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Joshua Lederberg Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS C 552

Abstract

Lederberg won the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Edward Tatum and George Beadle "for his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria." He was professor of genetics at Stanford University, president of Rockfeller University, and public servant to presidents, national groups, and governmental organizations.

Dates

  • 1904-2008

Extent

392.59 Linear Feet (336 boxes + map drawers)

Creator

Abstract

Lederberg won the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Edward Tatum and George Beadle "for his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria." He was professor of genetics at Stanford University, president of Rockfeller University, and public servant to presidents, national groups, and governmental organizations.

Physical Location

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

Access Restrictions

Collection contains restricted material. Contact the Reference Staff for information regarding access.

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

Joshua Lederberg was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on May 23, 1925, the oldest of three sons of Zvi Lederberg, an orthodox rabbi, and Esther Schulman, a homemaker and descendent of a long line of rabbinical scholars. His parents had emigrated from Palestine the year before. Lederberg's family moved to the Washington Heights area of upper Manhattan when he was six months old. Zvi Lederberg originally envisioned that his son would pursue a religious calling as well. Despite his Old Testament name, however, Joshua felt drawn to science at an early age, stating in a homework assignment at age seven that his career aspiration was to become "like Einstein," to "discover a few theories in science." Father and son later reached agreement that science, like religious study, offered a path towards enlightenment and truth, and was thus a worthy pursuit.

According to his own recollection, Lederberg was guided throughout his life by "an unswerving interest in science, as the means by which man could strive for an understanding of his origin, setting and purpose, and for power to forestall his natural fate of hunger, disease and death." Meyer Bodansky's Introduction to Physiological Chemistry (1934) was his most prized Bar-Mitzvah present, the Washington Heights branch of the New York Public Library his sanctuary during adolescent years in which, by his own admission, he was lonely for "intellectual sparring partners." There he read hundreds of works in the sciences, mathematics, history, philosophy, and fiction, among them Paul de Kruif's The Microbe Hunters (1926), a book that portrayed the work of early bacteriologists like Pasteur and Koch as a heroic quest for human betterment. As Lederberg remembered, the book "turned my entire generation toward a career in medical research."

Lederberg finally found academic peers at Stuyvesant High School, a public school that specialized in science and technology and was open by competitive entrance examination to talented students (only male at the time) from all parts of New York City. If he had earlier sought to emulate Einstein, at Stuyvesant he completed his reorientation towards biology. He conducted his first experiments at the school, in cytochemistry, the study of the structural relationships and interactions of cellular components.

After graduation from Stuyvesant at age fifteen, he continued his experiments at the American Institute Science Laboratory, an offspring of the 1939 New York World's Fair and a forerunner of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, which provided selected high school students (including fellow future Nobel laureate Baruch Blumberg) laboratory space and equipment. In facilities located in the shadow of the Empire State Building Lederberg learned to prepare and stain tissue samples by using formaldehyde, dyes, and other chemicals, techniques required to preserve and make visible the details of cell structure for study under the microscope. During these experiments he became interested in the cytochemistry of the nucleolus in plant cells, part of the cell nucleus rich in ribosomal nucleic acid. This was Lederberg's first foray into the study of the nucleic acids.

Lederberg took advantage of a $400 scholarship to enroll as a zoology major at Columbia University in the fall of 1941, where he met his most important mentor, the biochemist Francis J. Ryan. Ryan, a gifted teacher, encouraged Lederberg in his self-described "passion to learn how to bring the power of chemical analysis to the secrets of life," and introduced him to the red bread mold, Neurospora, as an important new experimental system in the emerging field of biochemical genetics. Ryan also instilled discipline in his precocious student, a trait much needed, as Ryan's widow remembered: "You could tell that Joshua was in the lab because you could hear the tinkle of breaking glass. He was so young, bursting with potential over which he had no control. His mind was far ahead of his hands."

