Catalogue description Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Sir Frank George Young FRS (1908-1988), biochemist

This record is held by Cambridge University Library: Department of Archives and Modern Manuscripts

Details of NCUACS 97.2.01
Reference: NCUACS 97.2.01
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Sir Frank George Young FRS (1908-1988), biochemist
Description:

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 

SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL NCUACS 97.2.01/A.1-A.69

 

SECTION B UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE NCUACS 97.2.01/B.1-B.52

 

SECTION C RESEACH NCUACS 97.2.01/C.1-C.106

 

SECTION D PUBLICATIONS NCUACS 97.2.01/D.1-D.63

 

SECTION E LECTURES AND SPEECHES NCUACS 97.2.01/E.1-E.88

 

SECTION F SOCIETIES AND ORGANISATIONS NCUACS 97.2.01/F.1-F.331

 

SECTION G VISITS AND CONFERENCES NCUACS 97.2.01/G.1-G.26

 

SECTION H CORRESPONDENCE NCUACS 97.2.01/H.1-H.147

 

The material is presented in the order given in the List of Contents. It covers the period 1913-1988. Much of the material, particularly Young's research papers, was found in very poor condition and preliminary conservation work notwithstanding, significant quantities of material could not be preserved and had to be discarded. Much of what has been retained requires careful handling as many documents are in a fragile condition.

 

Section A, Biographical, includes a little autobiographical material including full curricula vitae. There is considerable material relating to Young's knighthood, chiefly letters of congratulation. The section also includes a little family material, some personal correspondence and material relating to Young's historical interests.

 

Section B, University of Cambridge, is disappointing given Young's contributions to the Department of Biochemistry, the development of medicine in Cambridge and his Mastership of Darwin College. It includes documentation of Young's teaching in the Department of Biochemistry, some departmental administration material and a little material relating to the development of the Clinical School and to arrangements for his post-retirement research. His involvement with the Medical Research Council's Dunn Nutrition Unit is documented, including his service on the Unit's Ethical Committee.

 

Section C, Research, presents uneven coverage of Young's research from 1929 to the 1970s, presented in a broadly chronological order. The bulk of the material relates to Young's work on the cause and mechanism of diabetes, a line of research he began under J.J.R. Mcleod at Aberdeen and then C.H. Best at the University of Toronto. Running from 1958 to 1975 is an incomplete sequence of numbered experiments 1-607, relating to work on the relationship between growth hormone and diabetes. These were performed by D.C. Gardiner, an assistant in the Department of Biochemistry working under Young.

 

Section D, Publications, offers only partial coverage of Young's publications from 1938 to 1982. Documentation of Young's published scientific work, in particular, is disappointing; the section is dominated by material relating to Young and C.N. Hales's 1982 Royal Society Biographical Memoir of C.H. Best. The section also includes sets of Young's offprints.

 

Section E, Lectures and speeches, covers Young's public and invitation lectures and speeches 1936-1977 and n.d. Young was frequently invited to lecture and some of his lectures were subsequently published. He was also a sought-after speaker at social functions and as a Trustee and member (then Chairman) of the Executive Council of the Ciba Foundation he was called upon to speak at many Ciba Foundation functions.

 

Section F, Societies and organisations, is the largest in the collection. It includes significant documentation of some of Young's principal responsibilities including the Ciba Foundation, the International Diabetes Federation, chiefly its Special Committee established in 1970 to report on the 'work leading up to the discovery of insulin', and the British Nutrition Foundation during the period of Young's Presidency. International Union of Biochemistry material mostly relates to the problems in rearranging the 8th International Congress of Biochemistry scheduled for Rome in September 1970; Young played a leading role in ensuring its successful relocation at short notice to Switzerland. Young's service on government advisory committees is represented by papers and correspondence relating to the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy - including its Panels on Recommended Allowances of Nutrients, Diet in relation to Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease, and Bread, Flour and other Cereal Products - and the Advisory Committee on the Irradiation of Food. Young's membership of the Royal Commission on Medical Education is also well documented, including responses to the Commission's report (the Todd Report). Other organisations represented include the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (later the University of Rhodesia). Young was a member of the College's Council as a representative of the Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas, and there are papers relating to the problems confronting the institution in its relations with the Rhodesian government.

 

Section G, Visits and conferences, covers only a very small proportion of Young's visits and attendance at conferences, 1955-1977. The most extensive material relates to the 9th International Diabetes Federation Congress, New Delhi, India, 1976, which in the event Young was unable to attend. Some further material relating to lectures given at events can be found in section E, Lectures and speeches.

