About the Personal Collections
CSHL Archives’ mission is to collect and document both the history of science at Cold Spring Harbor, and the history of molecular biology and genetics in general. We are home to the personal collections of numerous notable scientists, including Nobel laureates James D. Watson, Barbara McClintock, Alfred Hershey, Walter Gilbert, and Hermann Muller. Our collections date back to the early days of scientific research at Cold Spring Harbor, including Charles Davenport (first director of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Genetics), Reginald Harris (first director of Long Island Biological Association), and Hugo Fricke (radiation scientist at CSH from 1928–1955). The Archives also contains the personal collections of recent CSHL scientists, such as yeast geneticists Amar Klar, James Hicks, and Jeffrey Strathern, as well as history of science scholars, such Elof Carlson and Errol Friedberg. Our collections generally consist of correspondence, photographs, laboratory notebooks, administrative files, memorabilia, and audiovisual media.
Amos G. Avery
Selection of photographs from 1926 to 1942, the majority dating from the 1930s. The photos belonged to Amos G. Avery, who was an associate in plant breeding for the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor, managing the gardens and greenhouses under Dr. Albert Blakeslee from 1926-42.
Dr. Alan W. Bernheimer, Sr.
Materials related to the village of Cold Spring Harbor, 1897-1947, accrued by Bernheimer while on staff at the Biological Laboratory at CSH. This collection includes reprints, inventories, pamphlets, announcements, topographical maps and annual reports of the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum.
Immensely significant collection of over three hundred manuscript boxes of material documenting the life of molecular biologist Sydney Brenner and his colleagues. Coverage includes Brenner’s early years as a student in South Africa, his Nobel-prize winning work as a scientist and administrator in Cambridge, UK from 1956-1995, and his zeal for biotechnology. The collection also includes material that belonged to Francis Crick and Leslie Barnett.
Clarence G. Campbell
Campbell was a wealthy New Yorker who served as officer of several eugenics organizations. Dating from 1921 to 1938, this collection contains Campbell’s correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, reprints, published journals, lecture notes, and speeches/addresses. His career as eugenicist, scientist, and writer are well documented.
Personal and professional material accrued by geneticist and historian of genetics E.A. Carlson, primarily during his professional academic career from 1958-2000. The collection includes course notebooks, lecture notes and teaching files, scientific papers, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, clippings, and material related to Carlson’s biography of H.J. Muller.
Francis H.C. Crick
This substantial sub-collection of the Sydney Brenner collection contains material that belonged to Nobel laureate Francis Crick, with whom Brenner had shared an office. When Crick left the MRC laboratory at Cambridge, Brenner preserved these materials, which include correspondence, photographs, scientific notes, and manuscripts by Crick and others.
Charles B. Davenport
Papers and photographs from Davenport and his wife, Gertrude Crotty Davenport. Charles Davenport was the longtime director of several scientific institutions in Cold Spring Harbor, including the Biological Laboratory, the Station for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. This collection includes biographical material, memorabilia, correspondence, photocopies of his articles, and family, institutional, and scientific photographs. Researchers interested in Davenport’s activities should also consult the relevant institutional collections at CSHL.
Letters related to the workshop “Sequencing the Human Genome,” which was organized by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Health and Environmental Research and held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 3-4, 1986. Along with another workshop held two months later at CSHL, this event played an important role in building momentum toward initiating a human genome project.
Errol C. Friedberg
Consists of material related to the research, writing, and publication of two biographies: The Writing Life of James D. Watson and Sydney Brenner: A Biography (both published by CSH Press), including transcripts of interviews with scientists and correspondence with scientists and publishers.
James I. Garrels Protein Databases, Inc.
These papers consist primarily of printed materials including newspaper clippings, annual report selections, and information related to the formation of Protein Database, Inc., a biotechnology company established in 1984 by Robert Franza and Jim Garrels of CSHL.
Includes material accrued by Gilbert as a student (Sidwell Friends School, Harvard University, Cambridge University), professor (Harvard University), and pioneering entrepreneur in the field of biotechnology (Biogen). The collection includes course notebooks, lecture notes and teaching files, scientific papers, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, clippings, and material related to receiving the Nobel Prize.
Includes lab notes, correspondence, manuscripts, and visual material accrued by Greider during her postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley from 1984-1987, and her early work at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from 1987-1992. Most materials are directly related to her work (with mentor Elizabeth Blackburn) on telomeres and telomerase, which would lead to the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.
Alfred D. Hershey
Significant collection of personal and professional material belonging to Hershey, the longtime CSHL researcher and administrator and 1969 Nobel laureate. Notable contents include the blender used in the famous Hershey-Chase experiment, correspondence from throughout Hershey’s career, scrapbooks chronicling Hershey’s career and travels, and a trove of letters between Hershey and Harriet Jill Davidson from before their marriage.
The collection consists of laboratory research notebooks, one of which includes slide transparencies and photographs. One notebook was created by a student, Ramona Morfeld, who participated in CSHL’s Undergraduate Research Program (URP) in 1984. Another notebook is a manual for the Delbrück Laboratory.
