Letter from Charles R. Burnham to Barbara McClintock
Burnham indicates that he has read Evelyn Fox Keller's biography of McClintock and that it has caused him to reevaluate
his relationship with McClintock. He briefly discusses his health and his observations of some recent work on maize genetics.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (244,931 Bytes)
1983-06-19 (June 19, 1983)
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):
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 6
Answered July 22, 1983
1539 Branston St.
St. Paul, Minn.
55108 June 19, 1983
This is in response to the very interesting book by Evelyn Fox Keller "A Feeling for the Organic." It is an excellent
presentation of you and your work. It filled in some gaps for me, and has made me think about the many interactions we have
had over the years: at Cornell in 1929 and 1930; then at Cal Tech, at Missouri, back at Cornell, then much later at Cornell
when I gave a talk there, your visit here at Minnesota, at the Illinois Symposium, the Stadler lectures at Mo., and last July
All of them are very warm memories, your interest, support, and (I believe) your belief in me are appreciated. There should
have been a greater response on my part; but, better late than never? I wish we had had more time to talk at Ithaca. It would
be nice to get together for some reminiscing and looking at the future.
Enclosed is a copy of what I wrote for Bill Sheridan's Book on Maize -- my recollections of events at Cornell and the
work on corn and barley. They are as I recall them and the course of events. Some of the more personal aspects were omitted.
[END PAGE ONE]
[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
As for my health: checkups have shown that the hormone (female) has not resulted in the harmful side effects that sometimes
occur (lower hemoglobin); and the prostate cancer has not progressed -- as the Dr. says, it has been checked but not cured.
I do have to walk slowly, but field work, planting, etc. involves enough stopping that there is no problem, other than the
need for frequent rests.
You probably saw the report by Helmy Ghobrial in the Corn News letter. He has treated more F1's, some with 2[scientific
formula], some with a [scientific formula]20. The intention is to examine the plants more closely, from the 5th and 6th leaves
on to maturity, not waiting for the pollen shedding stage. If the entire growing point is changed (since tiller and tassel,
all branches did shed pollen of each), if it is polyploidy, number of stomata per sq. unit, should be changed. Why are there
both n-sized and 2n-sized pollen not only in the plants that shed pollen but also in the progeny from them that are partially
sterile and shedding pollen? When the results on progeny from selfing, and on the test crosses of the fertile plants from
selfing are in; a better understanding of what colchicine treatment does should be forthcoming.
Progress continues on the chestnut work: more pollen from Chinese crossed with American F1 hybrids from Shafer but also from
a first backcross to American chestnut that is flowering at Coan. (Richard Joynes). A review paper of the work, past, present,
and future has been completed. Now the question is where it can be published? A short version[?] may be the answer.
[written in right margin, Results of tests of fertile progeny, F crossed with N: 2 were homo for a [scientific formula]10,
1 was 10II, one was homo. for a [scientific formula]]