Letter from Barbara McClintock to Charles R. Burnham
A response to Burnham in which McClintock clarified language used in a previous letter, indicated that she might see him at
an upcoming meeting in Philadelphia, and lamented the difficulty of balancing her duties.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (113,181 Bytes)
1940-10-09 (October 9, 1940)
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):
Breakage-Fusion-Bridge: The University of Missouri, 1936-1941
Letter from Barbara McClintock to Charles R. Burnham (September 16, 1940)
Box Number: 3
Folder Number: 5
October 9, 1940.
I was pleased to get your letter but hope that I did not give you the impression that I wanted to take any of the material
back. I have done considerable work on those that I sent you and should send you the data right away. I shall try to organize
it within the next few days for you. Bently Glass did not return it until sometime last spring and then I got into such a
rush I did not even answer the questions he had brought up. I have had a lot to do and haven't turned my attentions to
it. Just now I am finishing up a paper on broken chromosomes and then the ring chromosome material - changed rings and characters
- comes next to be written up. It hasn't left me much time along with 7 graduate students to watch for cytological training,
problems, etc. I haven't given too much thought to what should be done with the data I have already accumulated. Possibly
it would be best to send it along to you and let you decided what has been done. We might write up some of it now as a joint
paper -"now" being sometime this school year! I feel under quite a load now. If I take a section of it, it will
not be along the lines you will be working on - that is, the part to be given to a graduate student. It will be on chromosome
breakage following crossing-over, but the translocation material would be used as the material.
About Philadelphia. I have not made definite plans but will probably wind up there anyway. I don't relish going, somehow,
but it will probably be the best thing to do. We can talk then about steps to be taken. About writing a book. The one Marcus
and I started never got beyond three chapters. We both then got swamped with other work and now it just sits in incompletion.
I doubt if I could take on doing another one as long as I am here or unless I quit working on corn plants for a while. I
shall think it over. It might be wise to quit the work for something else. It could be done then but I doubt if it could
otherwise. I suppose that you are in somewhat of the same boat, too - with teaching, research and graduate students. I don't
see how people can do all three well enough and also try to keep up with the literature. Burkholder used to do it but he
did nothing else and worked morning, noon and night on it. He wanted to do all that but most people do not.
I did not understand your remark about your job not being secure. What is the situation there? Did you think when you took
it that there would be an impermanent tenure? Let me know what it is like. If there is any chance that you will not stay,
I should like to know in case I hear of anything. With so much moving about in genetics, something should open up. Also,
the war possibilities may make lots of difference in what does happen to us. I am not going to think too far ahead.