Catalogue of the correspondence and papers of SIR RUDOLPH ALBERT PETERS, FRS; (1889 - 1982)

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

Details of Catalogue of the correspondence and papers of SIR RUDOLPH ALBERT PETERS, FRS; (1889 - 1982)
Title: Catalogue of the correspondence and papers of SIR RUDOLPH ALBERT PETERS, FRS; (1889 - 1982)
Reference: CSAC 85.3.82
Description:

SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL CSAC 85.3.82/A.1 - A.42

 

CSAC 85.3.82/A.1 -A.21, CSAC 85.3.82/A.42 Miscellaneous items of biographical interest

 

CSAC 85.3.82/A.22-A.41 Membership of committees, societies, organisations

 

SECTION B OXFORD UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY CSAC 85.3.82/B.1 - B.24

 

SECTION C VITAMINS AND NUTRITION CSAC 85.3.82/C.1 - C.77

 

CSAC 85.3.82/C.1 -C.45 Work on vitamin B, 1925-39

 

CSAC 85.3.82/C.46-C.77 Wartime and Post-War work on nutrition

 

SECTION D BRITISH ANTI-LEWISITE CSAC 85.3.82/D.1 - D.29

 

CSAC 85.3.82/D.1 -D.19 Research reports, drafts, lectures, c.1939-50

 

CSAC 85.3.82/D.20-D.27 Correspondence on BAL and related research, 1940-67

 

CSAC 85.3.82/D.28, D.29 Reports and papers on mustard gas

 

SECTION E F COMPOUNDS AND OTHER LATER RESEARCH CSAC 85.3.82/E.1 - E.84

 

CSAC 85.3.82/E.1 - E.41 Laboratory records, drafts, data, 1952-74

 

CSAC 85.3.82/E.42-E.84 Correspondence, 1948-77

 

SECTION F LECTURES, DRAFTS, PUBLICATIONS CSAC 85.3.82/F.1 - F.55

 

CSAC 85.3.82/F.1 -F.32 Lectures, drafts, publications, 1945-70

 

CSAC 85.3.82/F.33-F.51 Undated material

 

CSAC 85.3.82/F.52-F.55 Shorter unindexed correspondence re lectures and publications

 

SECTION G GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE CSAC 85.3.82/G.1 - G. 34

 

INDEX OF CORRESPONDENTS

 

The collection documents some aspects of Peters's life quite fully while in other respects there are large gaps. There is, for example, nothing about his early life and indeed very little 'biographical' material at all, and almost nothing in the way of conferences and lecture tours, etc., although it is clear from odd references in the correspondence that he did travel, particularly after the Second World War. On the other hand, Section B has some interesting material relating to the building and funding of the new Department of Biochemistry at Oxford in the 1920s, while Sections C and E contain extensive laboratory notes and correspondence documenting his scientific research before and after the Second World War. There are also quite substantial sequences of correspondence and papers on the formation of the International Union of Biochemistry (see CSAC 85.3.82/A.24 - A.37) and on Peter's service on various Sub-Committees of the Medical Research Council Accessory Food Factors Committee (see C.46ff.).

 

The correspondence in Section G is less substantial, since most of the scientific letters remain with the relevant notes and data in Sections C - E, but there are nevertheless a few interesting exchanges.

Date: 1913 - 1982
Held by: Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: 11 boxes
Administrative History:

Rudolph Albert Peters was born in Hampshire in 1889, the son of Dr. A.E. Peters who practised in Petersfield. He was educated at Wellington College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and became a research Fellow of Caius in 1911.

 

In 1913 he went to St. Bartholomew's Hospital to complete his medical training, and after graduating in 1915 he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. His service in the field gained him the Military Cross and bar (see CSAC 85.3.82/A.3) but in 1917 he was recalled to start work on chemical defence under J. (later Sir Joseph) Barcroft at Porton Down.

 

After the First World War, Peters returned to Cambridge where he was elected into a Fellowship at his old college and joined the Department of Biochemistry as Senior Demonstrator. In 1923 he was appointed to the recently founded Whitley Chair of Biochemistry at Oxford University, where he built up a flourishing department and began investigations into the structure and mode of action of Vitamin B1. One of the results of this work was the firm establishment of the concept of 'biochemical lesion' in relation to deficiency disease.

 

During the Second World War, Peters returned once again to problems of defence against chemical weapons. He directed a small research team in his Department at Oxford working mainly on mustard gas and the arsenicals and his main success was the discovery of British Anti-Lewisite (BAL). After the war he continued to work on toxicological problems with particular reference to the biochemical mechanism involved in poisoning by fluoroacetate. In 1954 he retired from the Chair at Oxford and moved to the Agricultural Research Council Animal Physiology Unit at Babraham where he remained for 5 years before joining the Cambridge University Biochemistry Department as Senior Visiting Fellow in 1959. Here he continued his research on F compounds and other related problems until his final retirements in July 1980. He was knighted in 1952.

Subjects:
  • Biochemistry
Creator Names:
  • Peters, Sir, Rudolph Albert, 1889-1982, Knight, biochemist
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • Through the good offices of Lady Chain the majority of the collection was passed to the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre for cataloguing by Sir Rudolph himself after his final retirement from scientific work in July 1980 at the age of 91.

     

    A small number of letters and papers, chiefly relating to the Oxford University Department of Biochemistry, were added to the main collection by Lady Peters after Sir Rudolph's death in January 1982.

     

    Item CSAC 85.3.82/B.24 is included in the collection by kind permission of Dr. L.A. Stocken.

Conditions of access:

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

 

THE KEEPER OF WESTERN MANUSCRIPTS

 

BODLEIAN LIBRARY

 

OXFORD.

Note:

Compiled by: Jeannine Alton

 

Julia Latham-Jackson

 

The work of the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and institutions:

 

The Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland

 

The Biochemical Society

 

The British Pharmacological Society

 

The Charles Babbage Foundation for the History of Information Processing

 

The Institute of Physics

 

The Institution of Electrical Engineers

 

The Nuffield Foundation

 

The Physiological Society

 

The Royal Society of London

 

We are grateful to:

 

Dr. L.A. Stocken and Mr. B. Taylor of the Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University, for advice and information and for making available item CSAC 85.3.82/B.24.

 

Professor R.H.S. Thompson for comments on the draft catalogue and for making available item CSAC 85.3.82/A.42.

"
Related Material:
  • Committee papers relating to Peters's service on the M.R.C. Accessory Food Factors Committee have been returned to the Council.

     

    Some offprints and printed items of historical interest have been accepted for the library of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford.

     

    An aerial photograph, taken in December 1917, of a section of the Western Front between Albert and Peronne, was passed to the Department of Photographs of the Imperial War Museum, London.

     

    Two notebooks and a tape-recording of early and wartime reminiscences remain in family hands.

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