Documents the research of Amar J. S. Klar during his time at CSHL (1978-1988), where he worked in the Yeast Group with Jeff Strathern and Jim Hicks at Delbrück Laboratory. The collection consists of laboratory research notebooks and a very small number of photographs and correspondence included in the first notebook.
Includes over 120 photographs, a correspondence file of 58 letters written and received by such notables as Charles Davenport, Milislav Demerec and Vannevar Bush, a set of 147 reprints written by 336 scientists and collected by Dr. McClintock, who made handwritten notations on them, and a slide collection consisting of 24 undated boxes of assorted sizes, which contain film of seedlings, kernels, and maize with Dr. McClintock’s notations on the boxes. The collection also includes actual corn kernels and photocopies of Dr. McClintock’s field notebooks card files.
Dr. Matthew Meselson
The Dr. Matthew Meselson Collection is composed of materials accrued by Dr. Matthew Meselson during his time at the California Institute of Technology, his work with Franklin Stahl in 1955-1957 demonstrating self-replication of DNA, and his tenure as a Professor at Harvard University beginning in 1960. The collection consists of correspondence, laboratory files, course notebooks, photographs, reprints, X-ray films, and graphs. The date range is from 1948-2019.
Hermann J. Muller
The collection spans Muller’s entire life. Series include correspondence, biographical material and memorabilia, research and publications, and photographs. His correspondence is mainly professional and the bulk of it is with his friend and colleague, Edgar Altenburg, and with Elof Carlson. The biographical material primarily consists of autobiographies, items taken from Muller's office at Indiana University upon his death, and obituary articles.
Sir Kenneth Murray and Lady Noreen Parker Murray
Contains documents pertinent to the EMBO Workshop on DNA Restriction and Modification in Basel, Switzerland during September 1972, and a laboratory notebook used by Sir Kenneth Murray in 1978 while at the University of Edinburgh. Within this notebook is a copy of a reprint by Peter Hans Hofschneider and Kenneth Murray, in 2001.
The Mark Ptashne Collection consists of newspaper clippings, scientific correspondence (both original and photocopies) with 148 scientists including Nobel prize winners Francis Crick, Walter Gilbert, and Sydney Brenner. Much of the scientific correspondence is of a scientific nature mixed with personal exchanges.
A collection of scientific, administrative and personal materials of CSHL President and Chief Executive Officer, biochemist, and cancer researcher Bruce W. Stillman. The collection is largely composed of administrative papers, the scientific research/experiments done in Dr. Stillman’s Laboratory, and limited personal materials.
The collection documents the research of Dr. Jeffrey N. Strathern. It is focused on his time at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (1977-1984), where he worked with Amar Klar and Jim Hicks at Delbruck Laboratory in the Yeast Group. The collection consists of laboratory research notebooks which include polaroid photographs and audiographs.
Raquel Rotman Sussman
This collection consists of correspondence, notably with future Nobelist Alfred Day Hershey, subject files, laboratory notebooks spanning a 40 year period, a few photographs of herself with friends, and a set of her reprints including a reprint with Francois Jacob and Jacques Monod while she was at the Institute Pasteur in the 1960s.
Kitty Brehme Warren
The scrapbooks Kitty Brehme Warren maintained are a primarily visual record of life at the laboratory from 1926 through 1950. Included in these two volumes are many photographs of lab personnel and visitors, the buildings and grounds, and both research-related and recreational events. Several symposium programs and clippings are also included. Dr. Brehme Warren's detailed notations and identifications are reproduced in the index.
James D. Watson
An extensive collection of scientific and personal materials of CSHL leader and Nobel laureate James D. Watson (CSHL Director 1968-1994, CSHL President 1994-2003, CSHL Chancellor 2003-2007, CSHL Chancellor Emeritus 2007-2014). In 2001, Watson donated the majority of his personal and scientific papers to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives.
James D. Watson Family
Consists of material that was created by the Watson family during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The collection includes correspondence, writings, clippings, travel ephemera, and birding material. Additionally, the collection includes a series of genealogical research collected by the Watson family and by Watson’s archivists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Consists of material accrued by Weissmann during his affiliation with Biogen, located in Geneva, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA. The collection includes Biogen corporate documents and correspondence, Biogen financial information both about the company and its primary shareholders, product research and development, and a set of photographs. In addition, many of the files contain experiment result photographs.
Composed of professional and academic related material accrued or produced by Dr. Yanofsky. As Dr. Yanofsky has spent most of his career at Stanford University, much of the material references his tenure as Chairman of the Microbiology Department. The collection includes publications, awards, correspondence, laboratory notebooks and photographs.
Consists of material accrued by Zinder as a student (Columbia University, University of Wisconsin), Professor (Rockefeller University), and as a pioneering researcher in the field of molecular biology. The collection includes course notebooks, lecture notes and teaching files, scientific papers, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, clippings, and material related to his fifty year career at Rockefeller University.