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History of Medicine Finding Aids

Wyndham Miles NIH Oral History Collection 1962-1973
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Gift of Joshua Lederberg, 1998, etc.

Access Restrictions:

Portions of the collection are restricted. Contact the Reference Staff for information regarding access.


Copyright was transferred to the public domain. Contact the Reference Staff for details regarding rights.

Preferred Citation:

Lederberg, Joshua. Joshua Lederberg Papers. 1904-2008. Located in: Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD; MS C 552.

Alternate Forms Available:

Portions of the Collection have been digitized and are available at:

Processing Information:

Processing InformationDigitization Documents from the collection appearing on the National Library of Medicine website, Profiles in Science (, are wrapped by a Mylar band and a paper marker. The marker provides the UI or "unique identifier" for individual documents. The UI is a series of letters assigned to each scanned document used for tracking purposes in the metadata system.In several series two different approaches are present. Documents that were not scanned are segregated with a note inserted indicating why. These groups were encased in whole sheets of Mylar. It should be noted that the older system destroyed the original order of these items. Some documents originally appearing together were separated when one section was earmarked for scanning while the other was not. Infrequently the reverse method was also employed; scanned items are encased in Mylar instead. As time permitted these Mylar sleeves were removed; however, some still remain interspersed throughout the collection.Folder DatesIf a complete date could not be determined, the folder is filed before those with full dates (example: "Calendar Files; 1989; Summer Study Program," comes before, "Calendar Files; 1989; January 3; CASBS; Advisory Board Meeting"). The majority of dates represent the actual day of an event but the date may also reflect when the first document in one file was received or sent to Lederberg. If the document is correspondence or related to a piece of correspondence, several dates will usually appear on the document. The dates can indicate when Lederberg received the document or when he responded to it. Folder dates can also be by year without a specific day or month.Oversize ItemsThe designation "OS" in the finding aid refers to items located in an oversize box. (example: OS1 2 "Artwork [Photocopies]" means that the folder "Artwork [Photocopies]" is located in folder 2 of Oversize Box 1).

Appendix: An Account of Lederberg's recruitment to, and career with, the University of Wisconsin

Academic Supplement Material, by-Susan McDonough (May 27, 1999)

[Please note that Susan McDonough was a historian hired by Lederberg to document and organize his papers at Rockefeller University before they were donated to the National Library of Medicine]

Replacement/JL's Recruitment

In June 1947, Professor of Genetics L. J. Cole of the College of Agriculture of the University of Wisconsin, reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 and the Department of Genetics sought his replacement. As early as March 31, 1944 the department had been considering who ought to replace Professor Cole. Professor R. A. Brink, chair of the Department of Genetics, wrote a letter to Dean E. B. Fred on that date notifying him of Cole's impending retirement and requesting that Wisconsin make an effort to keep Ray Owen, who was at that time an assistant professor of genetics in the department, on the faculty. Owen had received an offer from Cornell University that Brink wanted Wisconsin to match in order to convince Owen to stay. Although Owen ultimately did not accept the Cornell offer at that time, he did move to the faculty of the California Institute of Technology, first for a one-year fellowship and then for a full-time position, in 1946, when an outside search for Cole's replacement began in earnest. A series of letters indicate the geneticists whom Brink considered as Cole's replacement. They included Max R. Zelle, John Laughnan, N. Horowitz, Bernard Phinney, J. M. Severens and Joshua Lederberg.

E. L. Tatum added JL's name to those under consideration for the University of Wisconsin position. Tatum, JL's advisor at Yale, had received both his graduate and undergraduate degrees at the University of Wisconsin. In a letter dated April 30, 1947, Brink wrote to Tatum, informed him of Cole's retirement, and asked for his suggestions for a young man who will work on the genetics of microorganisms who would be interested in the post at Wisconsin, which consisted mostly of lab work with the possibility of a light teaching load. Tatum's response of May 12th listed JL among five possible candidates, and gave JL the most glowing endorsement. Tatum commended his work on E. Coli and called JL perhaps the most promising young man yet trained in this field, although he indicated two potential problems with JL's candidature: his age and race. While Tatum was confident that JL's ability in the lab more than compensated for those two drawbacks, his mention of them indicates awareness that his colleagues might consider them to be real deficiencies.

