Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Sir John Cowdery Kendrew FRS (b. 1917), molecular biologist

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Details of Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Sir John Cowdery Kendrew FRS (b. 1917), molecular biologist
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Sir John Cowdery Kendrew FRS (b. 1917), molecular biologist
Reference: NCUACS 11.4.89
Description:

SECTION A NOTEBOOKS, NOTES AND ESSAYS NCUACS 11.4.89/A.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/A.120

 

NOTEBOOKS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/A.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/A.25 School

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/A.26 War service

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/A.27 University (postwar)

 

NOTES AND ESSAYS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/A.28-NCUACS 11.4.89/A.31 School

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/A.32-NCUACS 11.4.89/A.118 University

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/A.119 War service

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/A.120 Later miscellaneous notes

 

SECTION B SECOND WORLD WAR NCUACS 11.4.89/B.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/B.60

 

CAREER AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.1 Career

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.2-NCUACS 11.4.89/B.24 Correspondence and papers 1941-46

 

NOTES

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.25 Notes

 

REPORTS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.26, NCUACS 11.4.89/B.27 Coastal Command

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.28 Bomber Command

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.29 Anti-submarine warfare

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.30 Combined Operations

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.31 Methodology

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.32-NCUACS 11.4.89/B.41 Middle East Command

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.42-NCUACS 11.4.89/B.47 South East Asia Command

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.48-NCUACS 11.4.89/B.53 Postwar papers

 

HISTORY OF OPERATIONAL RESEARCH

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/B.54-NCUACS 11.4.89/B.60 Correspondence, papers, drafts

 

SECTION C RESEARCH NCUACS 11.4.89/C.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.308

 

EARLY RESEARCH

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.1 Reaction kinetics

 

INFORMATION RETRIEVAL/DATA PROCESSING

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.2-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.5 Information retrieval

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.6-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.15 Computation on EDSAC I

 

PROTEIN ANALYSIS PROJECTS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.16 Adult and foetal sheep haemoglobin 1946-58

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.17 Muscle 1947-54

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.18 Protein solubility c.1949

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.19 Procollagen 1951-52

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.20 Controlled shrinkage of protein crystals 1952

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.21 Polypeptide configuration 1953

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.22 X-ray experiments 1953

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.23 Not used. Material transferred to NCUACS 11.4.89/C.1

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.24 Chymotrypsinogen c.1956

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.25, NCUACS 11.4.89/C.26 Correspondence "New proteins" 1947-69

 

EARLY RESEARCH REPORTS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.27 Reports 1946-53

 

MYOGLOBIN

 

NOTEBOOKS (Kendrew and collaborators)

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.28-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.40 Preliminary work

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.41-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.100 Main myoglobin programme

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.101-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.116 Collaborators' notebooks

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.117-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.125 Atomic co-ordinates/amino-acid sequencing

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.126-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.129 Miscellaneous

 

NOTES AND DATA (Kendrew and collaborators)

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.130-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.169 Preliminary work

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.170-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.189 Main myoglobin programme

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.190-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.195 Collaborators' notes and data

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.196-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.198 Miscellaneous

 

MATERIALS AND APPARATUS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.199-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.202 Supplies and specimens

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.203 Optical diffractometer

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.204 Microcamera

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.205-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.207 Densitometer

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.208, NCUACS 11.4.89/C.209 Computer time

 

COLLABORATORS AND STAFF

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.210-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.238 Individual files

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.239-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.247 Chronological files

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.248-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.272 Aspects of myoglobin

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.273-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.277 Atomic co-ordinates/amino-acid sequencing

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.278-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.291 Publications

 

MODELS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.292 Skeletal model

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.293-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.297 Ball-and-spoke model

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.298 Science Museum London

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.299-NCUACS 11.4.89/C.307 Correspondence

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/C.308 Pantographs

 

SECTION D MRC LABORATORY OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY CAMBRIDGE NCUACS 11.4.89/D.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/D.39

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/D.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/D.5 Buildings

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/D.6-NCUACS 11.4.89/D.12 Apparatus and equipment