Lederberg's career goal was to bring advances in basic science to medical problems such as cancer and neurological malfunction. At the time, an MD was the conventional pedigree for entry into biomedical research. In pursuit of a medical degree, and to discharge his military service obligation at the same time, Lederberg in 1943 enrolled in the United States Navy's V-12 training program, which combined an accelerated premedical and medical curriculum to fulfill the armed services' projected need for medical officers. He performed his military training duties as a hospital corpsman during periodic stints in the clinical pathology laboratory at St. Albans Naval Hospital on Long Island, where he examined stool and blood specimen of servicemen recently returned from the Guadalcanal campaign for the parasites that cause malaria. His first-hand experience with parasites at St. Albans helped shape his later thinking about the life cycle of bacteria.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in zoology in 1944, Lederberg began his medical training at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Although research was not encouraged among first-year medical students, he continued to do experiments under Ryan's supervision. Columbia's zoology department had been "ignited," said Lederberg, by news of Oswald Avery's discovery that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was the genetic material, in Pneumococcus bacteria. Inspired by Avery, Lederberg decided to investigate further the genetics of bacteria, and specifically to challenge the common but unproven assumption that bacteria were "schizomycetes," primitive organisms that reproduced by cell division and thus produced offspring that were genetically indistinguishable from one another.

After initial failures in his experiments Lederberg proposed a collaboration with Edward L. Tatum at Yale University, who had been Ryan's post-doctoral adviser and who was an expert in bacteriology and the genetics of microorganisms. During a year-long leave of absence from medical school in 1946, Lederberg carried out experiments with the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli which demonstrated that certain strains of bacteria can undergo a sexual stage, that they mate and exchange genes. This discovery, and the methods used to make it, had far-reaching scientific and medical implications. First, Lederberg demonstrated that successive generations of those bacteria that mate were genetically distinct and therefore suitable for genetic analysis. Secondly, he created a new understanding of how bacteria evolve and acquire new properties, including antibiotic resistance.

Buoyed by his success, Lederberg decided to extend his collaboration with Tatum for another year in order to begin mapping the E. coli chromosome, to show the exact locations of its genes. With Tatum's support he submitted his research on genetic recombination in bacteria as his doctoral thesis. He received his PhD degree from Yale in 1947.

Only days before his scheduled return to medical school at Columbia, Lederberg, then barely 22, received an offer of an assistant professorship in genetics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Tatum's alma mater. (Lederbergs initial 1947 application to the institution was questioned due to his religious beliefs. University officials were concerned he would have difficulty acclimating to Wisconsin because he was Jewish. For an in-depth account of the controversy surrounding Lederbergs recruitment consult the essay by Susan McDonough located in the appendix.) He accepted, despite misgivings about abandoning medicine, because the appointment offered a unique opportunity to pursue basic genetic research full-time. Over the next twelve years, Lederberg and his wife, Esther Zimmer, a microbiologist herself, together with a handful of postgraduate students, most notably Norton Zinder, published a steady stream of original experimental results from a small laboratory in the genetics department, then part of the university's School of Agriculture. The most important of these was the discovery of viral transduction, the ability of viruses that infect bacteria to transfer snippets of DNA from one infected bacterium to another and insert them into the latter's genome. The use of viruses in manipulating bacterial genomes became the basis of genetic engineering in the 1970s.

Scientific prominence brought with it administrative responsibility. In 1957, Lederberg helped found and became chairman of a new Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, one of the first such departments in the country. Following his early ambition to tie genetics closely to medical research, Lederberg in the fall of 1958 accepted an offer to become the first chairman of the newly-established Department of Genetics at Stanford University's School of Medicine, a medical school more broadly oriented towards research than Wisconsin's. His decision to move to Palo Alto was followed within days by news that he had been awarded a share of the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Tatum and George W. Beadle, "for his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria."

At Stanford Lederberg continued to lead research in bacterial genetics. He also pursed opportunities his new position provided to relate genetics to the wider context of human health and biology. He helped institute an undergraduate human biology curriculum, and launched investigations into the genetic and neurological basis of mental retardation as director of Stanford's Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Laboratories for Molecular Medicine.

