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The Francis Crick Papers

Letter from James D. Watson to Francis and Odile Crick pdf (547,842 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from James D. Watson to Francis and Odile Crick
Item is handwritten. Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
5 (547,842 Bytes)
Date Supplied:
11 August 1952
Watson, James D.
Crick, Francis
Crick, Odile
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
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Reproduced with permission of James D. Watson.
Exhibit Category:
The Discovery of the Double Helix, 1951-1953
Box Number: 72
Folder Number: PP/CRI/H/1/42/3
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Notes and Drafts
SubSeries: Notes and Drafts 1950-1955
SubSubSeries: [Miscellaneous Papers Photocopied by Aaron Klug]
Folder: [Letters to Crick from James Watson]
Monday Aug 11
Dear Francis and Odile
I am now in the Italian Alps in a small village named Carregio which is located above Sondrio [?] at an elevation of 1600 meters. I am staying in a small hotel with a friend of mine from Milano who is temporarily visiting his parents who are also staying here. I find the mountains very relaxing after my sightseeing and the Biochemical and Phage meetings. The food is good and somewhat plentiful considering that room and board amounts to only 16.00 pounds per day. There are two other small hotels in the village largely filled with Milanese as a whole they are rather decorative, in fact several are very decorative and at intervals I regret that I learned so little Italian during my stay in Napoli. I am thus spending most of my time when not climbing in a intensive study of Hugo's Italian made easy in 3 monthes [sic]. Since I have only a month left in Italy, I must work very hard
Fortunately everyone is very helpful, and I am beginning to understand a few phrases in addition to Quarto Costa.
The mountains themselves are quite magnificent and said to be among the most difficult to climb. So far I have largely taken very short climbs but I hope to be on some glaciers in several days. Considering my degenerate condition in Cambridge, I feel very healthy and do not find a climb of 1000 meters at all strenous [sic]. I tho' believe that I should be in good shape to survive another Cambridge year of ingrown gossip
My visit to Austria was quite pleasant as Salzburg is very lovely. Paris I found less enchanting possibly because I was doing rapid alterations between my mother and some biochemical friends from the states. As a wide [?] I avoided the biochemists very well since I managed not to meet any in addition to some personal friends from the states.
The phage meeting at Rogenset [?] was good but crowded. Considering my absence from the work, I would have enjoyed a two week meeting. Very interesting results but no great
discoveries beyond those learned at Paris in April. The Abbey itself is very lovely, very much like a Cambridge college and thus quite a proper atmosphere for serious talk unlike Paris with its numerous distractions. Lwoff managed to keep the meeting on a very cultured level by supplying us with organ, violin, and piano recitals in the evenings. The [sic] was also a garden party at the Baron de Rothchild's [?] house which allowed us to appreciate Rubens while eating smoked salmon and drinking Champane [sic] As a whole I'm afraid I created the only non serious note by wearing shorts and my shirt outside on all occasions. Despite my recent haircut most of my friends thought my hair very long and as a practical joke succeeded in putting a large amount of Viscount's perfumed (highly!) brilliantine in my hair and thus as a Latin, I went to the garden party.
Linus Pauling and his wife visited the Abbey one afternoon and for a short while I talked with them. From Mrs Paulings "small talk" I gather that Peter has not yet calmed down and so we shall not have another quiet youth like green
in our midsts [sic]. I reccomended [sic] to his mother a very small sum of money for him to live on and in this way may cause a tendency for the puritanical life which I am now escaping from.
I have heard a little of Freddies Caltech visit. Apparently he spent much of his time libelling [sic] me by saying that I have no respect for authority and the wisdom of experience -- in fact no respect for Freddies higher qualities However fortunately no one ever takes Freddie seriously.
I will stay here till around the 21st when I will make a short trip to Very [?] to see the Delbrucks before they return to the states. I will then probably return to the Mountains near Locarno to stay with the Ephrussi (a French geneticist and his American wife) until it is time to go to Palanga. Since I will pass through Sion I could look Pepi up but since I know neither her 1st or last name I will have difficulty. If you know her address could you write me c/o Bentain
Via Broggi 23 Milano (until Aug 20th) and until August 26 in care of J.J. Weigle Dept of Physics genova (the University of)
I plan to return to Cambridge between the 10th and 15th of Sept. I will live in Clave in the Memorial Court which is very easy to height-climb I hope I can survive the food, if not I shall have take advantage of my returned income to occassionally [sic] have scientific talks at the Pasteur with Lwoff
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