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The Francis Crick Papers

Title:
Letter from Francis Crick to Thomas J. Wilson, Harvard University Press pdf (204,163 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Francis Crick to Thomas J. Wilson, Harvard University Press
Description:
Harvard University Press was the chosen publisher of Watson's account of the discovery of the double helix. In his letter to the publisher's executive director, Crick raised the possibility of suing Watson for libel if publication proceeded.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (204,163 Bytes)
Date:
1966-10-21 (October 21, 1966)
Creator:
Crick, Francis
Recipient:
Wilson, Thomas J.
Harvard University Press
Source:
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
URL: http://archives.wellcome.ac.uk/Exit
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Rights:
Reproduced with permission of the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine.
URL: http://library.wellcome.ac.uk/Exit
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Subject:
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
DNA
Ethics, Professional
Exhibit Category:
The Discovery of the Double Helix, 1951-1953
Box Number: 75
Folder Number: PP/CRI/I/3/8/4
Unique Identifier:
SCBBLH
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Language:
English
Format:
application/pdf
image/tif
Physical Condition:
Good
Series: Publication
SubSeries: Other Publications
SubSubSeries: Watson, The Double Helix
Folder: [Correspondence Concerning Publication]
Transcript:
21st October 1966.
Dear Mr. Wilson,
I don't think you quite understand the position. Of course Wilkins and I may have to sue Watson for libel, but apart from that a moral issue is involved. When a piece of work is published in collaboration it is considered very bad form for one author to reveal in public how the work was divided. Naturally if all the authors consent to this it is quite acceptable. In this case, however, both Wilkins and I object to Watson's account for reasons which any scholar will understand. In the circumstances if Watson insists on publishing his book against our wishes the scientific community will look upon it as an act of bad manners and bad faith, to say the least.
Of course that is up to him. However what is regretable is that the Harvard University Press should be a party to it. The purely literary value of this work is in fact rather low. A number of people who have read it consider it to be poorly written and in bad taste. It will be bought mainly because of the tittle-tattle and the scandal. I can foresee that your book-list will become known as "True Confessions". Is this what you want?
Yours sincerely,
F.H.C. Crick
Copy to Prof. E. Mayr.
Metadata Last Modified Date:
2009-06-15
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