 

Section H, Correspondence, includes general scientific correspondence presented in alphabetical order. Principal correspondents include C.H. Best, J. Bornstein, Sir Henry Dale, I. Hais, W.D. Tigertt and Lord Zuckerman. There is also Young's letter file of outgoing letters, January - September 1975, and some references and recommendations.

 

There is also an index of correspondents.

Note:

Compiled by: Timothy E. Powell and Peter Harper

 

The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:

 

The Biochemical Society

 

The British Crystallographic Association

 

The Geological Society

 

The Institute of Physics

 

The Royal Society

 

The Royal Society of Chemistry

 

Trinity College Cambridge

 

The Wellcome Trust

"
Date: 1913-1988
Held by: Cambridge University Library: Department of Archives and Modern Manuscripts, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Creator:

Young, Frank George, 1908-1985, biochemist

Physical description: 34 boxes, ca 900 items
Access conditions:

NOT ALL THE MATERIAL IN THIS COLLECTION MAY YET BE AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION. ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:

 

THE KEEPER OF MANUSCRIPTS AND UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

 

WEST ROAD

 

CAMBRIDGE

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were received from Cambridge University Library in April 1999.

Administrative / biographical background:

Frank George Young was born in London on 25 March 1908. He was educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich 1916-1926 and then entered University College London. He graduated in chemistry and physics in 1929 and went on to postgraduate work in biochemistry and physiology at University College under J.C. Drummond, C. Lovatt Evans and A.V. Hill. After one year 1932-1933 as an Honorary Assistant in the Department of Physiology at University College, Young held research fellowships successively at the University of Aberdeen under J.J.R. Mcleod and the University of Toronto under C.H. Best, studying diabetes. He returned to University College in 1935 before in 1936 being appointed to the Scientific Staff of the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research, under the Directorship of Sir Henry Dale.

 

In 1942 Young was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, University of London and three years later was appointed to the Chair in Biochemistry at University College London. Young left London in 1949, when he was appointed Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry at Cambridge, succeeding A.C. Chibnall. He retired from the Chair in 1975. On moving to Cambridge Young was made a Fellow of Trinity Hall but he resigned this Fellowship in 1964 when he became the first Master of Darwin College, the newly founded Cambridge postgraduate college. He stood down from the Mastership in 1976.

 

Young devoted much of his time to service with national and international bodies. In the UK he was a member of the Medical Research Council 1950-1954, served on the Executive Council of the Ciba Foundation from 1954 to 1977 (appointed Chairman of the Council and Trustee in 1967) and was a co-founder of the British Nutrition Foundation in 1967 (serving as President 1970-1976). Young served on a number of government advisory bodies including the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy 1957-1980, and the Advisory Committee on the Irradiation of Food from 1967 (as Chairman). He was also a member of the Royal Commission on Medical Education 1965-1968. International commitments included membership of the Council of the International Union of Biochemistry 1961-1972 (Treasurer 1967-1972) and the Executive Board of the International Council of Scientific Unions 1970-1974 (Vice-President 1970-1972). Young was particularly active in diabetes research organisations. He was a Vice-President of the British Diabetic Association from 1948, President of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes 1965-1968, and President of the International Diabetes Federation 1970-1973.

 

Young received numerous honours and awards, many from overseas, including the Banting Memorial Medal of the American Diabetes Association in 1950 and the Upjohn Award of the US Endocrine Society in 1963. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1949 (Croonian Lecturer 1962) and knighted in 1976.

 

Young's principal research contribution was in the field of endocrinology, with particular reference to the study of diabetes. In autobiographical notes composed in September 1976 (A.6) Young described his work as follows:

 

'In 1937 he described a new method of inducing experimental diabetes in animals by the administration of an extract of the anterior pituitary gland for a short time, later showing that the persistence of the diabetic condition was caused by damage to the insulin-producing cells of the pancreatic islets and that the causative agent was anterior pituitary growth hormone. These investigations have been described as "some of the classical experiments in endocrinology"....With his collaborators he developed the view that diabetes mellitus can sometimes originate from an imbalance between the actions of insulin and growth hormone with respect to the utilization of glucose, a secondary result of this imbalance being damage to the pancreatic islets.'

 

Young did little laboratory work himself after 1945 and effectively ceased active research when he came to Cambridge, although from the late 1950s he oversaw work on growth hormone, undertaken with a technician D.C. Gardiner.

 

Young died on 20 September 1988.

 

For further information on the life and work of Young, see 'Sir Frank George Young' by Sir Philip Randle, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol 36 (1990), pp 583-599.

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