New Exhibit: A Natural Bestseller

CSHL Archives is proud to announce a new exhibit entitled "A Natural Bestseller: The Double Helix" which documents the publication of Dr. Watson's famous memoir using material that has been digitized as part of the "Modern Genetics and its Foundations" project. The book was controversial when it was released--many praised its unprecedented insight to the personal lives of scientists, while others dismissed it as simply "gossip".

Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, the two other co-recipients of the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA, were both strongly opposed to its release and their threat of legal action led to Watson's American publisher (Harvard University Press) to decided against publishing the book. The exhibit includes a scathing letter from Crick to Watson (6 pages in length) with a laundry list of complaints regarding the manuscript. Crick concludes his letter by noting, "My objection, in short, is to the widespread dissemination of a book which grossly invades my privacy, and I have yet to hear an argument which adequately excuses such a violation of friendship." The letter clearly illustrates why The Double Helix was known as "That Controversial Book". You can view the exhibit online at http://library.cshl.edu/naturalbestseller/ or in person at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library.