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/D.13-NCUACS 11.4.89/D.32 Staff

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/D.33-NCUACS 11.4.89/D.38 Research and administration

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/D.39 Historical

 

SECTION E CAMBRIDGE: UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE NCUACS 11.4.89/E.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/E.16

 

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/E.1, NCUACS 11.4.89/E.2 Teaching and curriculum

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/E.3-NCUACS 11.4.89/E.5 Committees

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/E.6 Electoral and Advisory Boards

 

PETERHOUSE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/E.7-NCUACS 11.4.89/E.10 Scholarship and entrance examinations

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/E.11-NCUACS 11.4.89/E.13 Supervision

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/E.14 Prizes

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/E.15, NCUACS 11.4.89/E.16 Mastership elections

 

EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY: INTRODUCTION TO SECTIONS F, G AND H

 

SECTION F EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY ORGANISATION (EMBO) NCUACS 11.4.89/F.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.232

 

EARLY HISTORY

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.9 Preliminary meetings and correspondence 1963

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.10-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.15 Formal constitution and statutes

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.16-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.33 Relations with other organisations

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.34-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.42 Policy document

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.43-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.56 Funding

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.57-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.60 Miscellaneous correspondence

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.61-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.77 Nominations and elections 1963-82

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.78, NCUACS 11.4.89/F.79 Circulars and lists 1964-75

 

COUNCIL

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.80-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.118A Correspondence and meetings 1964-80

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.119-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.127 Membership and elections 1963-74

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.128, NCUACS 11.4.89/F.129 Minutes and circulars 1963-81

 

FUND COMMITTEE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.130-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.132 Membership 1965-74

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.133-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.140 Correspondence and papers 1964-74

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.141-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.149 Fellowship applications 1964-74

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.150 Minutes 1965-73

 

COURSE COMMITTEE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.151-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.153 Membership 1965-74

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.154-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.167 Correspondence and papers 1965-74

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.168 Minutes and circulars 1966-69

 

LABORATORY COMMITTEE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.169-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.208 Meetings, correspondence and papers 1963-73

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.209, NCUACS 11.4.89/F.210 Appointments

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.211-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.213 Finance and accounts

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.216-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.220 General administrative correspondence

 

SYMPOSIUM COMMITTEE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.221-NCUACS 11.4.89/F.228 Correspondence and papers 1974-81

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.229 Minutes 1974-80

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.230, NCUACS 11.4.89/F.231 Press releases, articles, comments 1963-71

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/F.232 Annual reports 1966-81

 

SECTION G EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY CONFERENCE (EMBC) NCUACS 11.4.89/G.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.150

 

EARLY HISTORY

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.13 "Swiss Initiative" 1964-67

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.14-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.28 Intergovernmental meetings and negotiations 1967-69

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.29-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.35 Signing and ratification of Agreement 1969-70

 

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE AND PAPERS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.36-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.55 1969-79

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.56-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.64 1968-76

 

SUBCOMMITTEES AND WORKING GROUPS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.65 Laboratory Working Group I

 

Role of the laboratory

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.66-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.73 Laboratory Working Group II

 

Organisation, structure, administration

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.74-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.87 Laboratory Working Group III

 

Site of the laboratory

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.88-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.91 Laboratory Working Group IV

 

Financial aspects

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.92-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.102 Steering Group of Laboratory Working Groups

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.103-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.106 Enlarged legal sub-group

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.107-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.114 "Andres" Working Group on future of Conference

 

CONFERENCE AND COMMITTEE PAPERS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/G.115-NCUACS 11.4.89/G.150 1967-81

 

SECTION H EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LABORATORY (EMBL) NCUACS 11.4.89/H.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.417

 

AGREEMENTS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.6 Laboratory Agreement

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.7, NCUACS 11.4.89/H.8 Headquarters Agreement

 

THE BUILDING OF THE LABORATORY

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.9-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.12 Temporary accommodation in Heidelberg

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.13-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.20 Early planning and costing

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.21-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.34 Building Committee

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.35-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.46 Architects, tenders, plans

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.47-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.49 Furnishing and interior design

