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MS 001
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Processing History
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Historical & Biographical note
  • Arrangement note
  • Scope and Content
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note

  • Title: J. Craig Venter Institute History of Molecular Biology Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 001
    Contributing Institution: J. Craig Venter Institute Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 50.0 Linear feet (100 boxes, 1 flat box, 1 crate)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1950-1970
    Date (inclusive): 1909-2000
    Abstract: Collection contains the personal papers of distinguished scientists and Nobel Laureates in molecular biology and allied fields. Materials were collected by Jeremy Norman and his colleague Al Seckel from 1999-2002 and acquired by the J. Craig Venter Institute in 2005. This collection includes a comprehensive array of documents and artifacts marking significant milestones in the history of molecular biology from the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure to related discoveries and developments that form the foundation of molecular biology. Included in the collection are archival materials from Sydney Brenner, Francis Crick, James Watson, Max Delbruck, Rosalind Franklin, Aaron Klug, Linus and Peter Pauling, Max Perutz, and Maurice Wilkins, among others. The materials highlight the relationships, dynamics, and roles these individuals played in the discovery of the DNA structure as well as provides historical context for the discovery of the structure of RNA, transfer RNA, messenger RNA, various viruses and biologically important proteins.
    Language of Materials note: Materials in the collection are in English, French, German, Italian, and Norwegian.
    creator: Norman, Jeremy M.

    Access

    This collection is open for research. Original audio visual materials are restricted due to condition, access copies are available for use.

    Publication Rights

    It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the J. Craig Venter Institute, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

    Processing History

    Processed by Chrystal Carpenter, 2013

    Preferred Citation note

    JCVI History of Molecular Biology Collection (MS 001), J. Craig Venter Institute.