It seems that Brink also considered JL's scholarship to be much more significant than his personal characteristics, for, after receiving from Tatum a number of JL's reprints and paper manuscripts, Brink responded to Tatum on May 31, 1947 with a more detailed description of both the position and Wisconsin's College of Agriculture and the place of genetics within the college. Brink questioned whether JL would be at home in a college of agriculture, whether he would be able to work well in an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental environment, and finally returned the question of JL's race. Would he be able to overcome as an individual the prejudice against his race, which he doubtless would occasionally encounter [at Wisconsin] as in many other universities? In his response of June 6th, Tatum reiterated that JL's personality, though occasionally thoughtless as a result of his single-minded concentration on science and the problem in hand, would in no way impede his success at a professor at Wisconsin. He added that JL was very interested in the position and listed other professors as references, including C. B. Van Neil (Hopkins Marine Station), F. J. Ryan (Columbia University), S. Bayne-Jones (Jane Coffin Child Fund) and T. M. Sonneborn (Indiana University).

While in correspondence with Tatum, Brink was also in contact with E. W. Sinnott, the director of the scientific graduate schools at Yale. Brink requested his opinion of JL, and particularly his opinion of JL's interest in working at an agriculture college when most of his work until that point had been in medicine. Sinnott's reply of June 4th was unambiguous: he called JL the best man of any student that Sinnott had known, and a very brilliant investigator. While he noted that JL would have no difficulty in working with other people, and would indeed act as a catalyst of excellent discussion and work, he added that JL had had, in the past, the reputation of being pushy and disinclined to observe social niceties. Sinnott called attention again to JL's ethnicity and commented that he would have difficulty surviving and anti-Semitic community. The letter ends on an entirely positive note, however, with Sinnott endorsing completely JL as a candidate for the Wisconsin position. Additional support for JL's candidature came from S. Bayne-Jones, the administrator of the Jane Coffin Child Fund which funded JL's year and a half at Yale.

Other opinions of JL were not as positive. Dennis Watson, in a July 10th letter to Brink, passed on a quotation from Dr. Bloom at Yale's Department of Internal Medicine, which acknowledged JL's particularly keen intellect, but added that he was clumsy in the lad and had antagonized others with his overbearing air of certainty.

It was not until July 19th that Brink contacted JL directly, although Tatum had indicated in a June 23rd letter that JL was anxious to know his status with Wisconsin. (He had to decide whether or not to return to medical school. He had funding promised from the Jane Coffin Child Fund and had to notify Columbia about his decision.) In the July 19th letter, Brink outlined the terms of JL's potential appointment: assistant professor with an academic year salary of $3500, and additional funds for summer research. He described the position in full, indicating that Wisconsin was looking for a researcher who would develop a core program in genetics and work closely with microbiologists in related fields. Although the position was primarily for research, it would be JL's responsibility to teach any courses for which the need arose. Brink was honest about greatest handicap of the department-a lack of lab space and facilities-but described plans to ameliorate the situation.

JL's response of 21 July indicated his interest in the position and his plan to visit Wisconsin on August 20th. He reiterated his need to hear a definitive answer from Wisconsin with dispatch, as Columbia was waiting for his decision about whether or not he would return to medical school.

While JL was planning his trip to Wisconsin, research about others opinions of him continued. On August 13th, Ray Owen, who has left Wisconsin for Cal Tech, wrote an exhaustive review of the varied opinions about JL and concluded with a recommendation to give him a try at Wisconsin. The majority opinion of the Cal Tech genetics department was against JL: he was criticized for sloppiness in the lab, overweening ambition which led him imprudently to support spectacular conclusions from his experiments, and arrogance. Despite these opinions, Owens relied on the word of Bob Balentine who knew JL at Columbia and Galston who met JL at Yale, both of whom supported his candidacy.

A note from JL to Brink, also written August 13th, outlines the itinerary for his visit to Wisconsin and indicates the topic for his job talk: Genetic Recombination in E. Coli. While there are no letters that describe JL's talk or his initial impression upon the Wisconsin faculty, on August 23rd, Brink wrote to JL with a formal offer for the position with assurance from the dean of the college that adequate lab space would be provided after a brief tenure in a temporary laboratory. Despite his ultimate victory, the letters in JL's file do not indicate Brinks struggle to convince his department to accept JL. In an excerpt from an interview with Brink for the University of Wisconsin's Oral History Project, Brink recalled that the majority of his department had deep reservations about JL's background in medicine and his ability to work at a college of agriculture. Despite the support of Dean Ira Baldwin and Professor Bob Irwin, Brink stated in his interview that JL would never have been appointed without the letters of support from Sinnott and Owens. [JL states that at the time of his appointment, he was unaware of the controversy his candidacy was creating.]