His fame as a Nobel laureate made it possible for him to broaden his field of scientific interests even further. The launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellite in 1958 prompted him to consider the biological implications and hazards of space exploration. Lederberg gained a place for biologists in the burgeoning U.S. space program when he publicly warned against the dangers of contamination of the moon and of other planets by spacecraft carrying microbes from earth. He explored the possibility of extraterrestrial life as a member of National Academy of Sciences' Space Science Board from 1958 to 1974, and helped develop instruments to detect potential traces of microbes on Mars as part of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's 1975 Viking mission to the planet.

Lederberg's role in constructing fully automated laboratory equipment for research in space led him in turn to embark on another new pursuit: expanding the role of computers in scientific research. In collaboration with the chairman of Stanford's computer science department, Edward Feigenbaum, Lederberg in the 1960s developed DENDRAL, a computer program designed to generate hypotheses about the atomic composition of unknown chemical compounds from spectrometric and other laboratory data. It was the first expert system for specialized use in science.

Throughout his scientific career Lederberg sought to bring science to bear on matters of public policy, particularly national security and arms control, as a member of several government advisory committees, such as the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, on which he has served since 1979. He worked to bridge the gap between scientists and the public, most prominently by writing a weekly editorial column on science and society for the Washington Post between 1966 and 1971.

In 1978 Lederberg returned to the city of his youth as President of Rockefeller University on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Over the next twelve years he reinvigorated the free-standing, non-departmental laboratories of which the University is made up by refocusing them on molecular biology research with clear medical applications for heart disease, cancer, neurological illness, and infectious diseases. He became University Professor Emeritus and Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Scholar in 1990, when he resumed his own research into the chemistry and evolution of DNA and into computer modeling of scientific reasoning. He continues to advise government and lecture widely about developments in science as they relate to public policy and public health, in particular about the threat of bioterrorism and of both new and reemerging infectious diseases.

Among other honors, Lederberg was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1957, Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London in 1979, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982. He received the U.S. National Medal of Science in 1989, and the Allen Newell Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1995. He holds honorary doctoral degrees in medicine from the University of Turin in Italy and from Tufts University, in law from the University of Pennsylvania, and in philosophy from Tel Aviv University. Lederberg has published over 300 scientific and policy-related articles and is the editor of several books, including Papers in Microbial Genetics: Bacteria and Bacterial Viruses (1951), Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States (1992), and Biological Weapons: Limiting the Threat (1999).

Joshua Lederberg died of pneumonia on February 2, 2008 at age 82.

BRIEF CHRONOLOGY

1925
Joshua Lederberg born May 23 in Montclair, New Jersey, to Zvi Hirsch Lederberg, a rabbi, and Esther Goldenbaum Lederberg, a homemaker
1938-41
Attends Stuyvesant High School, a selective science and technology school in Manhattan
1941-44
Undergraduate studies at Columbia University, leading to a BA in zoology. Examines genetics of Neurospora (a common bread mold) with Professor Francis J. Ryan
1943-45
Military service in the U.S. Naval Reserve's V-12 program, a compressed premedical and medical curriculum, at St. Albans Naval Hospital, Long Island
1944-46
Medical Student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and research assistant in Professor Ryan's zoology laboratory
1946-47
Research Fellow at Yale University with Professor Edward L. Tatum. Discovers mating and genetic recombination in the bacterium Escherichia coli, making E. coli available as an experimental organism for genetic research. Receives his PhD from Yale with a thesis on his discovery
1947-59
Professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin. Conducts research in the genetics of E. coli and Salmonella as well as on antibody formation. Discovers and names plasmids, particles of DNA in bacterial cells that replicate separately from chromosomal DNA
1951
Discovers, with Norton Zinder, the exchange of genetic material in bacteria through viral vectors, a process he calls transduction. Their discovery has important applications in bacterial genetics and biotechnology
1957-59
Founder and chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin
1950-1998
Member of various panels of the President's Science Advisory Committee
1957
Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
1958
Shares Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Tatum and George W. Beadle "for his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria"
1958-77
Investigates the possibility of life on other planets and of interplanetary contamination as a member of several National Academy of Sciences and NASA committees on space biology, and as organizer of the Instrumentation Research Laboratory at Stanford
1959-78
Founder and chairman of the Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine. Begins research in the genetics of Bacillus subtilis (1959) and in splicing and recombining DNA (1969)
1961-62
Member of President John F. Kennedy's Panel on Mental Retardation
1964
Together with computer scientist Edward A. Feigenbaum Lederberg launches DENDRAL, a computer program designed to emulate inductive reasoning in chemistry and medicine through Artificial Intelligence
1966-71
Publishes "Science and Man," a weekly column on science, society, and public policy in the Washington Post
1969-72
Consultant to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during negotiations for the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva
1973-78
Helps establish SUMEX-AIM, a nationwide time-share computer network hosting biomedical research projects via the ARPANET
1976
U.S. Viking I and Viking II spacecraft explore Mars with the help of instruments for soil analysis designed by Lederberg and his associates at the Instrumentation Research Laboratory. The spacecraft find no clear signs of life
1978-90
President of Rockefeller University in New York City, a graduate university specializing in biomedical research
1979-81
Advisor to President Jimmy Carter on cancer research as chairman of the President's Cancer Panel
1979-present
Trustee of the Sackler Medical School, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, the Carnegie Corporation, New York, and other academic, research, and environmental institutions. Member of the U.S. Defense Science Board, which advises the Secretary of Defense on scientific developments affecting the military and national security
1989
Awarded the National Medal of Science by President George H. W. Bush
1990-present
Professor emeritus and Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Scholar at Rockefeller University
1994
Heads Defense Department Task Force on Persian Gulf War Health Effects, which concludes that there is insufficient epidemiological evidence for a coherent Gulf War "syndrome"
2005
Lederberg continues to conduct laboratory research on bacterial and human genetics, and to advise government and industry on global health policy, biological warfare, and the threat of bioterrorism
2008
Joshua Lederberg, age 82, dies February 2 of pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Honorary Degrees

