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Stephen Jay Gould Papers, 1899-2004
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Access Terms

  • Overview

    Call Number: M1437
    Creator: Gould, Stephen Jay
    Title: Stephen Jay Gould papers
    Dates: 1899-2004
    Bulk Dates: 1941-2002
    Physical Description: 564.75 Linear feet (790 boxes, 119 cartons, 30 flat boxes, 14 map folders; 160 videotapes, 271 audio cassettes, 7 reels, 35 compact discs. Computer media: 1,180 files [52 megabytes])
    Summary: This collection documents the life of noted American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science, Stephen Jay Gould. The papers include correspondence, juvenilia, manuscripts, subject files, teaching files, photographs, audiovisual materials, and personal and biographical materials created and compiled by Gould. Both textual and born-digital materials are represented in the collection.
    Language(s): The materials are in English.
    Repository: Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
    Stanford University Libraries.
    557 Escondido Mall
    Stanford, CA 94305-6064
    Email: specialcollections@stanford.edu
    Phone: (650) 725-1022
    URL: http://library.stanford.edu/spc

    Administrative Information


    Gift of Rhonda Roland Shearer, 2004 (Accession 2004-148); 2005 (Accession 2005-248); 2007 (Accessions 2007-021, 2007-193, and 2007-240); 2008 (Accession 2008-099); 2009 (Accession 2009-144); 2010 (Accession 2010-018); and 2011 (Accession 2011-017).

    Information about Access

    Open for research, except restricted materials in Series 8. Harvard University; Series 9. New York University; Series 10. Organizations, committees, boards; Series 20. Family; and Series 23. CVs, endorsements, reviews. These restricted files are closed for research until 2086. Audiovisual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy. Born-digital materials are in-process and currently unavailable.

    Ownership & Copyright

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94304-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Cite As

    [identification of item], Stephen Jay Gould Papers, M1437. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Processing Notes

    This collection was processed by Jenny Johnson with assistance from Laura Williams & Beth Noyes. Audiovisual materials were processed in 2010 by Crystal Rengal; born-digital materials are being processed by Peter Chan (2012).

    Separated Materials

    Gould's rare books and manuscripts have been individually cataloged as part of the Stanford University Libraries Special Collections' rare books and manuscripts collections.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Stephen Jay Gould, notable American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science was born on September 10, 1941, in New York City, the son of Leonard and Eleanor (Rosenberg) Gould. His father Leonard was a court stenographer, and his mother Eleanor was an artist. When Gould was five years old, his father took him to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Gould often recalled throughout his life how viewing the Tyrannosaurus rex during this childhood trip marked the beginning of his lifelong passion for paleontology. His interest in paleontology continued to develop throughout his childhood and teenage years, and was encouraged by his family and educators. In addition to steadfast support of their boy’s academic pursuits, the Goulds were doting parents who sought to expose their child to a wide range of culture and activities, as well as a sense of civic responsibility. Though Gould’s early childhood and teenage years were largely focused on his two prevailing passions, paleontology and the New York Yankees, he also sang in school and city choirs, and was a zealous advocate for civil rights and supporter of many progressive social issues of the day.
    Gould attended New York public schools, and attended Antioch College in Ohio, graduating in 1963 with a degree in Geology. During his undergraduate years he studied abroad at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. In 1965 he married Deborah Lee, an artist and fellow Antioch student. Together they would have two sons, Jesse and Ethan. In 1966, Gould accepted a position at Antioch College as Professor of Geology. Following his time at Antioch College, Gould attended Columbia University for his graduate work, under the guidance of mentor Norman Newell. For his doctoral thesis he investigated variation and evolution in an obscure Bermuda land snail. He earned his Ph.D. in paleontology from Columbia University in 1967. That same year he joined the faculty of Harvard University as Assistant Professor of Geology and Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology. In 1971 he was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1973 he was promoted to Professor of Geology. In 1982 he was awarded the title of Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, a position he retained until his death in 2002. From 1996 to 2002 Gould also served as Vincent Astor Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University. In 1972, along with Niles Eldredge, he developed the theory of punctuated equilibria. Theirs was a revision of Darwinian theory proposing that the creation of new species through evolutionary change occurs not at slow, constant rates over millions of years but rather in rapid bursts over periods as short as thousands of years, which are then followed by long periods of stability during which organisms undergo little further change.
    A prolific writer, Gould authored 300 consecutive essays for his monthly column This View of Life which appeared in Natural History, the journal of The American Museum of Natural History. He also authored over 20 best-selling books, and wrote nearly a thousand scientific papers. Many of Gould's Natural History essays were reprinted in collected volumes, such as Ever Since Darwin and The Panda's Thumb. Popular treatises included books such as The Mismeasure of Man, Wonderful Life, and Full House, and his landmark work The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Gould was also a lifelong baseball fan, and often referenced the sport in his essays. Many of his baseball essays were anthologized in his posthumously published book Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville.
    In July 1982, Gould was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a deadly form of abdominal cancer most commonly linked to asbestos exposure. After a difficult two-year recovery, Gould published a column for Discover magazine, titled "The Median Isn't the Message," which discusses his reaction to discovering that mesothelioma patients had a median lifespan of only eight months after diagnosis and the importance of statistical reasoning and the meaning of variation.
    Gould was among the first group awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship in 1981. In 1983, Gould was awarded fellowship into the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he later served as president (1999–2001). He also served as president of the Paleontological Society (1985–1986) and the Society for the Study of Evolution (1990–1991). In 1989 Gould was elected into the body of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2001 the American Humanist Association named him the Humanist of the Year for his lifetime of work. In his lifetime, Gould would be awarded over forty-four honorary degrees and 66 major fellowships, medals, and awards.
    In 1995, Gould married artist and sculptor Rhonda Roland Shearer who is the mother of two children, Jade and London Allen, Gould’s stepchildren. Together Gould and Shearer founded the non-profit Art Science Research Laboratory, which is “committed to the creation of intellectual environment and advocacy of interdisciplinary study, encompassing the areas of research, collections and publishing.”
    Stephen Jay Gould died May 20, 2002, of cancer at the age of 60.
    Text for Biographical Note provided from:
    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/biography.html; http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/shermer_sjgould.pdf; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Jay_Gould; http://www.biography.com/people/stephen-jay-gould-9316907
    Bibliographies of Gould’s writings:
    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/bibliography.html Allmon, W. D., Kelley, P. H., & Ross, R. M. (2008). Stephen Jay Gould: Reflections on his view of life. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection documents the life of noted American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science, Stephen Jay Gould. The papers include correspondence, juvenilia, manuscripts, subject files, teaching files, photographs, and personal and biographical materials created and compiled by Gould.
    The materials found in the born-digital series were processed separately by Peter Chan, Digital Archivist for Stanford University Libraries' Department of Special Collections. For detailed processing and access information, please see notes for "Series 6: Born-Digital Materials." Audiovisual materials include audio cassettes, videotapes, compact discs, and reels. Titles were transcribed directly from media by Crystal Rengal in 2010, and the listing was incorporated into the finding aid in 2011.
    Wherever Gould's original arrangement of materials was discernible, the order was retained. However, a significant portion of the materials were not well organized. Where possible, arrangement notes for the specific series will indicate which portions reflect Gould's arrangement system, and which were arranged by processing archivists.


