Scope and Content
Title: Chemistry Division Selected Correspondence Files,
Date (inclusive): 1935-1958
Chemistry Division, California Institute of Technology
Extent: Linear feet: 1
California Institute of Technology. Archives.
Pasadena, California 91125
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All
requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing
to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the
California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not
intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item, Box and file number], Chemistry Division Selected Correspondence
Files, Archives, California Institute of Technology.
Scope and Content
The manuscript material described below was selected by the Institute Archivist from the
files of the Division of Chemistry, and deposited in the Archives June 2, 1975. Primarily
correspondence, these papers provide some documentation of the administrative and
scientific career of Linus Pauling, Chairman of the Division from 1937 to 1958.
The earliest material is in the Chemistry Division Council files, which contain a few
items regarding the reorganization of the Council under Arthur A. Noyes, Chairman of the
Division until his death in 1936. Later files deal with administrative matters, such as
personnel, students, course curricula, and laboratory equipment. One item of general
interest is a ten-page memorandum by Pauling dated August 15, 1944, "The Division of
Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Its Present
State and Future Prospects."
In late 1945, Pauling and the new Chairman of the Division of Biology, George W. Beadle,
began a joint effort to establish a long-range research program in chemical biology at
the Institute and to secure financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The
Biology Division files, especially those covering the years 1945-1946, contain a number
of interesting letters between Pauling and Beadle in which they discuss their plans. This
material is complemented by the Rockefeller Foundation files, which include Pauling's
correspondence with Foundation officials such as Warren Weaver and George Gray regarding
research proposals and grants.
The collection also includes files of two scientific meetings held at Caltech in 1953 and
1957. The first of these, an informal five-day conference on the structure of proteins,
was attended by a distinguished roster of scientists. Although much of the correspondence
concerns travel arrangements, letters to the following participants discuss both
scientific and personal matters: F .H. C. Crick, David Harker, Dorothy Hodgkin, H. E.
Huxley, John Kendrew, Barbara Low, D. P. Riley, and James Watson. A single folder of
material is available on the second meeting, a one-day celebration of the 40th
anniversary of the first American papers in X-ray crystallography. The file includes
Pauling's correspondence with C. Lalor Burdick and Albert W. Hull, two of the three
original authors, and with Dorothy Hodgkin, who delivered the main address on the
determination of the structure of vitamin B-12.
The remaining files seem to be less complete. There are two folders of material from the
early 1950's on a protein program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research at Columbia
University. Pauling was apparently a consultant for this project, and the files contain
his correspondence with Erwin Brand of Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Finally, the collection includes two folders of W miscellaneous Pauling correspondence.
--Carolyn K. Harding
May 10, 1978