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Cambridge 38, Massachusetts

June 6,1950

Mr. T. O. Thackrey
The Daily Compass
164 Duane Street
New York 13, New York

Dear Ted:

To my letter of March 8 you replied on April 10. I should have written you again on May 12, but I was then at our western observing stations.

I wonder if there is much point in writing further about Dr. V. and his remarkably successful writings. Certainly you and he and his publishers should be quite satisfied with his leadership of the best sellers for week after week, and I ought to be satisfied in that I have not yet met an astronomer, or in fact a scientist or scholar of any sort, who takes “Worlds in Collision” seriously. Some referred to the clever promotion; some referred to the rather charming literary style; and some, while fully exonerating Dr. V. (who should do as he pleases in this free country), are unrestrained in their condemnation of the once reputable publisher. This point is made in many of the reviews.

In the annual address to an important scientific foundation, a distinguished American physiologist on Saturday bemoaned the rather bleak future, and obvious decadence of our time. We have failed completely in our scientific teaching, he stated, or the “Worlds in Collision” atrocity would not have caught on the way it has. It seemed to him that Dr. V. and Senator [Joseph] McCarthy are symbols of something dire and distressful. But I do not worry about it. Time has curative properties.

One thing did worry me a bit in your letter—your intimation that in some way I was carrying on a crusade against Dr. V. Of all the astronomers from whom I have heard comment, I am the mildest and most forgiving. You suggest directly that I am back of various hypothetical crusades, and that my letters to the Macmillan Company were scorchers. How you misjudge me! I enclose copies of the letters, also a copy of the letter from the President of the Macmillan Company, IN rereading, it seems to me that I am sad, but not savage.

Sincerely yours,


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