Letter from Francis Crick to Nathan M. Pusey, Harvard University
Crick protested against the proposed publication of Watson's account of their collaboration to the president of Harvard
University, Watson's home institution and the intended publisher of his book. Crick criticized Watson's account as
unscholarly, "a gross and unnecessary invasion of my privacy and in poor taste."
Number of Image Pages:
1 (101,022 Bytes)
1966-12-01 (December 1, 1966)
Pusey, Nathan M.
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
I am writing to you on a matter which is causing some concern to us here. Professor J.D. Watson, with whom I collaborated
in 1953 in the discovery of the structure of DNA, has written a book about the history of the discovery. Unfortunately this
is not the scholarly, well documented work which is needed. Indeed it could fairly be described as Gossip pretending to be
History. The general tone can be judged from the title ("Honest Jim") and the opening sentence "I have never
seen Francis in a modest mood".
I have asked Watson not to publish his book as I regard it as a gross and unnecessary invasion of my privacy and in poor taste.
Nevertheless he tells me that he intends to publish this account of our collaboration together in spite of my objections.
Naturally I regard this as a breach of good faith on his part.
The reason of my writing to you is that it is the Harvard University Press which plans to publish it. I have corresponded
with Mr. Thomas J. Wilson of the Press, but can make no impression on him. He says that he does not think it his business
to consider what is bad form among scientists, and that he intends to publish whether I like it or not.
Such an action can only result in public criticism of the Press from the scientific community. May I ask you to look into
this matter before it is too late?