Danish physicist (1885–1962) who was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics for his theory of atomic structure. TLS, one onionskin page, 8.5 x 11, January 30, 1961. Letter to Basil O’Connor in New York. In full: “It was a very great pleasure for my wife and me to receive the excellent photographs which Mrs. O’Connor took the day you visited us together with Mr. Salk in Tisvilde. The pictures will always be a most vivid remembrance of that pleasant day when we talked about the world situation and Dr. Salk’s great plans for the promotion of fundamental biological research. At the moment we have all got new hopes for the future after President Kennedy’s inspired talk and choice of his collaborators and advisers. In the hope that we shall all meet again before too long my wife and I send you and Mrs. O’Connor our heartiest greetings and warm wishes.” In fine condition, with two punch holes to top edge, small pencil notation to left, a few edge dings, and show-through from an office stamp on reverse.
Neils Bohr, presiding over the Second International Poliomyelitis Conference in Copenhagen in 1950, was exceedingly impressed by the work of Jonas Salk. It was there that he met both Salk and Basil O’Connor, close associate to FDR and president of March of Dimes for over three decades, who funded Salk’s efforts in developing the polio vaccine. The three intellectual giants shared a mutual respect for one another’s work and remained in touch well beyond the years of Salk’s initial achievement. A decade later, while Bohr lived out his final years in Copenhagen, the two men visited and shared the news of Salk’s “great plans for the promotion of fundamental biological research”—the founding of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, with construction set to begin the following year. Bohr writes with fondness of this and of the newly elected American president, sworn in just nine days prior: “At the moment we have all got new hopes for the future after President Kennedy’s inspired talk and choice of his collaborators and advisers.” Written during a remarkably bright time in American history, this is a charmingly optimistic letter, filled with hope for the future of both science and politics. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.