Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of GEOFFREY EMETT BLACKMAN, FRS; (1903-1980)

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

Details of Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of GEOFFREY EMETT BLACKMAN, FRS; (1903-1980)
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of GEOFFREY EMETT BLACKMAN, FRS; (1903-1980)
Reference: CSAC 79.3.81
Description:

SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL & PERSONAL A.1 - A.19

 

SECTION B LECTURES B.1 - B.7

 

SECTION C NOTES, DRAFTS & WORKING PAPERS C.1 - C.46

 

SECTION D COMMITTEES & CONSULTANCIES D.1 - D.202

 

D.1 -D.67 Biology War Committee

 

(With an introductory note)

 

D.68 -D.86 Commonwealth Development Corporation

 

D.87 East Malling Research Station

 

D.88 -D.98 International Biological Programme

 

(With an introductory note)

 

D.99 -D.194 National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Committee on the Effects of Herbicides in Vietnam

 

(With an introductory note)

 

D.195-D.201 Rubber Research Institute of Malaya

 

(With an introductory note)

 

D.202 UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme

 

SECTION E CORRESPONDENCE E.1 - E.12

Date: 1863-1981
Held by: Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: 286 files
Administrative History:

Blackman came from a family which has included several distinguished scientists; his father, Vernon Herbert Blackman, FRS, and his uncle, Frederick Frost Blackman, FRS, were both botanists, and his aunt, Dame Harriette Chick, was a well-known nutritionist. Blackman always felt pride in continuing this tradition, and often refers to the work of his father; a little material relating to the Blackman family can be found in Section A (see especially A.8 - A.14). Blackman's accounts of his own career and involvement in the study of factors stimulating and inhibiting plant growth can be found at A.3.

 

After graduating from Cambridge, Blackman worked briefly at Rothamsted Experimental Station and then from 1927 to 1933 as Head of Botany Section at the I.C.I. Research Station at Jealott's Hill, Bracknell, where Sir Frederick Keeble was Director; Blackman's main research was on grasses and on the use of sulphuric acid in weed control. In 1933 he moved to Imperial College, London, as Lecturer in Ecology in the Department of Botany, and remained there (under secondment to the Agricultural Research Council 1942 - 45) until 1945, when he moved to Oxford as Sibthorpian Professor of Rural Economy. Here he continued research on weed control, but also directed research teams on growth analysis.

 

During the Second World War, Blackman played an active part in initiating the Biology War Committee, of which he was Secretary throughout its existence (see D.1 - D.67 and the accompanying introductory note). The Committee advised on research projects and co-ordinated the results in reports on various aspects of improved sources and production of food, weed control, etc. One of these, on the distribution of the spindle tree, produced a wide public response, and the resulting correspondence and data provide a virtually nation-wide picture of the distribution of the species - arranged by the old counties of Britain (see D.44 - D.59).

 

Blackman's own primary research interest was in weed control, selective toxicity and herbicide techniques, and his international reputation in these areas led to his being invited in 1971 to serve on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Effects of Herbicides in Vietnam. This difficult and controversial assignment is well documented in D.99 - D.194 and is also referred to in the correspondence in A.17, A.18.

 

SUMMARY OF CAREER

 

b.1903 (Son of Vernon Herbert Blackman, FRS)

 

educ. King's College School, Wimbledon

 

1923 - 26 St. John's College, Cambridge (Natural Science Tripos) Half-blue for rifle shooting 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926

 

1926 - 27 Department of Physics, Rothamsted Experimental Station

 

1927 - 35 Head of Botany Section, I.C.I. Research Station, Jealott's Hill, Bracknell, Berks.

 

1931 married Audrey Babette Seligman

 

1935 - 45 Lecturer in Ecology, Department of Botany, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London

 

1935 - 40 Assistant Scientific Editor, Gardeners' Chronicle

 

1942 - 46 Secretary, Biology War Committee

 

1945 - 70 Sibthorpian Professor of Rural Economy, Oxford University

 

1950 - 70 Director, Agricultural Research Council Unit of Experimental Agronomy, Oxford University

 

1959 Fellow of the Royal Society (Vice-President 1967 - 68)

 

1963 - 64 President, Institute of Biology

 

1971 - 74 Member, National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Effects of Herbicides in Vietnam

Subjects:
  • Biology
  • Agronomy
Creator Names:
  • Blackman, Geoffrey Emett, 1903-1980, scientist and agronomist
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • The material was assembled from Blackman's home, and from his former rooms at the Department of Forestry, Oxford, and the University Field Station at Wytham.

     

    Several colleagues of Blackman have allowed items of biographical or personal interest to be included in Section A.

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 and 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

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

We are glad to acknowledge expert help given by Dr. D.J. Osborne (Weed Research Organisation) and Mr. D.S. Porter (Bodleian Library, Oxford) in identifying and assessing material.

 

We thank Professor J.L. Harley and Mr. J.D. Fryer for their help in assembling recollections of Blackman, and those whose contributions are included in A.15 - A.18.

 

We are especially grateful to Mrs. Audrey Blackman for her enthusiastic encouragement of the work on the collection.

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