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.50-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.55 Inauguration

 

RESEARCH COMMITTEES AND WORKING GROUPS

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.56-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.68 Provisional Scientific Advisory Committee (PSAC)

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.69-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.97 Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.98 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Working Group

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.99 Computer Policy Working Group

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.100-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.102 Recombinant DNA (rDNA) Committee

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.103-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.140 Scientific Purchases Committee

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.141-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.151 Workshops

 

RESEARCH DIVISIONS - HEIDELBERG

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.152-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.177 Cell Biology

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.178-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.182 Biological Structures

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.183-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.202 Instrumentation

 

OUTSTATION AT DEUTSCHES ELEKTRONEN SYNCHROTRON (DESY) - HAMBURG

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.203-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.205 Early History

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.206-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.210 Relations with DESY

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.211-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.213 DESY Committees

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.214-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.217 Staff

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.218-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.220 Equipment

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.221-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.237 Research

 

OUTSTATION AT INSTITUT MAX VON LAUE - PAUL LANGEVIN (ILL) - GRENOBLE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.238-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.246 Early History

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.247 ILL - EMBL Building

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.248-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.254 ILL Scientific Council

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.255 Staff

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.256 Equipment

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.257-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.262 Research

 

RESEARCH PROGRAMMES

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.263-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.265 Laboratory Research Programmes 1975-87

 

SEMINARS, LECTURES, COURSES

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.266-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.273 Seminars

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.274-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.279 Lectures

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.280 Courses

 

VISITORS AND STAFF

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.281-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.291 Visitors

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.292-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.296 Staff

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.297-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.304 Existing, continuing, proposed new membership

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.305-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.311 Organisation and planning

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.312-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.318 Committees

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.319-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.324 Finance

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.325, NCUACS 11.4.89/H.326 Staff Association

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.327-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.333 Miscellaneous

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.334-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.344 Appointments

 

DIRECTOR-GENERAL'S NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.345-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.358 Notes

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.359-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.367 Kendrew's appointments and career at EMBL

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.368, NCUACS 11.4.89/H.369 Personal correspondence

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.370-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.377 Director-General's correspondence

 

FINANCE COMMITTEE AND COUNCIL MINUTES

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/H.378-NCUACS 11.4.89/H.417 1973-81

 

SECTION J UK SOCIETIES, ORGANISATIONS, CONSULTANCIES NCUACS 11.4.89/J.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/J.176

 

SECTION K INTERNATIONAL SOCIETIES, ORGANISATIONS, CONSULTANCIES NCUACS 11.4.89/K.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/K.119

 

SECTION L LECTURES, PUBLICATIONS, BROADCASTS NCUACS 11.4.89/L.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/L.149

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/L.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/L.77 Lectures, publications, reviews

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/L.78-NCUACS 11.4.89/L.98 Radio, television, films

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/L.99-NCUACS 11.4.89/L.144 Correspondence with publishers and editors

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/L.145-NCUACS 11.4.89/L.149 Addenda: Lectures 1946-87

 

SECTION M JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY NCUACS 11.4.89/M.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/M.37

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/M.1, NCUACS 11.4.89/M.2 Founding papers 1957-59

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/M.3-NCUACS 11.4.89/M.19 Correspondence with editors and authors

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/M.20-NCUACS 11.4.89/M.37 Correspondence with Academic Press

 

SECTION N VISITS AND CONFERENCES NCUACS 11.4.89/N.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/N.71

 

SECTION O CORRESPONDENCE NCUACS 11.4.89/O.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/O.31

 

SECTION P REFERENCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS NCUACS 11.4.89/P.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/P.42

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/P.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/P.3 Theses and higher degrees

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/P.4-NCUACS 11.4.89/P.17 Appointments and staffing

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/P.18-NCUACS 11.4.89/P.40 Grant applications/research funding

 

NCUACS 11.4.89/P.41, NCUACS 11.4.89/P.42 Miscellaneous

 

SECTION R BIOGRAPHICAL NCUACS 11.4.89/R.1-NCUACS 11.4.89/R.51

 

The material is very extensive and provides information not only on virtually all aspects of Kendrew's own career but on many of the individuals and organisations connected with it. The papers are presented as shown in the List of Contents. Additional explanatory notes or information accompany the separate sections and many of the sub-sections and individual entries in the body of the catalogue. The following paragraphs are intended only to draw attention to material of particular interest.