In a letter written on August 25th, JL accepted the offer to become an assistant professor at Wisconsin, with a request for particular lab equipment, and notice that he and Esther Lederberg would arrive in Madison between the 15th and 20th of September 1947.

A series of letters between JL and Brink over the subsequent weeks touch upon the possibility of partial funding for JL's and EML's move to Madison, laboratory equipment, and housing.

*Brink's initial support of JL's candidacy for the University of Wisconsin post remained constant. A January 9th, 1950 letter to JL acknowledged JL's offer of a position at the University of Chicago's Institute of Radiobiology and Biophysics, and assured him of the steps being taken by the administration of the University of Wisconsin to increase his laboratory space, to provide air conditioning to the existing space, and plans to increase both JL's salary and rank. He also assured JL that both Dean Froker and President Fred were wholeheartedly committed to making his tenure at Wisconsin productive and fulfilling. [JL notes that the lab was never more than a few hundred square feet, and without air conditioning, agar plates simply would not gel in the summer.]

ONCE THERE- See files on Genetics Department, Grants NB: All files personnel files from JL's tenure at Wisconsin were removed from this set of files 5.27.99 for JL's review. They will be sent to Barry Ticher at the University of Wisconsin Archives. Once JL accepted the position to move to the University, he was very active both in developing existing programs and innovating others.

Space Concerns: As Brink acknowledged in his first letter to JL in 1947, the space allotted to the Genetics laboratories was less than ideal. The search and negotiation for space was a theme throughout JL's tenure at Wisconsin. He was promised more office space in 1950 as part of an inducement to keep him at Wisconsin in the face of an offer from the University of Chicago. Although there was space in the Department of Genetics building as a result of the move of the Veterinary Sciences department, the space needed significant remodeling before it was usable. In January of 1953, however, Bob Irwin wrote a letter to Dean Froker to request again that the university provide additional lab space and that a failure to provide it might make JL more disposed to consider more favorably the next offer to leave the University of Wisconsin.

An undated faculty report from the Department of Genetics outlines the proposals for use of the space vacated by the Veterinary Science department, and on March 28, 1956, JL wrote a letter to Bill Sarles of the Bacteriology Department asking him to thank the department for sharing their space and resources while the Genetics labs were being remodeled. (One of JL's files has architectural plans, presumably for this renovation?) Despite these new accommodations, the question of space resurfaces in JL's files in letters as late as 1959 with a proposal for a separate Genetics building. By 1963, the Genetics department had a new building, although JL had left for Stanford in 1959.

Teaching and Research:

5.27.99. While at the University of Wisconsin, JL received a series of grants to finance his research. He received both governmental and private foundation support. Beginning in 1948, JL applied for a grant from the Public Health Service (NIH) to support his research on the genetics of Salmonella (RG 1445). This grant was renewed until 1958. The NIH also supplied funding for JL's project The Genetics of Bacteria (E 72-C (3)) On April 21, 1949, Dr. J. T. Culbertson conducted an on-site visit to JL's labs at Wisconsin, and gave the project a favorable review. The Atomic Energy Commission funded a project entitled Cytogenetic Effects of Radiation on Bacteria for which JL submitted a final report on March 1, 1953. For the Chemical Corps Biological Laboratories, JL worked on a project entitled Genetic Studies of Lysogenicity in E. Coli. This project concluded on September 14th, 1953. JL indicated in a letter to Dr. Kroening, the assistant to the VP of Business and Finance at the University of Wisconsin, on August 24th, 1953 that he had no interest in renewing the terms of the grant because of the clearance and reporting procedures mandated by the Chemical Corp.

Beginning in 1948 and continuing throughout the duration of his tenure at Wisconsin, JL received funding from WARF- the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation- for Genetics of Bacteria. The Rockefeller Foundation was another supporter of JL's work in this field. He received four three-year grants, beginning in 1948. Annual reports for both of these funders are found in JL's files, as are letters between JL and the granting institutions about the terms of the grants. A summary of the main lines of research which JL undertook at Wisconsin in entitled Research in Microbial Genetics, 1947-57 (Q36).