    The papers are arranged in 23 series. The arrangement of the collection is as follows:
    Series 1. Correspondence
    Series 2. Juvenilia
    Series 3. Manuscripts
    Series 4. Subject Files
    Series 5. Audiovisual Materials
    Series 6. Born-Digital Materials
    Series 7. Columbia University
    Series 8. Harvard University
    Series 9. New York University
    Series 10. Organizations, committees, boards
    Series 11. Conferences, lectures, and symposia
    Series 12. Research
    Series 13. Baseball
    Series 14. Music
    Series 15. Photographs
    Series 16. Artifacts, ephemera, memorabilia
    Series 17. Awards
    Series 18. Clippings and scrapbooks
    Series 19. Biographical
    Series 20. Family
    Series 21. Works by others
    Series 22. Oversize (miscellaneous)
    Series 23. CVs, endorsements, reviews (restricted)

    Access Terms

    American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    American Association for the Advancement of Science.
    Angell, Roger
    Antioch College.
    Arnheim, Rudolf
    Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992
    Bahamas National Trust.
    Bok, Derek Curtis.
    Boston Cecilia (Musical group).
    Bunge, Mario, 1919-
    Cain, Arthur J. (Arthur James)
    Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
    Chomsky, Noam
    Clarke, Arthur C. (Arthur Charles), 1917-2008
    Clinton, Bill, 1946-
    Clinton, Hillary Rodham.
    Correia, Clara Pinto
    Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
    Dawkins, Richard, 1941-
    Dershowitz, Alan M.
    DiMaggio, Joe, 1914-1999
    Djerassi, Carl
    Ehrlich, Paul R.
    Eldredge, Niles
    Eysenck, H. J. (Hans Jurgen), 1916-1997
    Fox, Harold Munro, 1889-1967
    Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983
    Gardner, Martin, 1914-2010
    Gates, Bill, 1955-
    Gates, Henry Louis
    Gingrich, Newt
    Gore, Albert, 1948-
    Hallam, Anthony
    Halsell, Grace
    Harvard University
    Huxley, Julian, 1887-1975.
    Huxley, Thomas Henry, 1825-1895
    King, Stephen, 1947-
    Krementz, Jill
    Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de, 1744-1829
    Leakey, Richard E.
    Lewontin, Richard C., 1929-
    Luria, S. E. (Salvador Edward), 1912-1991
    Maynard Smith, John, 1920-2004
    Mayr, Ernst, 1904-2005
    Medawar, P. B. (Peter Brian), 1915-1987
    Merton, Robert King, 1910-2003
    Montagu, Ashley, 1905-1999
    Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich, 1899-1977
    National Academy of Sciences.
    National Science Foundation (U.S.)
    Newell, Norman Dennis, 1909-2005
    Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994.
    Raskin, Jef
    Raup, David M.
    Ripley, Sidney Dillon, 1913-2001
    Rogovin, Milton, 1909-2011
    Royal Society of Edinburgh.
    Sacks, Oliver W.
    Sagan, Carl, 1934-1996
    Scott, Eugenie Carol, 1945-
    Shearer, Rhonda Roland, 1954-
    Sibley, Charles Gald, 1917-
    Simpson, George Gaylord, 1902-1984
    Skinner, B. F. (Burrhus Frederic), 1904-1990
    Stebbins, G. Ledyard (George Ledyard), 1906-2000
    Sulloway, Frank J.
    Ternes, Alan
    Vonnegut, Kurt
    Vrba, E. S. (Elisabeth S.)
    Wilson, Edward O.
    Wright, Sewall, 1889-1988
    Evolution (Biology)
    History of Science
    Natural history
    Punctuated equilibrium (Evolution)
    Race discrimination.