August 10, 1936
The Executive Council of the California Institute of Technology,
I have decided not to accept the Chairmanship of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical
Engineering, for the following reasons.
All authority within the Division has been vested in the Division Council. As Chairman
I would have the responsibility for supervising and developing the Division, but not
the authority which should accompany this responsibility, and which does accompany
it in most universities, in which authority within a department is divided between
the department as a whole and its chairman.
The anomalous nature of the position would be further accentuated by the omission
of the title of Director of the Laboratories.
The salary of §7500 is not, in my opinion, appropriate to the position. It represents
essentially no increase in salary, as would be expected in view of the increased duties
and responsibility. For some years after 1930, before the temporary salary cuts became
effective, my salary was $7000 plus an annual allowance of $500 for traveling expenses
(this being in effect an addition to my salary, as was emphasized by professor Noyes).
Moreover, during the last eight years I have received from other universities six
payments ranging from $600 to £2000, as a result of the action of the Institute in
granting me leaves of absence of one month and three months, respectively, in alternate
years; my increased duties as Chairman of the Division might close this source of
income to me to some extent.
Before I could assume responsibility for the Division it would be necessary that I
be given complete information regarding the budget of the Division and that a definite
understanding be reached regarding the support of the Division in the future. Those
questions need not now be discussed, however, since for the reasons stated above the
offer of the Executive Council is not acceptable to me.
Dear Mr. Barrott: Would you please communicate the enclosed letter to the Executive
Council of the Institute?