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Guide to the Chemistry Division Selected Correspondence Files, 1935-1958
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Chemistry Division Selected Correspondence Files,
    Date (inclusive): 1935-1958
    Creator: Chemistry Division, California Institute of Technology
    Extent: Linear feet: 1
    Repository: California Institute of Technology. Archives.
    Pasadena, California 91125
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [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

    Assistant Archivist

    May 10, 1978