July 11, 1955
Dear Professor Pfeiffer:
You were kind to mail me a carbon copy of your reply to Dr. Hayes of the Metropolitan Museum. I believe that there is a little misunderstanding, for which I am prepared to take the blame, since I have, apparently, not explained the situation in a proper way.
For a long time I have made efforts to have a radiocarbon test of some relics of the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of Egypt as to their antiquity. Once I have written to you, too; at that time you have informed me that your Museum has no organic material from Egypt. Continuing my efforts, I met Dr. Hayes at the Metropolitan Museum, and as I have written to you after that meeting, he agreed to supply a few objects for the analysis. But he made a condition: the request should not come from me, a private person, but from an official institution, like a museum; we agreed that I will supply him with a request from you.
Your kind letter to Dr. Hayes of April I gave him only much later; one of the reasons was my desire that he should do what he intended in a belief that it is worthwhile, and therefore I have mailed him a copy of my Ages that he should read it before he sees your letter. When finally I have mailed him your letter with an expose [a statement] of what I expect from the analyses, he answered you that he is prepared to search for the required material after the vacation and then to place it to your disposal.
Neither you nor he is a physicist; the analyses should be made in, most probably, the Univ. of Chicago laboratory, where Dr. W. F. Libby developed the radiocarbon test. I do not think that Hayes had in mind that you would do the analysis. He apparently preferred that the request for the test should come from you, and that he would only supply the material.
In your answer to Hayes, you have written that he does not need to send the material to you and that you can obtain such objects from Dows Dunham at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, If this is so then the matter is simplified. Do they have in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts suitable objects of their own digging, where no doubt of the origin of the objects exists? Hayes stressed in his letter to you this point.
I would be very much obliged to you if you could arrange that the Boston Museum sacrifices a few objects of the mentioned dynasties together with some objects of the Ethiopian and 30th Dynasties—for a comparison test. As the things now stand I cannot expect that Dr. Hayes would go on with his promise conditioned on your request.
The laboratory of the University of Chicago performs the tests on objects submitted by scholars in different fields and then publishes, once or twice a year, the results of all tests made. They have a committee for selection of tests from those submitted, and at the head of the Committee on Carbon 14 associated with Libbys laboratory stands Professor Frederick Johnson, of one of the scientific institutions in Massachusetts.
I believe, I made now the issue clear. There is such a simple method to disprove Velikovsky, who has a large following. So why not to make the test? From your letter to Hayes, I see that you are able to obtain necessary objects in Boston. Therefore, I feel assured that the tests will be made. As I have written, I believe, the radiocarbon analysis has only a relative value—its absolute dating may be mistaken, but its relative dating must be a good criterion. Here is a case where an honest science must put its chronology, and mine, on the scales. With all good wishes, also for Mrs. Pfeiffer,