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Letters and cards to Bernal, 1932-1940

MS. Eng. c. 7943/7-10
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

These are all autograph manuscript, rarely fully dated. They are presented in approximately chronological order, with dates assigned on the basis of content or reference. All aspects of Hodgkin's life and contact with Bernal are dealt with, beginning with her first visit to his laboratory (Aug. 1932) and the Ravenna conference (Sept. 1932). After her return to Oxford there are many references to her visit to consult him in Cambridge or arrangements for left-wing political meetings, juxtaposed, sometimes incongruously, with research information and ideas which occupied part of her mind in whatever emotional circumstances. G. Ferry draws on these letters extensively in her biography of Hodgkin, particularly chapters 3-5. Several of Hodgkin's letters to Thomas include references to Bernal's visits to Oxford on scientific or political matters. Files comprise:

  1. 7) letters and cards, 1932-1936, includes undated letter, 'I am so glad and excited about the virus' (B.42)
  2. 8) letters and cards, 1937. These cover the period of Hodgkin's engagement and marriage to Thomas, and show her delicacy in dealing with these topics with regard to Bernal. The letters have been extensively quoted by Ferry. Hodgkin's letter of 12 October is characteristic, moving from Oxford Labour Club lunches to her insulin paper, her plans for marriage in December and subsequent semi-detached life with Thomas, and changes in her relations with Bernal which had clearly been of great moment to her. Letter of 19 Dec., written on honeymoon, describes her wedding and also pending work on lactoglobulin which she has delegated to Riley and Fankuchen. (B.43)
  3. 9) letters and cards, 1938, relating to science, politics, and pregnancy. Includes telegram 'Nice boy born 5pm yesterday...' and Hodgkin's letter of 28 Dec. describing her labour, early days with the baby, 'rather a nice one', and detailed comments on her sterols paper. (B.44)
  4. 10) letters and cards, 1939-1940, includes undated letter (Spring 1940, Ferry pp.218-219) on Hodgkin's ideas about the development of crystallography in Oxford, and her own uncertain plans. (B.45)


  • Creation: 1932-1940


1 folder

Language of Materials

  • English


MS. Eng. c. 7943/7-10

Former reference:

NCUACS 135/8/04 B.42-45

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom