Personal Papers

Part of:
James D. Watson Collection
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The Personal Papers of the James D. Watson Collection is composed of a wide variety of material, including correspondence, manuscripts, laboratory notebooks, teaching files, clippings, reprints and offprints, speeches and lecture notes, memorabilia, financial records, and audiovisual media. This record group comprises the bulk of the James D. Watson Collection.

Watson’s role as an administrator of the Human Genome Project and as an educator at Harvard University is well documented. As is his relationship with the United States government, first as a member of the President’s Scientific Advisory Council during the 1960s, and later as an advisor to the National Cancer Institute.

His scientific career is documented in the Laboratory and Course Notebooks series, as well as the Scientific Meetings and Lectures, Speeches, Interviews series. The Correspondence series contains letters to and from a variety of luminaries from the scientific world.

Watson’s extensive career as a writer is also well documented by the many manuscripts found throughout the papers. Manuscripts for his published works, including The Double Helix; Molecular Biology of the Gene (various editions); Genes, Girls, and Gamow; and Avoid Boring People; are included in the Manuscripts series.

His role as a public advocate for scientific research is also documented by his numerous articles in popular media, as well as speeches, public testimony, lectures, and addresses.



Physical description

433 boxes

Copyright note

Please note that CSHL holds copyright in writings by Watson that are held within Watson's archive in the CSHL Library and Archives, but does not hold copyright in Watson's writings held outside the CSHL Library and Archives. Copyright of material created by persons other than Watson, published or unpublished, is retained by its original author or rightsholder.

Terms of use

Some files have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.

Location of duplicates

A digitised copy is held by the Wellcome Library as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics. Not all series have been digitised.

Where to find it

Location of original

The original material is held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library and Archives. This catalogue is held by the Wellcome Library as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics.

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