 

It should be said at the outset that the entire collection reflects on almost every page what are probably the best-known features of Kendrew's personality: on the one hand his methodical and analytical power, his meticulous not to say obsessive insistence on accuracy and comprehensive documentation, shown in his lifelong interest in record-keeping and the devising of recondite systems for information storage and retrieval; on the other hand, an aloofness or elusiveness of temperament which sets certain limits to personal relations. There are a steadiness and control, a detachment combined with seemingly tireless application which constitute a formidable intellectual armoury and which are present from the earliest records.

 

Thus, Section A (Notebooks, Notes and Essays) though mainly covering early school and undergraduate work 1930-39 is remarkable for its maturity and for the quantity and quality alike of the content. It is classified under a system of Kendrew's own devising which, though intrinsically clear and flexible, involved careful pagination with at least two referents, and an appreciable measure of cross-referencing in order to amalgamate school and university work; as there are some 9000 manuscript pages of notes, not counting notebooks and essays, the degree of labour required would not have been contemplated, let alone undertaken and carried through, by many. A modern historian of intellectual or educational development will be grateful for the scrupulous indexing of topics, the very full notes of lecture courses and the careful identification of lecturers. The latter included most of the leading figures in Cambridge science immediately before and after the Second World War and some visiting lecturers (J.E. Lennard-Jones, F.W. Aston, R.G.W. Norrish, E.K. Rideal, F.P. Bowden, J.A. Ratcliffe, W. Cochran, F.G. Hopkins, M. Dixon, F.G. Mann, W.J. Pope, D.D. Woods, J. Needham, A. Neuberger, D Keilin, K. Bailey, I. Langmuir may be cited among very many others). The total sequence therefore provides an exceptionally comprehensive picture of the education available at that time at a well-run school science department and a major "science" university.

 

Section B (Second World War) chronicles Kendrew's overseas service and contributions to operational research, and contains original reports from various commands by him and others. It also includes several letters or private reports on his analysis of the war situation at various dates, of the current and future state of operational research and of his own career plans, his suggestions and proposals for the postwar organisation of government science, and a punched card, designed by him, to be used by aircraft patrol crews to record incidents.

 

Section C (Research) is one of the major components of the collection and furnishes a very full record of Kendrew's research, including some of his collaborators' work. It is concerned almost entirely with protein structure analysis, beginning in 1946, and includes the devising of computer programs to handle and process data on machines of progressive sophistication (EDSAC I, EDSAC II, Mercury, IBM 7090 and others), the many years of experimentation with types of myoglobin until in December 1952 sperm-whale emerged as the most promising crystal source, and the ensuing protracted sequence of diffraction pictures, phase determination, scaling, manual and computer calculations leading up to the establishment of contour maps and the final three-dimensional picture at successive Angström resolutions. There is also material on the concurrent and subsequent work on amino-acid sequencing by chemical methods in correlation with the crystallographic analysis. In addition to the main sequence of notebooks, notes and data, there is material relating to specimens, apparatus and models, and correspondence with collaborators and colleagues extending over more than twenty years. The progress of the work can thus be followed in great technical detail. On a more immediately accessible level, there are reports, project diaries, summaries of experimental findings, charts of progress, work-allocations and the like written from the bench or in correspondence throughout the period, and covering key points such as the identification of the best crystalline protein, the excitement of the eventual syntheses and their publication. Attention is drawn to these and other items of interest in the introduction to Section C and at various points in the body of the text.

 

Section D (The MRC Laboratory Cambridge) is a relatively short section, but contains correspondence on the new building and its extension conducted by the Director M.F. Perutz, and some material on equipment and staff. There are also agendas, minutes and research proposals for Laboratory Board meetings, and a full record of committee meetings of Kendrew's own Structural Studies Division from 1969 (no.1) until his secondment to Heidelberg in 1975.

