Letter from Nathan M. Pusey, Harvard University to Francis Crick
Because of Crick's objections to Watson's book, The Double Helix, as an infringement on privacy and a purported violation
of scientific ethics, the proposed publication of the book by Harvard University Press launched a public controversy involving
the university and its president, Nathan M. Pusey. The Harvard Corporation, the university's ruling body, eventually
overturned the decision of the Board of Syndics, declining publication by Harvard University Press. Watson's book was
published in February 1968 by Athenaeum, a commercial publishing house.
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1 (70,534 Bytes)
1966-12-09 (December 9, 1966)
Pusey, Nathan M.
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
I am sorry to learn that the book by Professor Watson, concerning the discovery of the structure of DNA, which the Harvard
University Press is proposing to publish, is causing you distress. Until receiving your letter I was not aware of the project.
I have discussed the matter with the Director of the Harvard University Press and am persuaded that he is bending every effort
to produce a distinguished book which will be of value in showing how a new scientific idea is born.
Publication of the work has been recommended by our Board of Syndics, a group of responsible members of the Harvard Faculty.
It has, as you know, been substantially revised and rewritten, and the author is currently working to amend the manuscript
even further. Because of the care which Mr. Wilson has exercised and is exercising to insure that the book is of high quality
and that it cannot reasonably be regarded as offensive or hurtful to you or to Professor Watson's other colleagues, and
because of the number of distinguished scientists who have indicated approval of the manuscript and urged its publication,
I do not believe I should intervene at this stage.