1960
Yale University
1967
Columbia University
1967
University of Wisconsin
1969
University of Turin
1970
Yeshiva University
1979
Jewish Theology Seminary.
1979
Mt. Sinai College
1979
University of Pennsylvania
1981
Rutgers University
1984
New York University
1985
Tufts University
1991
Tel-Aviv University
1998
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)

Distinctions

1957
National Academy of Sciences, U.S.
1958
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (for studies on organization of the genetic material in bacteria)
1961
Alexander Hamilton Award, Columbia University
1961
Wilbur Cross Medal, Yale University
1961
Sigma Xi, Procter Medal
1979
Royal Society of London
1980
New York Academy of Sciences, Honorary Life member
1981
New York Academy of Medicine, Honorary Fellow
1982
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow
1982
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow
1982
American Philosophical Society, Fellow
1983
Honorary Member AOA (medical honorary society)
1984
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Centennial award
1988
Columbia P and S Distinguished Service Medal
1989
US National Medal of Science
1993
Academie Universelle des Cultures, Founding Member
1993
Commandeur, L'ordre des arts et des lettres (France)
1995
Association for Computing Machinery, Allen Newell Award
1996
New York Academy of Medicine, John Stearns Award for Lifetime Achievement
1997
New York City, Mayor's award in Science and Technology
1997
National Foundation Infectious Diseases, Maxwell Finland Award

Military Service

1943-45
US Navy (V-12 and Hospital Corps; Ens. USNR)