 

Section E (Cambridge: University and College) is another short section and does not fully reflect Kendrew's work as lecturer and teacher, or his committee service at Cambridge. His own extremely detailed notes on entrance and scholarship examinations for Peterhouse and the "King's Group" of colleges in the 1950s are again of interest for the history of education.

 

Sections F, G and H are all devoted to the history of European molecular biology and constitute another major component of the collection, covering twenty years 1962-82. The extent of the material made it expedient to present it in separate sections for the Organisation EMBO (Section F), the Conference EMBC (Section G) and the Laboratory EMBL (Section H). A general introduction to the topic and to the material has been prepared as well as the specific introductions preceding each section. As has already been stated, Kendrew was closely involved in the movement from its earliest inception; he held high office in its key committees and secretariat and was also active in several channels of the science policy establishment in Britain such as the Council for Scientific Policy and the International Relations Committee of the Royal Society. His unique place at or near the centre of events makes his record of special value in several regards. It is remarkably complete and contains the early history or "founding papers" of all three European bodies, many of them in the form of manuscript or informal letters exchanged with distinguished colleagues throughout Europe as well as in Britain where the Cambridge MRC Laboratory itself provided the first Chairman of EMBO, M.F. Perutz, and many founder members such as S. Brenner, H.E. Huxley, F.H.C. Crick and A. Klug. In addition, the first Secretary-General of EMBO, J. Wyman, has at Kendrew's request made over his own papers and correspondence on the subject for incorporation in the present collection. All aspects of the European molecular biology movement are thus covered: negotiations, discussions and agreements at personal, official, national and international level; research projects, membership and elections; buildings and staffing; budgets, costings and funding - made dangerously unpredictable for the laboratory project by the global inflation and fluctuating European exchange rates in the 1970s; and as time advances a proliferation of committees and working parties. The element of doubt, unfavourable comment and hostility is not neglected; the efforts of founder members to keep the project alive by personal contacts is evident in many contexts. Kendrew's own notes of discussions, planning and problems at all stages are of the greatest interest, especially for the laboratory project; Section H also includes documentation of his own career at EMBL.

 

Sections J and K are concerned respectively with UK and with international societies and organisations. Each has an alphabetical list of contents and most of the items have a descriptive entry or introductory note. Of special interest in Section J are the "founding papers" of the British Biophysical Society, papers of the Council for Scientific Policy including those of the Working Groups on molecular biology, on the proposal for EMBL and on the Dainton and Rothschild reports on the organisation of research, and the Council's Standing Committee on International Relations. There is also a full record of the High Energy Particle Physics Review Group chaired by Kendrew, and material relating to various committees and sub-committees of the Royal Society. Correspondence with W.L. Bragg and others at the Royal Institution provides useful links with Kendrew's research career during the myoglobin project; material for the Design Research Unit shows him in an unexpected role in the 1940s submitting ideas for industrial and design applications of scientific advances.

 

On the international scene (Section K) there are records of Kendrew's extensive service on the councils or advisory boards of institutions and laboratories and of their research programmes - examples among others are the Basel Institute for Immunology, the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology Naples, the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Munich, the Molecular Biology Department Free University of Brussels, the United Nations University Tokyo - and good documentation for his long and continuing association, begun in 1963, with the Weizmann Institute Israel. The international scientific unions are represented by Biochemistry (IUB) and Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB), but chiefly by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) which remains one of Kendrew's most important commitments and in which he held high office from 1974.

 

Section L (Lectures, Publications, Reviews) was considerably expanded at a late stage in the compilation of the catalogue by Kendrew's decision to include his folders of lectures and talks 1946-1987. These appear as addenda and have been extensively cross-referenced to related material, conferences, invitations and other events elsewhere in the collection. They contain many more lectures than previously available and include substantial courses given in America and Japan, and various special invitation lectures.

