Catalogue description Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of JOHN RANDAL BAKER, FRS (1900-1984)

This record is held by Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections

Details of CSAC 69/7/79
Reference: CSAC 69/7/79
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of JOHN RANDAL BAKER, FRS (1900-1984)





A. Cytology A.1 - A.52


B. Histochemistry B.1 - B.14


C. Microscopy and microtechnique C.1 - C.43




Dr. Baker was Reader in Cytology at the University of Oxford; he lectured regularly on several aspects of the subject and conducted research in cytological technique and the practical possibilities of different types of microscopy, with particular reference to the phase contrast and later the electron microscope. This material forms the bulk of the present collection and covers lectures and practical classes given to members of the university from 1928 to 1969, and the research data on which they were based. The lectures, which are all in longhand, show evidence of frequent and extensive revision, as do the duplicated typescript sheets for distribution in practical classes. In addition, the laboratory notebooks indicate very carefully the aims, techniques, methods and results of Dr.Baker's research, and experiments are frequently accompanied by reflections on the results, memoranda for alterations and revisions, or notes of new ideas to be tested and incorporated. Although many of the lectures are written out in full, Dr. Baker did not use the full text in the lecture room, but spoke from very short notes without using any memorized phrases.


After his retirement, Dr. Baker continued his research and lecturing, especially on electron microscopy. Item C.24 is a set of lectures for graduates on the construction and operation of the electron microscope, delivered in 1968 and 1969, while item C.25 is an experimental one-day course in electron microscopy for undergraduates, which he gave in 1969.


There are no correspondence files as such, but Dr. Baker kept a few letters of immediate scientific relevance with the papers to which they refer: see A.45, C.15, C.27.


Item D.1 consists of the autograph ms. of chapter 23 of Dr. Baker's book Race (London, 1974).


Compiled by Jeannine Alton and Julia Latham-Jackson

Date: 1928-1970
Related material:

Dr. Baker currently retains the rest of his scientific papers which include some 60 laboratory notebooks and the diaries kept during scientific expeditions to the New Hebrides which he made in 1922-23, 1927 and as leader in 1933-34, as well as correspondence about the Society for Freedom in Science (S.F.S.) which he co-founded with Michael Polanyi and Sir Arthur Tansley, and which he served as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer throughout its existence (1940-1960).


He also holds personal and family papers, some of military interest. 8 bound volumes of correspondence and papers relating to the Indian Mutiny, Ashanti Campaign, Egyptian Campaign of 1882, and other military campaigns of General Sir Archibald Alison, Bart. (Dr. Baker's maternal grandfather) are already deposited in the Bodleian Library (shelf-marks: Ms. Eng. Lett. C.448 - 452, D.419 - 20, E.151).

Held by: Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Baker, John Randal, 1900-1984, scientist and cytologist

Physical description: 4 series, 110 files
Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were received from Dr. Baker in 1977 when he removed from his house in Oxford to smaller premises.

  • Cell biology
Administrative / biographical background:





1908 - 16 Educated at Boxgrove School, Guildford


1918 - 22 New College, Oxford


1923 - 55 Demonstrator in Zoology, Oxford University


1923 m. Inezita Davis


1933 - 34 Leader, Oxford University Expedition to New Hebrides


1938 DSc. (Oxon)


1939 m. Mrs Helen Savage


1940 Founder member, Society for Freedom in Science


(Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, 1940 - 60)


1946 - 64 Joint Editor, Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science


1955 - 67 Reader in Cytology, Oxford University


1958 Fellow of the Royal Society


1964 - 67 Professorial Fellow, New College, Oxford


1964 - 65 President, Royal Microscopical Society (Hon. Fellow 1968)


1968 Reader Emeritus in Cytology, Oxford University

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research