Original Repository: Stanford University Libraries. Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Arthur Kornberg Papers
Reproduced with permission of Arthur Kornberg.
The Synthesis of DNA, 1953-1959
Letter from Arthur Kornberg to the editors of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (December 11, 1957)
Letter from John T. Edsall to Arthur Kornberg (December 27, 1957)
December 11, 1957.
I just returned from a long trip abroad and found your letter of November 27 waiting for me. I don't know whether you
appreciate fully how grateful some of us are to you for undertaking the leadership of the Journal. We were bold enough to
demand a change and your willingness to serve has now made this initiative wise and courageous.
I am honored by your invitation to contribute to a festival issue to honor Dr. Anderson, but for reasons which I will indicate
I cannot accept at this time. Yesterday I received a letter from the Editors of the Journal which is unique in my experience.
It is derogatory and insulting; in places it may even be malicious. Under these circumstances I think you will understand
my decision not to join the present Editors in this gesture.
My first impulse on receiving this letter yesterday was to withdraw the manuscripts from consideration by the Journal and
to resign from the Editorial Committee. On more sober reflection, I find that I am just as devoted to the Journal itself as
ever, and I feel an even greater obligation to serve in any capacity that I can to improve its quality and administration.
For any interest it may have to you, I am enclosing a copy of the letter I received, my response to it, and copies of the
manuscripts involved. I would appreciate it very much if you would be good enough to return the manuscripts at your earliest
convenience since these are my only personal copies.
I think I should mention that until a year ago I never had any difficulty with editorial acceptance of papers submitted to
the Journal, except for extremely minor revisions. About a year ago I had an exchange of correspondence regarding a manuscript
(Polynucleotide Phophorylase in E. coli) which involved a degree of incompetence and concentration on picayune detail on the
part of my correspondent that was annoying and obstructive, And now this!