 

Section M (Journal of Molecular Biology) has been treated separately from other publications because of Kendrew's long involvement with the journal as Editor-in-Chief from its inception and as a Director of Academic Press. Once again there are "founding papers", careful notes and analyses by Kendrew, and miscellaneous material on the fortunes and vicissitudes of the journal and its publishers over a time-span of thirty years.

 

Section N (Visits and Conferences) is not extensive and is far from reflecting the extent of Kendrew's travels. His notoriously peripatetic existence becomes apparent by the accumulation throughout the collection of references to journeys in connection for example with European molecular biology, or on behalf of ICSU and its constituent unions, or the official visits for the Council for Scientific Policy, or the regular visits and meetings at other laboratories and institutions.

 

Sections O, P and R are all short sections. Section O (Correspondence) is not extensive since Kendrew kept almost all his correspondence in the files or notebooks to which it related. One touches here on the reticent element in his temperament; the correspondence is open and friendly yet rarely develops into long-term exchanges. Section P (References and Recommendations) covers a long period and is international in range; some is subject to restricted access. Section R (Biographical) contains some interesting material on Kendrew's career and appointments, including many offers of posts in Britain and abroad. Unsurprisingly, it contains little of a personal nature.

 

It will be seen that the collection comprises material of very different nature and of potential interest in several fields of enquiry. There is the full history of a major scientific discovery as such (the structure of myoglobin) and, in the many research proposals put forward by individuals and institutions including EMBL, examples of how leading scientists saw the key developments in their subject at a particular time. There is material on intellectual training and the diffusion of changing scientific concepts by filtering to a wider public awareness through the educational process at various levels. The international aspects of science can be studied in the organisation, assemblies, membership and evolving preoccupations of the scientific unions and especially of their central body ICSU; while there is exceptional coverage of one field of European co-operation in the history of EMBO, EMBC and EMBL. The material relating to the Journal of Molecular Biology reflects an important aspect of the scientific process: the evaluation and communication of research findings and the criterion of peer-judgment. Of perhaps more specialised interest is the evidence of the scientific contribution to the war effort during the Second World War, seen here in the correspondence and reports on operational research in several fields of hostilities and in the responsibility exercised by people still in their early twenties. It should be recalled that the documents on all these topics include both official papers in the shape of minutes, reports and the like, and also Kendrew's own meticulous notes, drafts and comments which greatly supplement the official material, and background correspondence and discussions which rarely form any part of them.

Date: 1927-1988
Held by: Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: ca 2000 items
Administrative History:

John Cowdery Kendrew was born on 24 March 1917. His mother, Evelyn Sandberg, was a distinguished art historian; she lived in Italy and the boy was brought up by his father Wilfred George Kendrew, tutor of St. Catherine's and Reader in Climatology at Oxford University. They lived in Oxford and also at Bladon near Woodstock; walking and cycling expeditions were frequent, with early interests in natural history, birds and flowers, buildings and (later) photography. Kendrew was educated at the Dragon School Oxford (1923-1930) and Clifton College Bristol (Scholar, 1930-1936), of both of which he became a Governor. In 1936 he went to Trinity College Cambridge as a Major Scholar. While his main subject was chemistry he made it his business to profit as widely as possible from the range of subjects available; he studied and attended lectures in physics, mathematics and biochemistry, taking the last two as half-subjects in Part 1 of the Tripos. He kept up his skills as a photographer and added a growing love of music; these, with architecture and archaeology, remain permanent features of his life. In June 1939 he graduated with First-Class Honours in chemistry and immediately began research in reaction kinetics in the Department of Physical Chemistry. By December 1939, following up an undergraduate interest in radio developed in the Signals Unit of the Cambridge OTC, he was appointed as a Junior Scientific Officer at the Air Ministry and worked first on radar and from 1940 on operational research with special reference to anti-submarine warfare, bombing accuracy and radio aids. Most of his war service was spent abroad, in Cairo with Middle East Command and then in India and Ceylon with South-East Asia Command where he was officer in charge of operational research and Scientific Adviser to the Allied Air Commander-in-Chief, holding the honorary rank of Wing Commander.