Although JL was hired for a research position, his duties at Wisconsin came to include teaching. He taught Genetics 107: Heredity in Microorganisms which covered topics such as heredity and continuity in bacteria, spontaneous and induced hereditary variation, population dynamics and natural selection, the genetics of Neurospora and related fungi, yeast genetics, types of transformation in pneumococci, sexuality in bacteria, and recombination in bacteriophage. JL also taught Genetics 108- Genetics of Microorganisms which was a more detailed treatment of the material covered in 107. See P-26a for more information on this theme.

Development of Medical Genetics: While at the University of Wisconsin, JL developed a separate department of Medical Genetics under the auspices of the Medical School. With the assistance and support of John Bowers, the dean of the medical school, and the Department of Genetics within the College of Agriculture, JL developed a proposal to create a focus on genetics within the medical school. The proposal suggested the appointment Dr. Newton Morton, a student of James Crows from the Department of Genetics, as an assistant professor attached to the Department of Anatomy, who would teach a course in Human Genetics. Other courses in the program were to be taught though existing programs in various departments, especially genetics. There was to be a research component, supervised by various staff members and a seminar, also directed by staff members. The Rockefeller Foundation provided three years worth of fending and on March 15, 1957, JL received a telegram from John Bowers, which read Appointment enthusiastically approved. JL was the chairman of the new department of medical genetics with a joint appointment in the Medical School and the College of Agriculture, as per the suggestion of the ad hoc Committee on the Expansion of the Program in Medical Genetics and the Department of Genetics, which approved this idea during its faculty meeting of March 7th, 1957.

In an April 26th letter, Bowers took the recommendations of the ad hoc committee to the university president, E. B. Fred, and asked him to present to the Regents of the University, for their approval, the establishment of the Department of Medical Genetics in the Medical School. The official establishment of the department was reported in the June 1957 edition of Wisconsin Medical Alumni Journal.

JL wrote a letter to his parents on December 25th, 1957 in which he described the fledgling medical genetics program, physician's attitudes towards the program and plans for a new research building to house the program. He also discussed plans for an April 1958 Symposium on Medical Genetics, hosted at Wisconsin. The purpose of the symposium would be to dedicate the new department and to allow attendees from other medical programs to see that the new Wisconsin program had to offer. Wisconsin would act as a model for other programs.

Once established, the medical genetics department continued to expand. On May 10th, 1957, not long after his own appointment was approved, JL approached Bowers with a request to appoint Kimball C. Atwood, an MD who researched radiation biology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. JL argued that Atwood's background as an MD and research scientist would enhance the program by providing a staff member with professional qualifications in medicine. On January 10th, 1958, in a letter to Fred, Irwin endorsed Atwood's appointment on behalf of the genetics department and on January 21st, Bowers reiterated the support of the medical school fro such an appointment. Funding, however, proved problematic. President Fred and Vice President Baldwin indicated in an August 27th memo that they would only approve the appointment in the Medical School could provide the funding for Atwood's appointment. On March 17th, 1958, JL, Bowers, Fred and C.A. Elvehjem decided to wait to make a formal offer to Atwood until after he had delivered a paper at the Symposium on Medical Genetics and that Bowers ought to apply to the Rockefeller Foundation for funding to cover Atwood's salary for three years. He did so in a letter dated March 19, 1958. It is not clear from the correspondence whether or not a job offer was ever extended to Atwood.

Concurrently with his specific interest in developing the department in medical genetics, JL had broader concerns about the opportunities for medical students interested in pursuing a research-oriented career. In a February 21, 1956 he addressed some of his ideas in letter to John Bowers. Speaking partially from his own experiences as a medical student and partially as an observer of others, JL commented on the roadblocks that the current medical school curricula laid in the paths of students interested more in research than in clinical practice. He suggested a designated program in which second year medical students would be able to apply as transfer students to a graduate program in a research-oriented field. Although not part of a formal program, this similar to the path JL followed when he left Columbia for Yale.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES AND ENGAGEMENTS WHILE AT WISCONSIN- For these events, see JL's Past Calendar files. They were included in this narrative for context, but are not included in this shipment. While a professor at the University of Wisconsin, JL maintained a full engagement calendar, both during the summer and the academic year. This synopsis will not list all his engagements, but rather highlight a few to give a sense of the wide range of his activities. In 1949, JL attended the meeting of the Society of American Bacteriologists in Cincinnati from May 16th until the 20th where he participated in a round-table discussion on, Genetic studies on lactose fermentation in E. Coli. From May 30th until June 2nd, JL attended the Shelter Island Gene Conference, to which he was one of the approximately 25 invitees. JL's notes from this conference are included in the file.

