Catalogue description Papers and correspondence of Emmeline Jean Hanson, 1919-1973

This record is held by King's College London: College Archives

Details of CSAC 51/5/77
Reference: CSAC 51/5/77
Title: Papers and correspondence of Emmeline Jean Hanson, 1919-1973

Throughout the catalogue, but especially in Section G, there are references to the Royal Society Memoir by Sir John Randall, a copy of which is included in Item A.1. Publications are identified by the notation R.S.x - 'x' being the number of the publication in the Bibliography of the Memoir. (See also Item G.30.)


Titles and descriptions in inverted commas are those which appear on the manuscripts.


A. Biographical and personal A.1 - A.8


B. Bedford College, London (lectures, notes, research) B.1 - B.52


C. Laboratory notebooks and working papers C.1 - C.43


D. King's College, London (lectures, research, Biophysics Research Unit) D.1 - D.35


E. Lectures and conferences (unpublished) E.1 - E.46


F. Scientific correspondence F.1 - F.28


G. Publications (including drafts and notes) G.1 - G.30

Date: 1938-1975

By section as follows: Biographical and personal, Bedford College London, Laboratory notebooks and working papers, King's College London, Lectures and conferences, Scientific correspondence, Publications, index of correspondents.

Held by: King's College London: College Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Hanson, Emmeline Jean, 1919-1973, scientist and biophysicist

Access conditions:

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers cover the years 1938-73 and were received from Professor Hanson's scientific executor, Dr. Gerald Offer, whose help in assembling and identifying the material is gratefully acknowledged. The tributes to Jean Hanson in A.2 are included by kind permission of Professor Hugh Huxley.

Administrative / biographical background:

With one important exception, Professor Hanson spent the whole of her career at two Colleges of London University. She entered Bedford College, London, as an undergraduate in 1938 and remained there as a research student and then as Demonstrator in Zoology, 1944-48. In 1948 Sir (then Professor) John Randall invited her to join the staff of the Biophysical Research Unit which he was establishing at King's College, London with funding from the Medical Research Council. Professor Hanson remained at King's, becoming Professor of Biology in 1967 and Director of the Muscle Biophysics Research Unit in 1970, until her death in 1973. Her work at Bedford College is especially well-documented (See introductory note to Section B on p.4) and the laboratory notebooks in Section C span her work at both Colleges.


The only time which Hanson spent away from these two Colleges was the crucial period 1953-54 when she held a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was here, in F.O. Schmitt's laboratory, that she began her collaboration with H.E. Huxley which led to the statement and testing of the sliding filament hypothesis of muscular contraction. (See Items A.2, C.10, C.11 and C.38.)


Hanson's method of work and her combination of meticulous analysis with enthusiasm can be seen in many sections of the collection: in the careful notes, regularly updated, in Sections B and D; in the annotations, ideas for research, comments on current and projected experiments and 'talking on paper' in the laboratory notebooks in Section C; in some of the extensive diary-like letters in Section F (see the introductory note to Section F on p.18); and in the multiple drafts and emendations to papers submitted for publication in Section G.


Summary of the career of Professor Hanson


1919 b. Newhall, Derbyshire


1930-38 educated Girls' High School, Burton on Trent


1941 B.Sc., First Class Honours in Zoology, Bedford College, London


1941-44 Research worker and teaching assistant, Bedford College


1944-48 Demonstrator in Zoology, Bedford College


1948-73 Biophysics Research Unit, King's College, London


1953-54 Rockefeller Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


1967 Professor of Biology, King's College, London


1967 Elected to the Royal Society


1970-73 Director, Muscle Biophysics Research Unit, King's College, London

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