 

Wartime travels and encounters were to have major effects on his future career. J.D. Bernal, met in Cairo, India and Ceylon, persuaded him of the importance of research into protein, and this was reinforced by a meeting with L.C. Pauling in the course of a roundabout journey home via Australia and America in the spring of 1945. Though he hesitated for some time and explored the possibility of remaining in Government service to continue operational research and planning for peacetime policies, he decided to return to Cambridge, and began a collaboration with M.F. Perutz under the direction of Sir Lawrence Bragg at the Cavendish Laboratory.

 

Thus began a heroic period: in Kendrew's career and in those of his collaborators, in the subject of research - X-ray crystallographic analysis of protein structure -, in the Cavendish Laboratory and the University of Cambridge. In October 1947 the Medical Research Council set up a Unit for the Study of the Molecular Structure of Biological Systems with Perutz and Kendrew as its total staff; this was the origin of the now famous Laboratory of Molecular Biology, currently more spaciously housed than in the cramped quarters and huts where such brilliant work was achieved in the 1950s. After exploring many possible problems and materials Kendrew chose myoglobin and in particular sperm-whale myoglobin as the most suitable for analysis by X-ray crystallography; he and his collaborators eventually succeeded in producing a three-dimensional model at a resolution of 6-Å in 1957 and 2-Å in 1959. This long and often tedious haul, requiring much manual experimentation as well as increasingly sophisticated computing resources to handle large amounts of data, was rewarded when he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Perutz (who had continued to work on haemoglobin) in 1962, that annus mirabilis when F.H.C. Crick and J.D. Watson (both of the MRC Unit) shared the Prize in Physiology or Medicine with M.H.F. Wilkins for the determination of the structure of DNA.

 

Alongside the laboratory work, Kendrew had maintained his links with university life principally through Peterhouse which had welcomed him during the early postwar years as a Research Fellow 1947-1953 and later as a Supernumerary Fellow. He was Director of Studies in Natural Sciences for many years with responsibility for selection and tuition of undergraduate members, as well as holding several College offices. He later became an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse, as also of his undergraduate college, Trinity.

 

To this period also belongs Kendrew's marriage to Elizabeth Jarvie 1948 and subsequent divorce 1956. J.D. Watson, who was under Kendrew's supervision as a research student, lodged at their home during his early days in Cambridge.

 

From about the late 1950s Kendrew became more involved in scientific matters in the wider world. He was a founding member and first Honorary Secretary of the British Biophysical Society; in 1959 he undertook the Editorship of the new Journal of Molecular Biology which he retained until 1987; he was Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser Ministry of Defence 1960-1963; and he served on committees and advisory boards of the Royal Society where he had been elected to the Fellowship in 1960. With the award of the Nobel Prize this involvement gained momentum and an altogether new dimension in international terms with the development of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and its Laboratory (EMBL); the first exploratory talks seem indeed to have coincided with the journey to Stockholm at the end of 1962. Here too the way was to be long and hard. The formation of an active international association of scientists working in molecular biology (EMBO) was relatively easily achieved during 1963 and 1964, but the formal funding and organisation of such a body required intergovernmental political agreement and did not come until 1969 when the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) was established by agreement by thirteen West European states. The Laboratory project, which was especially dear to Kendrew, was even longer in reaching an agreement (1973), a secretariat and research programme in place (1974) and a formal opening (1978). In all these developments Kendrew was closely involved, on the Council of EMBO, as Chairman of its Laboratory Committee and later its Secretary-General, as Secretary-General of EMBC, and as Project Leader and first Director-General of the EMBL.

 

Many other commitments to national and international science policy also belong to these years. In Britain they include service on the Council for Scientific Policy and chairmanship of some of its committees and working parties 1964-1972, service on the Defence Scientific Advisory Council 1969-1974, continuing service on the Council and other committees of the Royal Society and on other learned societies in particular the British Biophysical Society and the Institute of Biology. Examples of increasing involvement in international science and scientific policy can be seen in his appointment as Governor of the Weizmann Institute Israel 1964 and the Vice-Presidency and Presidency of the International Union of Pure and Applied Biophysics 1964-1972.