During the summer of 1950, JL was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught an undergraduate course in bacterial genetics as well as a graduate seminar. One of JL's students in that course, Francis Black, recovered his copy of the notes he took during the lectures and sent them to JL. They are included in the files.

On February 16th, 1953, JL delivered a lecture at Ohio State University entitled Genetic studies with enteric bacteria, en route back to Wisconsin from an extended visit to the CDC and Phil Edwards in Chamblee, Georgia. [On this car trip the Lederbergs were accompanied by Clive C. Spicer (from Colindale,) a visiting fellow.] April 21, 1953 found JL at the University of Illinois College of Agriculture lecturing on the Mechanisms of genetic recombination in bacteria. In August of the same year, JL returned to the Bay area to accept the Lilly Award at the Meeting of the Society of American Bacteriologists.

On April 4th, 1954, JL gave a talk at the Naval Medical Research Center in Bethesda; and in July of the same year he, along with Drs. Preer, Sussman and Ryan, participated in a seminar at the University of Michigan.

One of the responsibilities JL accepted in 1955 was to act as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, offering his judgment of grant proposals that were submitted to the NSF. [This was JL's introduction to the peer review Washington network.]

The Symposium on Genetics in Medical Research was held in Madison from April 11th through April 13, 1958. Every medical school in the U.S. was invited to send a participant, and papers from the conference were published in the Journal of Medical Education, of which John Bowers was the editor. One problem arose for the conference organizers: there was a scheduling conflict between the symposium and a conference organized by Alexander Hollaender of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Although the files contain no record of the resolution of the conflict, there is a letter from JL to Hollaender explaining why (academic schedules and dormitory commitments) the Madison symposium could not be changed and asking him to reconsider the dates of the Gatlinburg conference.

In 1958, JL originally accepted an invitation to deliver a paper at the 10th Annual Congress of Genetics in Montreal. He later had to decline the invitation due to other commitments and difficulty in arranging travel. For JL had accepted another invitation to be a vice president of the section on microbial physiology and genetics, and moderator at the symposium on transformation, transduction and recombination at the 7th International Congress for Microbiology, which took place in Stockholm on August 4-9, 1958. In an interesting side note, JL had made a proposal to discuss cosmic microbiology at the conference. One of the responses to this suggestion, filtered through Carl Goran Heden, to JL, was from G. Penso who argued that such a topic could be a good source of international publicity for the conference since it would probably be the only thing that world newspapers will consider and propagate. JL's reply to Heden on March 11, 1958 indicated his distress with this interpretation of his suggested topic and explained that his intention was for the topic to generate serious policy recommendations within the world community of microbiologists.

On November 13, 1958, JL delivered the J. Howard Mueller Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology at the Harvard Medical School. His topic was Genes and Antibodies: Genetic Models of Immunity and Differentiation. His presentation was arranged through a long correspondence with Bernard D. Davis from the medical schools department of bacteriology and immunology. JL wrote a press release for the World Wide Medical News Service, outlining the main pints of his lecture. [This was published as P-80.]

Australia: December 24th, 1955, JL began an application to the Fulbright Committee, after Professor S. D. Rubbo of the Department of Bacteriology, University of Melbourne informed him that he had been nominated by the Australian Committee as a candidate for a Fulbright lectureship. [Rubbo had been a visitor in JL's lab in 1954.] Beginning in 1956, JL began negotiations with the University of Wisconsin to spend a period of time in Australia. In an October 10th letter to Dean Froker, JL announced that he and EML had received Fulbrights to research and lecture in Melbourne, Australia. JL described his main purpose for the stay in Australia: to work with Professor Sir MacFarland Burnet at the Institute of Pathology on the genetics of the influenza virus. [In fact, he ended up working on antibody formation with G. Nassal. See P-80 and P-76.]

On the way to Australia, on August 6th and 7th, 1957 JL and EML stopped in Hawaii to visit Dr. Carter and the Pineapple Research Institute to discuss symbiant biology. They proceeded to Fiji and visited Dr. Roy Edmonds, director of the Central Medical School, and arrived in Australia on August 12th. While in Australia, JL lectured in various scientific arenas around Australia, and also to groups such as the Victorian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Constitutional Club. A document entitled Notes on a Fulbright Trip to Australia and the research JL pursued there. An October 25th letter to Dr. Carter describes the visit to Fiji and the early days in Australia.

