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Pope A. Lawrence Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS C 539

Abstract

The collection documents the varied research and policy-making career of this environmental health specialist with the U.S. Department of Heath, Education and Welfare and the Public Health Service. His papers contain a wealth of primary source research materials and scientific data related to: environmental and industrial hygiene; radon activity; use of beryllium as a rocket propellant; uranium mining; and toxicological, biological and chemical weapon systems.

Dates

  • 1924-1983

Extent

14.5 Linear Feet (34 boxes + oversize)

Creator

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Access Restrictions

Portions of the collection are restricted according to HMD's Access to Health Information of Individuals policy. Contact the Reference Staff for information regarding access. For access to the policy and application form, please visit https://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/manuscripts/phi.pdf.

Copyright and Re-use Information

Donor's copyrights were transferred to the public domain. Archival collections often contain mixed copyrights; while NLM is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. It is the user's responsibility to research and understand any applicable copyright and re-publication rights not allowed by fair use. NLM does not grant permissions to publish.

Privacy Information

Archives and manuscript collections may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in any collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which the National Library of Medicine assumes no responsibility.

Biographical Note

Pope A. Lawrence was born in 1912 in Yorktown, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, completing a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering and Colloid Chemistry. Lawrence's interest in engineering led him to Harvard University, where he fulfilled the requirements for a Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene Engineering. His academic training in chemistry, biology, physical science and industrial hygiene prepared him for a number of duties with the U.S. Public Health Service as a commissioned officer. It was during this time, that he was assigned to Texas, New Mexico and Utah state health departments from 1942-1952, investigating issues on industrial and environmental health. During 1952-1961, he supervised a fifteen-year study on the health of American uranium miners for the National Cancer Institute. He also served as a specialist consultant in the areas of chemical warfare, industrial emissions of toxic chemicals (i.e., lead, gases, mercury arsenic, beryllium) while serving in the Office of the Surgeon General (1962-1964). While with the Office of the Surgeon General, he entered the EPA's Air Pollution Control Program to provide expertise on the control of hazardous materials associated with federal activities in high energy propellants and toxic weapons systems. As a scientist, he approached his projects with a methodical and research oriented background in highlight the health and safety hazards on the American worker. The federal government was concerned about these issues raised by the public and by the workers, encouraging Lawrence to become instrumental in helping to research and develop alternative ways to control these matters. As a result, he and his team of experts helped to write policies that would later impact on legislative decisions in state and federal areas to improve the safety and health issues of the American laborer.

Lawrence was a member of several professional affiliations and served on the boards of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

Collection Summary

Correspondence, field studies, reports, scientific data, photographs, maps, and publications (1924-1983; 14.5 l.f.) document the varied research and policy-making career of Pope A. Lawrence, an environmental health scientist with the Public Health Service (PHS) and the Environmental Health Agency (EPA). His papers contain a wealth of primary source research materials and scientific data related to: environmental and industrial hygiene; radon activity; use of beryllium as a rocket propellant; uranium mining; and toxicological, biological and chemical weapon systems, primarily from the 1950s through the 1970s, especially as related to America's atomic age federal policy. Included in this collection are personal letters to and from his children discussing their academic aspirations; the exhibit of parental advice on their decisions, as well as handwritten letters to and from colleagues sharing career plans and employment promotions. The collection is evidence of the high-importance federal government scientists/researchers placed on ensuring effective implementation of pertinent provisions of the Clean Air Act (1963) and their work for the abatement or control of environmental and workplace pollution.

The Correspondence and Air Pollution Control Office series comprise the bulk of the collection's research potential. The Correspondence series reveals Lawrence's abilities as an administrator and his communication skills in relating with sister agencies in the PHS and other similar state agencies (state health Departments in Texas, New Mexico and Utah); the National Cancer Institute (NIH Field Investigations and Demonstrations Branch); and as Chief of the EPA's Federal Agencies Section, Abatement Branch, Division of Air Pollution. This series also illuminates federal activities and programs involving the Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Armed Services Explosives Safety Board. Lawrence's correspondence files also record his service as liaison representative to the Committee on Toxicology, reviewing plans to demilitarize and develop safe methods of disposing chemical and biological weapon systems waste (see Series 2: Correspondence, 1942-1978 and Series 3: Air Pollution Control Office, 1949-1983, Beryllium As Rock Propellant sub-series).

Series 3 also documents the most significant portion of Lawrence's professional career as an administrator and policy chief for a 10 year, fifteen state research project involving respiratory cancer. Its goal was to identify specific types of cancer deaths due to oral and pulmonary cancer and recommend strategies for reducing the spread of these cancers through workplace and environmental improvements. The field studies were made using veterans who smoked, uranium mining and mill workers, railroad workers, firemen and diesel workers, occupational and industrial workers. Uranium mining was the primary focus of this research. The "Uranium Miner's Study" subseries contains much of the original field research and administrative work, whereas the later "Uranium Mining" subseries documents the ongoing post-study analysis and broader reporting and research activities with which Lawrence was involved.

Complementing the series are photographic slides and twenty-four geographical survey maps of the United States that detail the field study areas used in the ten-year study on respiratory cancer. The maps reflect the work of several federal agencies involved in developing environmental standards and implementing guidelines for the contamination cleanup and restoration of land areas, national park areas, industrial areas, and polluted air. The maps of uranium deposit locations correspond with the field studies presented by Lawrence and other scientists involved in that research.

This collection also documents his participation at conferences and making scientific presentations highlighting many preventive measures on environmental, industrial and occupational fronts that had potential damaging affect on the lives and health conditions of American workers. His work became central in the federal government establishing legislative policy in its accountability to the American public.

Abstract

The collection documents the varied research and policy-making career of this environmental health specialist with the U.S. Department of Heath, Education and Welfare and the Public Health Service. His papers contain a wealth of primary source research materials and scientific data related to: environmental and industrial hygiene; radon activity; use of beryllium as a rocket propellant; uranium mining; and toxicological, biological and chemical weapon systems.

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Provenance

Gift, Mrs. Pope Lawrence and Ms. Susan Volkmar, 11/13/1989 and 10/17/1990, Acc. #623/652.

General

Processed by
Z. Netosh Jones and John P. Rees
Processing Completed
June 2004
Encoded by
John P. Rees
Title
Finding Aid to the Pope A. Lawrence Papers, 1924-1983
Status
Unverified Partial Draft
Author
Z. Netosh Jones and John P. Rees
Date
November 2004
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latn
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement
1.0

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

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