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Guide to the CSHL Historical Collections

There are three main ways to use this guide:

  • you can begin with the Collections page that gives an overview of the CSHL historical collections and allows you to browse systematically
  • you can view a set of Themes that reflect important cross-cutting strengths of the collection; you can read more about these themes and how they are reflected across the collection under Expanded Commentary
  • you can perform a full-text search of The Guide and this website using Search Website or the Finding Aids using Search Finding Aids.

This guide illustrates the breadth and depth of the collection. It is intended not only for historians and scientists, but also for teachers and students at the high-school level and above, and cultural practitioners such as filmmakers, writers, and artists who engage with the role of biomedicine in public life. The guide is designed to complement two other important groups of resources: the CSHL Archives finding aids that offer a comprehensive listing of items in the collection, and existing writings on the history of biology in general and of the lab in particular, such as Jan A. Witkowski’s 2016 book The Road to Discovery: A Short History of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. We hope this new resource will inspire prospective researchers to use the finding aids, visit the collections (online and in person), and eventually make new contributions to our understanding of science and society.

Highlights from the Collections

image of The Guide to historical collections button

Themes Collections Expanded Commentary Search Website Search Finding Aids Contact an archivist