 

During the 1960s Kendrew continued his research on myoglobin, refining the resolution to 1.4-Å and determining the co-ordinates of virtually all the 2500 atoms in the molecule. In the later 1960s however his other commitments increasingly absorbed his time and energy and his official move to Heidelberg as Director-General of EMBL in 1975 marked the end of active research. The creation of the EMBL as a physical entity and more importantly as an international centre of excellence where several teams and research projects could co-exist and collaborate was a lasting achievement. In addition, or in consequence, Kendrew's diplomatic skills, mastery of detail and experience in chairmanship made him constantly in demand on a wider stage. He served, often as chairman, on the scientific councils or advisory boards of laboratories or research institutions in Naples, Basel, Brussels, Stockholm, Heidelberg and others, on various UNESCO committees, and on many electoral boards for honours and appointments in Britain and abroad. His formal association with science at the international level may be said to have culminated in his service with the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) as Secretary-General 1974-1980 and President 1983-1988.

 

Kendrew's original contract of secondment from the Medical Research Council and appointment as Director-General of the EMBL was renewed twice, until 1982 when he retired on reaching the age of 65. His last appointment brought him back to Oxford as President of St. John's College until 1987. Since then he has lived in his house near Cambridge, maintaining his connections or continuing active involvement with many organisations, notably as Past-President and Member of the Executive Board of ICSU, as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Joint Research Centre of the European Economic Communities, and other international associations.

Subjects:
  • Biochemistry
Creator Names:
  • Kendrew, Sir, John Cowdery, 1917-1997, Knight, scientist and molecular biologist
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • The material was received from Kendrew at various dates April 1987 to April 1989. Certain additional papers, chiefly those relating to his personal life or to ongoing concerns, remain in his charge during his lifetime.

Conditions of access:

SOME OF THE MATERIAL IN THE COLLECTION MAY BE SUBJECT TO RESTRICTED ACCESS.

 

ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:

 

The Keeper of Western Manuscripts

 

The Bodleian Library

 

Oxford OX1 3BG

 

Some sections or items in the collection may be subject to restricted access.

Note:

Compiled by Jeannine Alton

 

The assembling of the material, and the compilation and production of this catalogue, have been made possible by a generous subvention from THE LEVERHULME TRUST

 

The completion of this Catalogue of the personal papers of Sir John Kendrew is a significant event in the work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, both in the nature of its subject matter and in the manner of its achievement.

 

This is not the only occasion on which we have undertaken the task of working on the papers of a living scientist. But it is the first time that an opportunity has been taken to examine such a large collection at a time when the subject was retiring from his major scientific and academic commitments, and was still available to guide us in our analysis of its contents. We are extremely grateful to Sir John for his ready co-operation in this task.

 

The project has also been significant because it has provided an excellent opportunity to engage the experience and expertise of Mrs Jeannine Alton, the former Executive Director of the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre. It is difficult to imagine how the task could have been completed within the time available to us without the dedication of Mrs Alton. All researches in the history of molecular biology will be greatly in her debt.

 

Finally, the project could not have been tackled without the generous and understanding help of the Leverhulme Trust. On behalf of NCUACS I would like to record our gratitude to the Director, Sir Rex Richards, and the Trustees of the Leverhulme Trust, for their support.

 

Thanks are due primarily to Sir John Kendrew for initially allowing his papers to go forward for cataloguing, and for his continuing invaluable interest in the process. He has made himself freely available for consultation at every stage and placed his almost total recall at the disposal of the compiler. At his instance, Dr. R.G. Parrish and Professor J. Wyman have also made relevant material available from their own records.

 

Professor Sir David Phillips has kindly given advice and information and helped to identify material on the joint Royal Institution - MRC Unit research.

 

Dr. E.A. Leedham-Green of Cambridge University Archives and Dr. R.W. Lovatt of Peterhouse have helped with information on Kendrew's Cambridge years.

 

Members and former members of the staff of the Department of Western Manuscripts Bodleian Library and of NCUACS have been unfailing sources of information, advice and encouragement.

 

Hazel Gott has faced the processing and revising of the catalogue with remarkable resilience and aplomb.

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