Nobel Prize Winners in the Wellcome Library

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By | From the Collections

The award of the Nobel Prizes for 2009 has recently been in the news. Collections in Archives and Manuscripts in the Wellcome Library include the catalogued and available material of over a dozen Nobel Laureates from 1902 onwards, varying from a few letters or research notebooks to very extensive collections of personal papers:

  • Henri Becquerel (1852-1908), physics, 1903 (MS.8642)
  • Professor Sir Ernst Boris Chain (1906-1979), medicine, 1945 (PP/EBC)
  • Francis Harry Compton Crick (1916-2004), physiology and medicine, 1962 (PP/CRI)
  • Marie Curie (1867-1934), physics, 1903, chemistry, 1911 (MSS.19781979, MS.7811)
  • Sir Henry Hallett Dale (1875-1968), physiology and medicine, 1936 (PP/HHD, MS.8552, WF)
  • Prince Louis Victor de Broglie (1892-1987), physics, 1929 (MSS.1359 – 1361)
  • Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), medicine, 1908 (PP/EHR)
  • Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), medicine, 1945 (MS.7809)
  • Professor Archibald Vivian Hill (1886-1977), physiology and medicine, 1922 (GC/74)
  • Sir Peter Brian Medawar (1915-1987), physiology/medicine, 1960 (PP/PBM)
  • Élie (Ilya) Ilyich Metchnikoff (1845-1916), medicine, 1908 (MS.7311)
  • Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932), medicine, 1902 (GC/59, MS.7495)
  • Dr Frederick Sanger (b. 1918), chemistry, 1958, 1980 (SA/BIO/P)

Information on Nobel winners can also be found among institutional records.

  • The membership of the Physiological Society (SA/PHY) included 14 Nobel Laureates.
  • The records of the Biochemical Society (SA/BIO) include, besides a substantial collection of Frederick Sanger material, items on other Nobel Laureate members.
  • The records of the Wellcome Foundation (WF) include material on the several members of staff who were awarded the Nobel Prize.

There is often also correspondence with Laureates, about nominations of specific individuals, and with the Nobel Academy in other collections of personal papers and records of organisations. The papers of Ronald Hare (PP/HAR), who wrote on the discovery of penicillin, and of Robert Gwyn Macfarlane (PP/RGM), who published biographies of Sir Alexander Fleming and Sir Howard Florey, include a substantial amount of material on these Laureates of 1945 in physiology and medicine.

Further information on these holdings can be found via the searchable online catalogue of Archives and Manuscripts.

Lesley Hall

Lesley Hall

Lesley Hall, FRHistS, PhD, DipAA, has been an archivist at the Wellcome since 1979. She has published extensively on the history of sexuality and gender in Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, given many talks and conference presentations, and featured on radio and television. Further details can be found at her website.

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