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Letter from Ava Helen Pauling to Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin. September 23, 1960.
Ava Helen writes to update Hodgkin on personal matters, including the effects upon herself and Linus of the ongoing Senate Internal Security Subcommittee hearings in Washington, D.C.


23 September 1960

Dear Dorothy,

It gave me great happiness to write on this envelope this lovely address. I have regretted that I did not have time to congratulate you properly in London. We are always so filled with joy at seeing you and Thomas that we forget to say all of these proper and expected things. You must know, though, how much pleasure it gave us to know that you were one of the two Wolfson Professors. It is, of course, a position which you well deserve and we can think of no one who could fill it more admirably. Nevertheless, it gives us a great personal pleasure to know that you were selected to receive it.

How are you and Thomas? Has he returned from Africa? We think of both of you often and I had hoped to be able to invite Thomas to give our Bill of Rights Day address, but the A.C.L.U. has decided this year not to have a dinner meeting, but to have a large meeting in which we will have some sort of entertainment more suitable to the masses. I regret this very much, and if Thomas were to come to UCLA anyway, then the A.C.L.U. would arrange a somewhat smaller gathering with a dinner at which he would talk to us about Africa. However, if he does not do it this year, then we can arrange for next year. Africa is such an important subject now that I think we should make arrangements for a large gathering this year, but I am not in charge of that department.

Last Sunday there was a large party in our honor given by A.C.L.U., nearly 1500 people and they made a good bit of money. We were glad that it was successful. I shall send you a book about it so that you can see the sort of gathering that it was. I had wanted to give Elizabeth a gift and want her to have a cardigan. I have decided, however, that I do not know enough about her size to buy it here, so I am sending you the money and I hope you will forgive my doing it this way, but will see to it that she gets exactly what she wants. I was touched by her willingness to do my laundry for me when we were with you last summer and I would like just through affection, too, to send her a little present, I hope you will agree to this.

Our affairs are not yet in order, but they should be finished very soon. We hear rumors that the Subcommittee means to vacate the order to Linus, but nothing official has been sent out yet. The Supreme Court makes its decisions on the 10th of October, so that we shall not have to wait much longer in any event. Of course, if the Supreme Court decides against us, and the Subcommittee orders us to produce the signatures, Linus will refuse and the contempt of the Senate citation will follow, although there is a chance that the Senate would vote not to cite him for contempt. But, if he is cited, then, of course, we would have the long court battle. Most people feel that this is not what is going to happen. And for Linus’s scientific work, I hope very much that it doesn't happen. We should be very happy, however, if we could remove this dreadful committee from the American scene. For far too long it has ruined the lives and careers of far too many people. It is time it is brought to an end.

When are you coming to the United States? Are you coming to Canada with Thomas? We were very sorry to give up the Cambridge meeting and I tried to persuade Linus too, but I think we were too distressed to really be of much use anywhere, I do believe, though, that the people in England did not realize the seriousness of this situation. It is no light matter to be cited for contempt by the Senate and many lives have been ruined in just this way. You must know, too, that there are a good number of people in prison right now in the United States for the exact reason that they were citing Linus, namely, the refusal to produce names. The First Amendment protects people in this regard and it is absolutely against our Constitution to ask for these names and to put people in prison when they refuse to divulge them. But, nevertheless, this goes on all of the time. This is really an attack against the peace movement in the United States and we recognized it as such in the beginning.

We are well and happy and this doesn't worry us too much. I only regret the time taken from Linus's scientific work. I, too, have been unable to do a number of the things which I would like to be doing if we could really know just when we shall have to go to Washington. It was a joy to see you and you looked absolutely beautiful in the lovely frock which Thomas was so proud to have purchased for you. It is a joy to see people who love each other and who are happy to be one with the other. Give my love to Thomas and to Luke and Anna and little Dominick who must be running about now in a lovely way.

With love to you,

Ava Helen Pauling

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