    Historical & Biographical note

    The J. Craig Venter Institute History of Molecular Biology Collection was purchased in its entirety by the J. Craig Venter Institute in August 2005. The collection was assembled by Jeremy Norman and his associate Al Seckel from early 1999 to late 2002 for the purpose of documenting the formative period of molecular biology. During this time the collection was known as the Norman collection on the history of molecular biology. Norman and Seckel acquired personal papers of Donald Caspar, Max Delbruck, Maurice Fox, Bruce Fraser, Sven Furberg, Raymond Gosling, Rollin Hotchkiss, Horace Judson, Aaron Klug, Vittorio Luzzati, Max Perutz, Maurice Wilkins, and Herbert Wilson among others. Within these personal collections materials created by other prominent scientists and Nobel laureates can be found, including five boxes of Rosalind Franklin’s personal papers, acquired with the Aaron Klug papers. Other personal papers within these acquisitions include materials created by Francis Crick and James Watson, Sydney Brenner, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, John Kendrew, Barbara McClintock, Linus and Peter Pauling, and Robert Corey, as well as Leo Szilard. Norman and Seckel also acquired select items which were not part an any individuals' personal papers. Provenance of some individual items is difficult to track. In many instances offprints and reprints will include the original owners’ stamp or signature. Many signatures are contemporary to the item, but on occasion signatures were added by the creators’ in the early 2000s. Together these materials form the J. Craig Venter Institute History of Molecular Biology Collection.
    Brief biographical notes on primary individuals held in the collection are as follows:
    Sydney Brenner was born in Germiston, South Africa on January 13, 1927 to Lena (Blacher) and Morris Brenner, both Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Brenner, a biologist/geneticist made significant contributions to work on the genetic code and other areas of molecular biology. In 2002 he won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with H. Robert Horvitz and John Sulston for their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death.
    Francis H. C. Crick was born in Weston Favell, Northampton, England on June 8, 1916 to Annie Elizabeth Wilkins and Harry Crick. Crick, a neuroscientist and molecular biologist is widely known for being a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. He, along with James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material. Crick died on July 28, 2004.
    Max Ludwig Hanning Delbruck was born in Berlin, Germany on September 4, 1906 to Liana Tiersch Delbruck and Hans Delbruck. Delbruck a German-American biophysicist made significant contributions to the study of bacteriophages. In 1969 he won a Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine along with Alfred D. Hershey and Salvador E. Luria for their discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses. He died on March 9, 1981.
    Maurice Stanford Fox was born in New York City on October 11, 1924 to Russian Jewish immigrants. Fox, a geneticist and molecular biologist made significant contributions in understanding mechanisms of genetic modification. Fox, professor Emeritus of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology spent much of his career there; prior to MIT he worked and became a close collaborator with Leo Szilard, and later worked with Rollin Hotchkiss at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.
    Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born in London, England on July 25, 1920 to Muriel and Ellis Franklin. Franklin, a biophysicist and x-ray crystallographer made significant contributions in understanding of molecular structure of DNA, RNA, coal, and viruses, specifically the Tobacco Mosaic Virus. While working at King’s College in London, Franklin was the first to discover and photograph the B form of DNA, which was a crucial factor in the discovery of DNA’s double helical structure. Franklin died on April 16, 1958 at 37 years of age.
    Raymond Gosling was born in 1926. Gosling, a British biophysicist made significant contributions to the field of molecular biology. In 1949 he was a research student at King’s College London, first working with Maurice Wilkins on x-ray diffraction, then later with Rosalind Franklin from 1951-1953. Together he and Franklin produced the first x-ray diffraction patter of the B form of DNA. After earning his thesis in 1954 he lectured at a number of universities before returning to the UK in 1967, where he retired in 1984 as professor Emeritus in Physics Applied to Medicine.
    Sven Furburg was born in Sande, Norway on April 16, 1920 and died March 15, 1983 in Oslo. Furberg, a chemist, biologist, and crystallographer created one of the first DNA models. His research while at Birkbeck College, University of London in 1949, led to the correct determination of the structure of a nucleotide, a key element in solving the structure of DNA. His subsequent publication was one of the few that Watson and Crick cited in their April 25, 1953 publication on the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA.
    Rollin Douglas Hotchkiss was born in South Britain, Connecticut in 1911. Hotchkiss, a biochemist and geneticist made significant contributions to the field of molecular genetics. His research while at Rockefeller Institute alongside Oswald Avery and others, helped to establish that DNA, not protein, is the biochemical basis of heredity. He worked at Rockefeller from 1935 until his retirement as a professor emeritus, in 1982. He left active research in 1986 and passed away at the age of 93 on December 12, 2004.
    Aaron Klug was born in Zelvas, Lithuania to parents Bella Silin and Lazar Klug on August 11, 1926. Klug, a chemist and biophysicist received his doctorate at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1953. Later that year took a position at Birkbeck College, University of London working with Rosalind Franklin on virus research. He went on to work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology where he perfected crystallographic electron microscopy. He was Director of the lab from 1986-1996. In 1982 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes.
    Barbara McClintock was born in Hartford, Connecticut on June 16, 1902 to Sara Handy McClintock and Thomas Henry McClintock. McClintock, was one of the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticists. In 1983 McClintock won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of mobile genetic elements. Barbara died on September 2, 1992.
    Max Ferdinand Perutz was born in Vienna, Austria on May 19, 1914 to Adele Goldschmidt and Hugo Perutz. Perutz, a molecular biologist, made significant discoveries for his studies in hemoglobin and other globular proteins. He obtained his PhD under William Lawrence Bragg at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory. He went on to co-found and direct the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology from 1962-1979. In 1962, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with John Kendrew for their studies of the structures of globular proteins. Max Perutz died on February 6, 2002.
    Leo Szilard was born in Budapest, Hungary on February 11, 1898 to Thekla Vidor and Louis Spitz. Szilard, a nuclear physicist and biologist made significant discoveries on nuclear chain reaction and patented the idea of a nuclear reaction with Enrico Fermi. In the late 1930s he moved to the United States and worked on the Manhattan Project. In the late 1940s he worked closely with Aaron Novick on chemostat. He was also a very active advocate of global arms control. He died in La Jolla, CA on May 30, 1964 at 66 years of age.
    James Dewey Watson was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 6, 1928 to Jean Mitchell and James D. Watson. Watson, a molecular biologist and geneticist obtained his B.S. and PhD in zoology from Indiana University and is widely known for being a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. He, along with Francis H.C. Crick and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material.