Public Service

1950-
President's Science Advisory Committee panels
1950-
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
1950-
National Science Foundation study sections (genetics)
1950-
Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)
1958-1977
National Academy of Sciences committees on space biology
1960-1977
NASA committees; Lunar and Planetary Missions Board
1961-1962
President (Kennedy)'s Panel on Mental Retardation
1966-1971
(Washington Post Syndicate) "Science and Man," Columnist
1967-1971
National Institute of Mental Health, National Mental Health Advisory Council
1970-1973
US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Consultant
1971-1976;1993-
World Health Organization, Advisory Committee for Medical Research
1972-
Annual Reviews, Inc. (1976- Chairman, Board of Trustees)
1972-1984
Natural Resources Defense Council, Board of Trustees
1975-1981
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University., Board of Directors
1978-1980
National Academy Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Council
1978-
Charles Babbage Institute (Computing History) Minneapolis, Minn., Board of Directors.
1979-1980;1984-1986
New York Institute of Humanities, Fellow
1979-1981
President's Cancer Panel, Chairman
1979-
Cornell Medical College, N.Y., Adjunct Professor of Genetics
1979-
Sackler Medical School, Tel-Aviv University., Israel, Trustee
1979-
US Defense Science Board.
1980-
Chemical Industry Institute for Toxicology: Research Triangle Park, NC., Board of Directors
1981-1987
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Board Sponsors
1981-
United States Navy: Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel
1983-
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, N.Y., Trustee
1984-1987
Clean Sites, Inc., Washington, Trustee
1984-1987
Conservation Foundation, Washington, DC, Trustee
1985-1988
New York City Partnership, Director
1985-1993
Carnegie Corporation, New York City, Trustee
1985-1995
Council of Scholars, US Library of Congress
1985-
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) - Science Advisory to International Center Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
1986-
Corporation. For National Research Initiatives, Washington, DC, Director
1986-1993
Revson Foundation, New York City, Trustee
1987-1988
Commission on Integrated Long Range Strategy
1988-1993
Carnegie Corporation: Chair, Commission on Science, Technology and Government
1988-1993
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, Trustee
1988-1995
Member, Chair Technology Assessment Advisory Council, OTA, US Congress
1989-1998
Council on Foreign Relations, NY, Director
1990-1994
US Secretary of Energy, Advisory Board, Member
1990-1996
American Type Culture Collection. Washington, DC, Trustee
1990-
Columbia University, Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences
1991-
Stanford University, Consulting Professor of Computer Science
1993-1996
Soros Foundation/International Science Foundation - FSU, Advisory Board
1993-1997
NIH, Advisory Committee to the Director
1993-1997
Risk Assessment and Management Commission
1995-1998
Federal Bureau of Investigation, DNA Advisory Board chair
1998-
Center for International Security, Stanford, Senior Associate
1998-
Weizmann Institute, Rehovoth, Israel, Board of Governors

Collection Summary

Correspondence, reports, research material, published writings, photographs, committee meeting minutes, electronic records, and audiovisual material document the academic, biomedical research, and public service career of Joshua Lederberg.

Lederberg's papers are detailed and extensive. From the start of his career, Lederberg retained his records in a rudimentary organizational arrangement, with the hope they would be preserved for posterity. Many of the series and sub-series are interconnected. Correspondents and information about the many organizations Lederberg was involved with reappear throughout the collection. There is a large amount of correspondence of both a professional and personal nature; however, the collection does not contain a significant amount of biographical resources, such as correspondence between family members. The exception to this is a small number of letters from Lederberg's brother, Seymour Lederberg, found in Series 3: Correspondence, CD sub-series.

In 1945, Lederberg took a research position with Edward Tatum at Yale University where he conducted the research on E. coli bacteria recombination that resulted in the Nobel Prize. The collection is rich in documentation of this discovery. Series 4: Gentics Research contains Lederberg's original lab notebooks and class notes from his time at Yale University, as a graduate student at Columbia University, his University of Wisconsin experiments with bacteria recombination that won him the Nobel Prize, and material from his involvement in the creation of Stanford University's Department of Genetics. There are reprints, notes and correspondence in Series 5: Writing, Published Writings (P Files) sub-series which pertain to Lederberg's research results from his time at the Tatum lab. There are also unpublished manuscripts, in the Unpublished Manuscripts (Q Files) sub-series, prepared in collaboration with his first wife, Esther Lederberg, describing further experiments with E. coli.

Information about Lederberg's academic teaching career at both Wisconsin and Stanford can be found in the form of notes, correspondence, reports, manuscripts, and other material in Series 2: Academic Career. Between the time Lederberg graduated from Yale and received the Nobel Prize, he applied for and accepted a professorship from the University of Wisconsin. During his years at Wisconsin, Lederberg continued his research, which led to his receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at Melbourne University in 1957. Upon returning to the United States, Lederberg decided to leave Wisconsin to develop and head the new genetics department at Stanford University in 1959.

