. Library. Barbara McClintock Papers
Reproduced with permission of the University of Minnesota, University Archives. Charles Burnham Papers.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Fellowships and Scholarships
Education and Research at Cornell, 1925-1931
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 6
Jan. 23, 1931
What in _____ is happening at Cornell -- seems as though I haven't heard for an age.
Things are going along here quite smoothly. Between Beadle, Andy and myself we have the greenhouse crowded to overflowing
with corn -- there also are Sturtevant and Emerson with a lot of Oenotheras and Lammerts with tobacco.
I was surprised the other day to find some of my corn at the sporocyte stage. I have looked at only a few of the new [scientific
symbol] intercrosses thus far. Results on one new one [scientific symbol]6?: [diagram]6 crossed with [mark to note, only one
such plant in each so far] xn1xn2 yields 3 rings of 4 plus 4 pairs. here there is only one chromosome left that is smaller
than satellite. Therefore is number 10 or 7
[scientific symbol]6 crossed with [scientific symbol]3 [mark to note, only one such plant in each so far] yields ring of 6
plus 7 pairs. Therefore the small chromosome of [scientific symbol]3 is also in [scientific symbol]6, probably number 7 (4th
smallest) -- I have a cytological test on this with a trisomic.
Also, the other chromosome cannot be blg or fbr -- must be 2, 3, or 5.
[END PAGE ONE]
[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
Oh yes, in reciprocal translocations in Drosophila, as you may know, they also get non-disjunction as you found for [scientific
symbol]2. Where they are equal, there is as much non-disjunction in one pair as in the other; where they are unequal the amount
increases for the one which received the longer piece. If we could pick up several [scientific symbol]'s between satellite
and the knob chromosome, this might be worked for corn. By the way, have you found whether or not the knob chromosome is cshwx
or will your material be along a little later?
I heard indirectly today that you have applied for a Research Fellowship for out here. Fine! May I make a suggestion or two,
if it will not be butting in. I was talking to Andy about that and the situation here as regards female's. I think it
would be wise for you to write to both Dr. Morgan and Dr. Anderson stating that you are applying for a fellowship and would
like to spend it here at Cal. Tech. if possible. -- or something of that nature. As you probably know, this is supposed to
precede application --
[END PAGE TWO]
[BEGIN PAGE THREE]
That is a minor matter as Andy is up[?] in favor. -- the main thing is that in this case, it would be best that Dr. Morgan
know something about your intentions or desires. Cal. Tech. is not Co-Educational, so that the matter will have to be brought
up before the faculty. I am quite certain that everything will be O.K. -- but the matter has to be settled. What will be your
relation to Cornell if you receive the Fellowship? -- Will you merely be on leave of absence for a year? If that is the case,
I might say that your case would be a lot better. They would know that you had a job waiting for you and the question of placing
would not come up. You might explain the situation to Anderson. I am certain he will do all he can to get you out here. All
this is merely a suggestion as to procedure. I hope you get the fellowship, and that Cal. Tech. will be the lucky one. What
are you planning to work on -- Any of the [scientific symbol]'s are yours for the asking.
How's everything there? Any new or promising grad students?
[END PAGE THREE]
[BEGIN PAGE FOUR]
has Emerson received any? I suppose everyone is settled in the new building, and probably already crowded for space.
I haven't been to much here in the line of entertainment -- an occasional movie and Bridge party. Have been out to the
Mojave desert a couple of times and spent Xmas at Brawley at the south end of the Imperial Valley. I read about the snowstorms
etc. back there -- hard for me to realize it is winter. I don't believe spring fever will bother out here, so many of
the days are fine -- so far -- I may change my tune if a rainy season sets in.
Well, must get this off to catch the air mail. -- give my regards to your cytological sidekick. Is she snowed under with work