    Arrangement note

    This collection is organized into 12 series:

    1. Sydney Brenner papers, 1957-1961
    2. Francis H.C. Crick and James D. Watson papers, 1958-1998
    3. Max Delbruck papers, 1939-1994 (bulk 1945-1965)
    4. Maurice Fox papers, 1943-1994 (bulk 1955-1965)
    5. Rosalind E. Franklin papers, 1934-1959
    6. Raymond Gosling papers, 1950-1988
    7. Sven Furberg papers, 1946-1981
    8. Rollin D. Hotchkiss papers, 1936-1994 (bulk 1940-1970)
    9. Aaron Klug papers, 1927-1998 (bulk 1955-1985)
    10. Barbara McClintock papers, 1978-1979
    11. Max Perutz papers, 1909-2000 (bulk 1960-1990)
    12. Leo Szilard papers, 1941-2000 (bulk 1950-1962)
    13. Maurice Wilkins and Herbert Wilson papers, 1950-1995 (bulk 1950s)
    14. Various Scientists, 1951-1977 (bulk 1950s)
    15. Oversize materials and artifacts, 1950-1959, undated

    Scope and Content

    The J. Craig Venter Institute History of Molecular Biology collection was created to document the foundation and early history of molecular biology. The collection includes a comprehensive array of documents and artifacts marking significant milestones in molecular biology from discoveries on how genetic information is passed from generation to generation to discoveries on the structure and function of proteins. The materials highlight the connections and individual roles scientists played in these discoveries as well as provide context for the discovery of the structure of DNA, RNA, transfer RNA, messenger RNA, and various viruses and biologically important proteins.
    The collection includes correspondence, galley proofs, lectures, reprints, manuscripts, research files, laboratory notebooks, interviews, photographs and a small number of artifacts from various scientists and Nobel Prize winners including; Sydney Brenner, Donald Caspar, Francis Crick and James Watson, Max Delbruck, Maurice Fox, Rosalind Franklin, Bruce Fraser, Sven Furburg, Raymond Gosling, Rollin Hotchkiss, Aaron Klug, Barbara McClintock, Max Perutz, Leo Szilard, Maurice Wilkins, and Herbert Wilson. The collection also includes a small selection of materials created by numerous molecular biologists and scientists in allied fields such as; Oswald Avery, Sir Lawrence Bragg, Erwin Chargaff, A.D. Hershey, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, John Kendrew, Linus Pauling and Robert Corey, and Frederick Sanger, among others. The collection includes primary and secondary source materials acquired and combined together by Jeremy Norman to form the collection.
    The collection is organized into series based on the original creator of the materials and provenance. The series are alphabetical by creator. The last series “various scientists” groups together materials from creators in which there is only a small amount of material. This series is organized alphabetically by creator as well. The materials within the series vary depending on the individual creator, however materials primarily include correspondence files, laboratory and research files, photographs, manuscript and typescripts, as well as offprints and reprints.
    Correspondence files are arranged alphabetically according to correspondent in individual folders as well as general folders organized by last name initials. Laboratory and research files retain original titles when available and therfore often only contain abbreviations, such as TMV for Tobacco Mosaic Virus and TYMV for Turnip Yellow Mosaic Virus. Photographs are generally organized by topic or theme and then further organized by date. Manuscripts, typescripts, reprints, offprints, and writings generated by the creator of the series can generally be found within the subseries “Papers and Other Works” while manuscripts, typescripts, and published writings of other individuals collected by the creator of the series can be found in the subseries “Writings by Others”.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    The collection was acquired from Jeremy Norman in August 2005. Prior to that date the collection was known as the Norman Collection.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Brenner, Sydney
    Caspar, Donald
    Crick, Francis, 1916-2004
    Delbruck, Max
    Fox, Maurice
    Franklin, Rosalind, 1920-1958
    Fraser, Bruce
    Furberg, Sven
    Gosling, Raymond
    Hodgkin, Dorothy, 1910-1994
    Hotchkiss, Rollin H.
    Klug, A. (Aaron), Sir, 1926
    Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
    McClintock, Barbara, 1902-1992
    Medical Research Council (Great Britain).
    Perutz, Max F.
    Szilard, Leo
    Watson, James D., 1928-
    Wilkins, Maurice, 1916-2004
    Wilson, Herbert R.
    Biochemistry--History.
    DNA -- History.
    DNA -- Research -- History
    DNA -- Structure
    DNA replication.
    History of science and technology
    Molecular Biology -- history.
    Negatives (photographic)
    Nobel Prize winners
    Photographs
    Science -- Social aspects
    Slides (photographs)
    Tobacco mosaic virus
    Transfer RNA
    Turnip yellow mosaic virus