The Cold Spring
Harbor Laboratory Archives houses the entire, extensive collection of
scientific and personal materials of CSHL leader, Nobelist James Watson
(CSHL Director 1968-94, CSHL President 1994-2003, CSHL Chancellor 2003-2007,
CSHL Chancellor Emeritus 2007-present). In
n 2001, Watson donated the majority of his personal and scientific papers to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives. This contribution was a turning point for the archives and has since inspired other scientists to donate their own papers here. As an active writer and outspoken scientist, Watson continues to receive correspondence, produce manuscripts and other historic materials, and to donate these materials to the archives. The collection at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory contains: scientific and personal correspondence (1949-present), manuscripts and typescripts, teaching files and administrative files (Harvard, CSHL, Human Genome Project), financial records, scientific reprints, photographs, personal gifts, and memorabilia. With support from the Lehrman Institute, the Archives has been able to re-house and process the bulk of the collection.
James D. Watson Collection:
James D. Watson Collection: Personal Papers
The collection is organized into 12 series:
4. Articles and
6. Laboratory and Course Notebooks
7. Subject Files
8. Lectures, Speeches, Interviews
James D. Watson Collection:
Within these series, the materials
may be arranged alphabetically, chronologically, or, topically. Please see individual series descriptions for specific arrangement
The James D. Watson Collection is a
non-circulating archival collection. Researchers
may use the materials only on site at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives. For a complete description of the rules and
regulations governing research at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives, please
consult the Regulations Governing the Usage of Archives.
If you wish to request the use of materials from
the CSHL Archives, please consult our Permission
and Copyright Statement and Fee
Schedule, then fill out a Materials Use Request Form.
There may be some restrictions on the use of
the collection. For more information,
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 367-8491
Published citations should take the following
item, date (if known); The James D. Watson Collection; box number; folder number, Cold
Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives.
This Guide to the James D. Watson Collection
represents an initial listing of materials available for research. While the entire collection has not yet been
processed, there may be some materials unavailable for research. A complete finding aid and specific listing of
materials made be made available as soon as the physical processing of the entire
collection is finalized.
Processed by Teresa Kruger, Meredith Bouchard,
1: Biographical, 1928-present-day
The biographical material within this series includes Dr.
Watsons curriculum vitae, personal family mementos including Christmas cards, award
certificates, passports, and items relating to his sixtieth birthday celebration.
Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-2000
The correspondence series includes 17 linear feet of handwritten
and typed letters, carbon copies, postcards and notes dating from 1949 to 2000. Materials are arranged alphabetically by author unless otherwise noted.
The bulk of the material covers Watsons sojourn in
Cambridge (1951-54), Harvard (1956-1968) and as Director (1968-1994) and President of Cold
Spring Harbor Laboratory (1994-presentday). Watsons
career at the Copenhagen Crystallography Lab and time at California Institute of
Technology are touched upon as well. The
concerns addressed in the body of this series are the results and problems with
experiments, fundraising and planning for meetings, and comments on manuscripts. The issue of scientific ethics is addressed
through his correspondence with David Baltimore; Norton Zinder discusses recombinant DNA;
and Robert Cook-Deegan deals with the Human Genome project.
Many letters, such as the correspondence with his father, James, are
personal in tone and discuss social activities, travel plans, and advice, during the
Cambridge and Harvard years.
Correspondents include, but are not limited to, the immediate
family, personal friends, university professors, biologists, geneticists, students,
publishing firms, medical doctors, and businessmen.
This series also contains a fair number of letters of
recommendation and award nominations for scientists such as Mark Ptashne, Nancy Doe
Hopkins, Amar Klar and David Baltimore.
This series contains several subseries. The subseries are as follows: Public Affairs, Student Letters, General Public,
Autograph Requests, Declined Invitations, and Permissions.
The Public Affairs sub-series includes letters directed to the
Public Relations office of CSHL. The
sub-series concerns James D. Watson as a public figure and includes lecture requests from
universities, participation in media projects, signature requests from humanitarian and
Student Letters contains requests for information and impressions
of James Watsons writings, life, and work. Arranged
The General Public subseries includes letters and other
correspondence from a diverse population. The
correspondence ranges from fan letters which profess admiration to opinion
letters in which the writers offer their personal thoughts on much heavily debated
scientific topics. The sub-series is further divided into recurring topics: AIDS, Cloning,
Human Embryology, Cancer, Abortion, and the Human Genome Project. Arranged chronologically.
Permissions include formal requests for permissions to use James
Watsons work for other publications. Arranged
further information on Series 2.
Series 3: Manuscripts, 1965-1987
The Manuscripts series is made up of handwritten and typed
manuscripts, typescripts, reprints, articles, correspondence, contracts, book reviews, and
illustrations relating to the production of monographs and articles for which James Watson
is the primary author. The following titles
are represented in this series: DNA Story
(co-authored with John Tooze); The Double Helix; Molecular Biology of the Gene, Editions
1-4; Recombinant DNA: A Short Course
(co-authored with John Tooze and David T. Kurtz.)
