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Finding Aid to the Henry Rapoport Papers, 1936-2003
BANC MSS 2002/261 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Henry Rapoport Papers,
    Date: 1936-2003
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2002/261 c
    Creator: Rapoport, Henry
    Extent: 23 cartons, 1 oversize box 29.15 linear ft.
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The Henry Rapoport Papers, 1936-2003, consist of correspondence, writings, reports, and research materials spanning Rapoport's distinguished career in organic chemistry from the 1940s to his death in 2002. The bulk of the collection includes correspondence and reports generated by Rapoport and his post doctoral research associates in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Also included are materials relating to his research and consulting work in the private sector and a small amount of personal papers.
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.
    Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Henry Rapoport Papers, BANC MSS 2002/261 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Separated Material

    Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
    Audiovisual materials have been transferred to the Microforms Collection of The Bancroft Library.
    Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
    University of California, Berkeley--Faculty.
    Chemistry and pharmacology of natural products.
    Heterocyclic compounds.
    Pharmaceutical research--United States.
    Pharmaceutical chemistry.
    Faculty papers.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Henry Rapoport Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Mrs. Sonya Rapoport on September 30, 2002.


    No additions are expected.


    Funding for processing was provided by Mrs. Sonya Rapoport.

    Biographical Information

    Henry Rapoport was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 16, 1918. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a B.S. in chemistry in 1936 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1943. After graduation, Rapoport worked for the Heyden Chemical Corporation, where he researched the isolation, structure elucidation, and synthesis of penicillin. He left Heyden in 1945 after receiving a National Research Council Fellowship to study the synthesis of morphine derivatives at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
    In 1946, Rapoport was appointed Instructor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1948, Associate Professor in 1953, and finally to Professor in 1957. While at Berkeley, Rapoport taught undergraduate chemistry courses required for students in the premedical and Life Sciences majors, as well as graduate level courses in natural products chemistry. Rapoport trained over 300 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry research over his 55 years of service to the university. In over 400 research projects, Rapoport and his laboratory teams made significant contributions in the chemistry of morphinan alkaloids, paralytic shellfish poison (called saxitoxin), heterocyclic compounds, biological pigments, antibiotics, and anti-tumor compounds.
    In addition to teaching, Rapoport co-authored, along with James Cason, a book entitled Laboratory Text in Organic Chemistry , which was used in college and university laboratory classes for over 30 years. Over the course of his career, he published over 400 articles, continuing to write well after his retirement from the university.
    Rapoport worked as a consultant in the private sector, serving many well-known medicinal research laboratories, including Dupont Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and MitoKor. In the 1970s, Rapoport and his colleague John Hearst developed psoralens, natural products that can be used for the deactivation of viruses. This research led to the formation of the Cerus Corporation.
    Rapoport served as Associate Editor of The Journal of Organic Chemistry and was a member of the Medicinal Chemistry Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. Among the numerous awards and fellowships he received during his career were a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1955 and the Research Achievement Award in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry from the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1972. Professor Rapoport was also made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
    Professor Rapoport retired from UC Berkeley in 1989 and was awarded the Berkeley Citation in 1997. He died on March 6, 2002 in Oakland, California.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Henry Rapoport Papers, 1936-2002, consist of correspondence, writings, reports, and research materials spanning Rapoport's distinguished career in organic chemistry from the 1940s until his death in 2002. The bulk of the collection is made up of correspondence and quarterly reports generated by Rapoport and his post doctoral research associates in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Also included are materials relating to Rapoport's private sector research and consulting work and a small amount of personal papers.
    The collection has been divided into seven series: Correspondence, Writings, University of California, Berkeley, Private Sector Research and Consulting, Research Files, Professional Affiliations, and Personal Papers. Professor Rapoport's correspondence consists primarily of letters to and from colleagues in the field of chemistry and pertains almost exclusively to his research. Writings include papers and lectures regarding his work in the areas of synthesis and the chemistry of marine organisms, heterocyclic compounds, and carcinogens as well as materials relating to his book Laboratory Text in Organic Chemistry, which he co-authored with James Cason.
    At UC, Berkeley Professor Rapoport was most noted for his reputation as instructor and mentor to hundreds of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, many of whom went on to distinguished careers of their own in chemical and biotechnological research. The series University of California, Berkeley includes correspondence with these students, as well as the quarterly research reports generated by his laboratory team over a 40-year period. Only a small amount of administrative material related to the Department of Chemistry can be found in this collection.
    Throughout his career, Rapoport was sought out as a consultant in the medicinal and pharmaceutical research industries. These contributions are documented in the Private Sector Research series and include files from the many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies he worked for. General Research Files include materials related to Professor Rapoport's research both at UC Berkeley and in the private sector.
    There are only a small amount of personal papers in the collection, chiefly course notes from his student days at M.I.T. and a scrapbook documenting his education, career, and family life compiled by his wife, Sonya Rapoport.