While at Stanford, Lederberg moved away from pure research and teaching to take on more administrative duties within the university. He served on tenure committees and designed curricula for the department. It was also during this period that Lederberg's involvement in private and government organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Academy of Science, President's (Kennedy) Panel on Mental Retardation, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Science (CASBS) surpassed his research activities. Series 8: Public Service is the main source of information on these activities, however records from many of these organizations also appear throughout the collection, notably in Series 2 through 7. Series 8 includes correspondence, individual histories, reports, manuscripts, and news clippings describing the organizations and Lederberg's role in them. Several of the sub-series comprise mini-archival collections for the organizations they document. Included are background information such as brochures, historical manuscripts, and other primary source material. Depending on Lederberg's level of involvement, there are semi-complete records of meeting minutes, correspondence, membership lists, drafts, and published reports. This series differs from Series 9: Consulting Work in that the organizations documented in Consulting Work paid for Lederberg's services while those in Public Service did not.

As his extracurricular activities expanded, Lederberg widened the scope of his interests by applying his scientific knowledge to the then emerging U.S. space program. Lederberg developed his interest in space exploration in the late 1950s and early 1960s in reaction to the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite. He wanted to increase the scientific influence on this new field and prevent the politicization of space exploration. He served on many NASA committees and his interest would lead to the development of exobiology as a scientific discipline. The Exobiology series documents this subject through correspondence, reports, articles, and meeting minutes. Lederberg would aslo become an expert advisor on bioterrorism to the U.S. military in the 1990s-2000s. Both these activities are documented in Series 8: Public Service.

Series 5: Computer Science Research, documents Lederberg's interest in still another new discipline while at Stanford. This series documents his collaborative roles in developing SUMEX (Stanford University Medical EXperimental Computer), a nationwide time-share computer network hosting biomedical research projects via the ARPANET, and DENDRAL (Dendritic Algorithm), the first medical expert computer system designed to generate hypotheses about the atomic composition of unknown chemical compounds. The series includes drafts, correspondence, reports, grant applications, and manuals.

Sereis 7: Writings, documents Lederberg's prolific professional and general audience scientific writing, reporting, and speaking activities. The series contains original articles, drafts, correspondence, and research material. If particular note is Lederberg's "Science and Man" column (the SAM sub-series), a weekly scientific column he wrote for the Washington Post from 1966-1971 in which he commented on political and social concerns from a scientific perspective. The sub-series contains a complete run of the column.

Lederberg left Stanford to become president of Rockefeller University in 1978. Correspondence, committee meeting minutes, and other printed material documents this career transition in the Rockefeller University sub-series of Series 2: Academic Career, as well as Series 3: Correspondence, sub-series CE, CF, and Chronological.

Provenance

Gift, Joshua Lederberg, in multiple accessions between 1998-2009. A custom accessioning system was used separate from other AMMP acquisitions.

Alternate Forms Available

Portions of the Collection have been digitized and are available at: https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov.

General

Processed by
Caris Brown, Kim Dixon, Greg Pike, Erica Haakensen, Eleanor Lynch
Encoded by
Caris Brown, Michele Tourney, Erica Haakensen
Processing completed
May 2005, Oct 2008, 2010

Processing Information

Digitization

Documents from the collection appearing on the National Library of Medicine website, Profiles in Science (http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/), are wrapped by a Mylar band and a paper marker. The marker provides the UI or "unique identifier" for individual documents. The UI is a series of letters assigned to each scanned document used for tracking purposes in the metadata system.

In several series two different approaches are present. Documents that were not scanned are segregated with a note inserted indicating why. These groups were encased in whole sheets of Mylar. It should be noted that the older system destroyed the original order of these items. Some documents originally appearing together were separated when one section was earmarked for scanning while the other was not. Infrequently the reverse method was also employed; scanned items are encased in Mylar instead. As time permitted these Mylar sleeves were removed; however, some still remain interspersed throughout the collection.

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Title
Finding Aid to the Joshua Lederberg Papers, 1904-2008
Status
Unverified Partial Draft
Author
Caris Brown, Kim Dixon, Greg Pike, Erica Haakensen, Eleanor Lynch
Date
May 2005, Oct 2008, 2010
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latn
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement
2.0

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

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