Letter from Barbara McClintock to J. R. S. Fincham
McClintock turned down a request to appear at a workshop and briefly explained why she stopped publishing articles that contained
extensive data decades earlier.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (94,447 Bytes)
1973-05-16 (May 16, 1973)
Fincham, J. R. S.
Original Repository: American Philosophical Society. Library. Barbara McClintock Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Barbara McClintock Papers, American Philosophical Society.
The McClintock Renaissance and the Nobel Prize, 1978-1992
Letter from J. R. S. Fincham to Barbara McClintock (July 8, 1973)
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 7
May 16, 1973
Your letter of May 2 inviting me to attend a workshop on "paramutation" this coming September was much appreciated.
I wish that I might attend but already my commitments for the next few months are so many and so demanding that I dare not
add to them.
I am truly sorry not to attend as I recognize the degree to which many aspects of my reports are not comprehended by many
of those working with my materials or with similar or related ones. Much of this is my fault. I stopped publishing detailed
reports long ago when I realized, and acutely, the extent of disinterest and lack of confidence in the conclusions I was drawing
from the studies. With the literature filled to the exhaustion of all of us, I declined it was useless to add weight to the
biologist's wastebasket. Instead, I decided to use the added time to enlarge experiments and thus increase my comprehensions
of the basic phenomena. The time has come, however, when a more detailed exposition could be effective. At least it would
indicate the quantity and range of the studies that have contributed to summary statements appearing my reports. I had hoped
that these summary statements would suffice, at least for a time, but they did not in most instances.
All of the above is not intended as a complaint. Rather, it is to let you know why I stopped publishing detailed accounts
after 1953, and also and particularly because I wish you to know how much I have appreciated you careful considerations and
your thoughtful comprehension of the substance of these summaries. Such comprehension has been rare, indeed. It is understandable,
however, as your capacity to comprehend and to integrate is conspicuously demonstrated in your Antirrhinum studies. They
are sharply focused, clearly executed, and they come right to the point--no fuzziness!
All good luck with the conference and thank you for inviting me.