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Letter from Charles Coryell to Linus Pauling. November 25, 1937.
Coryell writes to discuss oxyhemoglobin research completed at the University of Illinois with which he takes exception. Coryell also mentions a few details concerning his upcoming wedding and housing search, the unfinished status of his paper titled "The Acid Function of the Heme of Hemoglobin and Myoglobin," and a publication by Joseph Shack on base binding in oxyhemoglobin and hemocyanin. Coryell closes by mentioning a pleasant social affair hosting by Ava Helen Pauling and briefly discussing Mellor's on-going structural chemistry work.


IX Thurs. Nov. 25, 1937

Dear Dr. Pauling:

I am enclosing a letter that I received from Barnard, College of Medicine of the Univ. of Ill., as well as a copy of the rather lengthy answer that I wrote today. This guy formulated in '32 some rather screwy structures for oxyhemoglobin and analogs, and in a lengthy paper [edit: "1937"] on the reactions of nitrite with hemoglobin derivatives he proposed a nomenclature for Hb derivatives. He has the hemoferrons for ferroheme and nitrogenous hemochromogens, as well as ferrohemoglobin; the hemoferryls are polar valent compounds of hemoferron and oxygen-containing gases. Ferriheme and ferrihemoglobin are hemo-ferrins; complexes with electronegative ions (Cl-, CN-) comprise hemoferrides.

Tuesday evening I am leaving for Flagstaff. I'll stop the first night about Barstow, and get in the following afternoon. GraceMary is due at 9 A.M. Thursday morning. We will be married the day she arrives. I have taken some tine off for house hunting. In spite of this being the worst time of the year, I feel that I can get something not too far from Tech (ca. 2 mi.) for $25 or less. I wish that my gal were here to go house hunting with me, though.

I do not know whether I have said anything yet or not about the paper I am writing, 'The Acid Function of the Heme of Hemoglobin and Myoglobin.' It contains no work of ours except a treatment of the acid properties of ferriheme. I thought that I should correlate all of the hours of calculations that I have made, and see if you think it is significant enough to publish. I will try to finish it up right away, so that you can read it on the train on the way home. There turns out to be a very interesting contrast between identical hemes on hemoglobin and on myoglobin.

I received a pack of reprints from Redfield recently. There is an interesting one by Joseph Shack on the difference in base binding of oxyhemocyanin and hemocyanin. These results demand the postulate of a dibasic acid whose constant is increased on oxygenation. I know of no other case in physical chemistry where two protons have to dissociate together, that is where an intermediate product does not exist. [handwritten: "The analogous effect"] does occur in oxidation and reduction, though. Could this be a structural peculiarity due to interactions between the two copper atoms of an individual prosthetic group? The acid-base relations of hemocyanins are further complicated by the observation in many bloods of the so-called reversed Bohr effect, that is, that the oxy-form is a weaken acid than the non-complex form.

I am very sorry that your wife dropped her plans for the camping trip [handwritten: "near Deep Springs"] with Schomaker said Eyster this week end. I do not think that it will be very cold. I urged her to leave Peter and Linda at home, and go with Liny. A sleeping bag fortified with extra blankets would keep them plenty comfortable, for rain was not expected. I am afraid that she was partly influenced by the fact that I couldn't go too.

Last Saturday I dropped by your home to give the kids a ride, and was invited to stay for supper. Lola was sick, so while Mrs. Pauling put the kids to sleep, Liny and I did the dishes. Schomaker, Eyster, and Levy came over for the evening. I had a very pleasant time. I am having as hard a tine as your wife in getting time to march on. I never have seen tine pass so slowly, even when I work like the devil.

I gave Mellor about two hours on the nature of the chemical bond and the value of magnetic criterion of structure of complexes. He found a note by an Italian saying that the monovalent cyanide of Ni, K3Ni(CN)4 (red) is diamagnetic. He is going to prepare some and check up on the solution. He seems very interested in possibilities in this field [handwritten: "and I would like to have him working for me. I may not have a chance to write you again before you get home. We all certainly would be glad to see you, though. Pleasant and speedy trip!

Yours Charles C."]

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