The manuscripts are arranged by title, chapters, and date of
draft. Materials pertinent to the drafting,
preparation, and final publication of the work supplement the manuscripts. This information includes correspondence with
publishers and peer scientists, research materials, sketches, galleys, comments for
revisions, and book reviews. Articles are in
further information on Series 3.
4: Articles and Clippings, 1953-2002
This series contains articles and newspaper clippings
about James D. Watson. The
articles and clippings date from the time of the double helix discovery
to the present-day. This is an extensive series that has
not been entirely processed. Please
consult an archivist for further information regarding this series.
information on Series 4.
Series 5: Teaching Files,
1956-1976, bulk dates 1962-1976
The teaching files include 8 linear feet of materials from James
Watsons years as Associate Professor of Biology (1958), and as Professor of
Microbiology (1961-1976) at Harvard University. Records
consist of course materials such as syllabi, exams, grades, lab applicants, class lectures
and correspondence generated from the Biology Department.
Exams have hand-written comments by Professor Watson. Records include grades of notable scientists such
as Mark Ptashne, Ray Gesteland, Mario Capecchi, and Nancy Hopkins.
Further information on Series 5.
Series 6: Laboratory and Course Notebooks, 1947-1951, 1958-1961
This series consists of James D. Watson’s
handwritten graduate school course notebooks and laboratory research notebooks
between 1947 and 1951. It is divided into three subseries: Subseries 1:
Ph.D. Courses and Dissertation Research, Indiana University; 1947-1950,
Subseries 2: Copenhagen Laboratory Research, 1950-1951; and Subseries
3: Harvard Medical School Research, 1959-1961. Of note, there are approximately
2.5 cubic feet of additional laboratory notebooks dated 1949-1950 that
are currently unprocessed and will later be added to Subseries 1. Arranged
information on Series 6.
Series 7: Subject Files
This series contains files kept by Dr. Watson relating to his
various activities within the scientific community, public sphere and business sector. Represented within this series is his work with
the Human Genome Project, cancer research, and various roles as board member for several
pharmaceutical companies. This is an
extensive series that has not been entirely processed.
Please consult an archivist for further information regarding this series.
Further information on Series 7, Human Genome Project.
Series 8: Lectures, Speeches
and Interviews, 1968-2001, bulk dates 1973-1979
Records include various lectures presented at various
institutions including universities, medical centers, and public schools. Collection consists primarily of correspondence
relating to the lectures, speeches and/or interviews.
Speeches include subjects such as Recombinant DNA, tumor viruses, and the
Human Genome Project. Highlights include
testimonies given before the House of Representatives and the Senate Subcommittee on the
Quality of Medical Care (1973). 7 linear
information on Series 8.
Series 9: Nobel Prize,
1962-1968, bulk dates 1962-1963
The Nobel Prize series consists of congratulatory letters and
telegrams, correspondence, Harvard University News Office press releases, newspaper
clippings, postcards, and items related to the awards dinner such as Dr. Watsons
handwritten notes of his speech, the Nobel itinerary, and photographs. Telegrams and congratulatory letters include those
sent by prominent scientists such as Alfred D. Hershey, Salvador Luria, and Sydney
Brenner. Also included within these
congratulatory messages are those sent by politicians including Edward Kennedy.
information on Series 9.
Series 10: Reprints, 1940-1990, bulk dates 1942-1980
Extensive collection consisting of approximately 1700 offprints
and reprints, mostly signed by James Watson (some annotated), some inscribed and signed by
various scientific authors. Also included
are galley proofs, and photocopies of research papers written by scientists, including
James Watson, Sydney Brenner, Max Delbruck, Rosalind Franklin, Al Hershey, Linus Pauling
and Max Perutz. This collection contains
important papers in the history of Genetics significant the career of James D. Watson. 6 linear feet.
Further information on Series 10.
Series 11: Videotapes, 1978-2000, bulk dates 1995-2000
This series contains a small collection of videotapes relating to
subject matters of scientific discoveries DNA, genetics, molecular biology, and the Human
Genome Project. There are commentaries by Dr.
Watson as well as an interview of Dr. Watson conducted by Charlie Rose. All tapes are recorded in English.
Series 12: Memorabilia
Artifacts and ephemera collected during the life and travels of James D.
Watson. This series includes postcards,
airline boarding passes, matchboxes, and other assorted artifacts.
Further information on Series 12.
James D. Watson Collection: Institutional
1: Administrative : Reports
The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archive’s institutional
records contain texts of the Director’s Reports in various stages of manuscript
creation and publication. With the current exception of four copies of
Annual Reports created by John Cairns (Director, 1964-1967), the bulk
of the materials are reports created by Dr. James D. Watson during his
tenure as Director or President of the institution.
information on Series 1.
©2008 James D. Watson Collection, CSHL Archives.All rights reserved
Please consult our Permission
and Copyright Policies for any materials you wish to use.