Letter from Barbara McClintock to Charles R. Burnham
McClintock told Burnham of an accident that killed many of her plants and included some of her latest findings. She also expressed
some uncertainty regarding her employment and continued personal differences with Lowell "Fitz" Randolph, her original
adviser at Cornell.
Item is handwritten. Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (205,724 Bytes)
1930-01-23 (January 23, 1930)
Burnham, Charles R.
Original Repository: University of Minnesota, University Archives. Charles Burnham Papers
Reproduced with permission of the University of Minnesota, University Archives. Charles Burnham Papers
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Crossing Over, Genetic
Education and Research at Cornell, 1925-1931
Letter from Barbara McClintock to Charles R. Burnham (February 20, 1930)
Box Number: 3
Folder Number: 3
Jan. 23, 1930
Dear Charlie --
I wrote you a 4 page letter and then tore it up as I was disgusted with life as it was but have turned over a new day and
The paper arrived. Dr. Sharp has looked it over and turned it over to me. I have'nt [sic] gotten at it yet but will do
so as soon as I can.
I had a calamity with my plants. I asked Carl Pratt to spray them for red spiders. The next morning nearly all of them were
dead -- he used too strong a solution. It is a bad loss as it means I have no spring crop and besides 2 extra chr. types of
the right type of cross are lost -- I have no more seeds of either trisome. It is a long story and I feel a bit sad over the
loss, naturally. It was so avoidable, as so many of those accidents are.
So much for the calamity. The slides and filter arrived ok. Only 1 slide broke -- the one of my ring, not, however, in the
sporocyte area. I don't care about it anyway.
Yesterday I looked at that note in Nature of October. The drawings are poor but the ideas are o.k. altho a bit weak.
I got a bit of a spurt as the result of the meetings but it has all gone now. I counted b-lg plus 1 ears and got as follows
-- 122 (2n): 66 (2n plus 1): 1 haploid.
[END PAGE ONE]
[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
If the 35 percent rep. the amount remaining often 30 percent of gametes produced by lagging there: Assume bi plus uni equals
no chiasma of uni with bi. Then bi has some relation as to crossover as in normal 2n plant --
Since upper two only ones that function thru pollen then 1/2 gametes as result of lagging and 1/2 as result of random distribution.
The 1/2 from lagging should give normal cross over types or approx 50 percent. The other 1/2 should show 1/3rd off. Total
am't of crossing-over should be 1/16th-less.
About jobs -- I have heard nothing as yet. What I do all depends on what Randolph does. If he goes I feel sure I will be advanced
and get an assistant. If he stays I shall be as I am now. I have'nt [sic] heard anything from Brink. Emerson and Stadler
have corresponded as to the situation. I think Stadler feels it is either me or Randolph for the Missouri job. Emerson seems
not to care whether I go or whether Randolph goes. I rather think he thinks one of us should go. He told me that if Randolph
should decide to stay he would have to change his ways and Emerson feels confident he will especially if I go.
[END PAGE TWO]
[BEGIN PAGE THREE]
It is an uncertain situation which I don't particularly enjoy. I wish I knew how Randolph was going to act. He is trying
hard to make up with everyone. About the Missouri job for me -- Emerson feels that Richey -- Randolph's boss, -- might
make it hot for me for he is under the impression that I stole Randolph's chromosome morphology data and published it
as my own. Richey could'nt [sic] have gotten that impression except from Randolph -- Well, anyway, everything isnt [sic]
too rosey [sic] but here's hoping.
I have the r-g paper about all written. Am so low in the necessary vitality and push that I can't seem to muster up enough
energy to push it over the top. Henry is coming right along with the counts. He did 70 (seventy) in one day -- quite a record.
So far there is only 1 sure 2n plus 1 thru the pollen. He has made over several hundred counts. Also -- Henry asks me to ask
you if you a Mr. Haig (first name), Turkish boy. Also look up Clarence Kobuski there at Bussey. We were in college together.
He is a lot of fun.
So much for this blue letter. I'll make the next one more cheerful -- I hope --