On the 6th of November 1957, JL and EML began their journey back to Wisconsin via India and Italy. [See P-274 re: their visit with JBS Haldane in Calcutta.]

The Nobel Prize: On October 30, 1958, JL, along with EL Tatum and George Beadle, was informed he had received the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology. The prize was announced two months after JL's decision to leave Wisconsin to chair the genetics department at Stanford was released. To acknowledge the role that the academic community at Wisconsin played in the research for which he won the Nobel Prize, JL donated his gold prize medal to the Regents of the University of Wisconsin. The files contain local Wisconsin press coverage and the University of Wisconsin press releases on this event. The ceremonies in Stockholm were December 10, 1958.


In February of 1957, President Fred received a number of letters from Wisconsin faculty urging him to make every effort to convince JL to remain at Wisconsin. Professor of Oncology Van R. Potter, Chairman of the Department of Zoology Arthur Hasler and Chairman of the Department of Botany JF Stauffer all wrote about the effects JL's departure would have on research and instruction at, and future of, the University of Wisconsin. Despite the wide-ranging support from fellow faculty members, JL accepted an offer to become the chairman of the Department of Genetics at Stanford University. On July 19th, 1958, JL sent President Elvehjem two letters: an informal note informing him of Stanford's offer and his acceptance and a more formal letter indicating his concrete plans for resignation. He cites the opportunity to work with Professor Kornberg and the offer of a chair in Genetics as the greatest motivating factors for his leave, although emphasizes that this decision ought not cause any doubt on the quality of the academic atmosphere at Wisconsin. Elvehjem responded on July 22, noting that the news was disturbing and offering to discuss the possibility of remaining at Wisconsin. [However, the opportunity to build genetics at a new medical school in California was irresistible.]

Appendix: CASBS and POSTS

Susan McDonough (5.3.99)

[Please note that Susan McDonough was a historian hired by Lederberg to document and organize his papers at Rockefeller University before they were donated to the National Library of Medicine]

Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Science (CASBS) and Program on Science, Technology and Society (POSTS.)

NB: In the file "POSTS," there is a document entitled "POSTS-An overview" which covers the immediate history of POSTS from the initial grant through the first three years of its operation. The document is dated January, 1974 and includes a history of expenditures, comments from POSTS fellows about their experience of the program, and a list of core projects by year. The document explains the concepts behind POSTS but does not explore specifically JL's involvement in originating the program. The following will concentrate on information not available in "POSTS- an overview."

CASBS history: POSTS and JL involvement

In June of 1958, JL received a letter from Ralph Tyler, the Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) in Stanford, California. Tyler indicated that JL had been nominated as a possible fellow at the Center and wanted to know whether or not he would be interested in such a position and included an article he had written for Science in 1956 describing the Center and its activities. While JL thanked him for the invitation, he noted that his schedule made it impossible to consider such a move for the next two to three years. Twenty for years after this initial invitation, JL wrote to Bob Lindee, the Associate Director of the Center, wondering "who in the world would have nominated me in 1958. I visualized myself as quite invisible to social science at the time." For the invitation to CASBS preceded JL's Nobel Prize by four months, and thus the renown gained from that accomplishment would not explain this invitation. JL surmised that Ralph Gerard might have nominated him, although Lindee's letter of February 17, 1982 reveled that Benson Ginsburg was JL's nominator. A letter JL wrote to Neil Smelser, the current Director of the Center, requesting the same information confirmed that Ginsburg was indeed the man responsible for the initial nomination. JL notes on Smelser's March 8, 1999 letter that Ginsburg is now a behavioral geneticist at the University of Connecticut.

It appears that 1967 was the year in which the idea for the interdisciplinary faculty seminars and study-groups developed. In a note written on February 10, 1982, JL recollected that David Hamburg (DAH) spent summers at the Center prior to 1967 and that JL would visit him there. The note goes on to say, "We discussed the concept of CAS. We had discussed STS issues at length: and could CAS be focus. (Period of my column!) DAH surely talked to Met Wilson; not clear how first contact with Consolazio to elicit NSF proposal." To confirm JL's 1982 recollections, the file contains a letter to JL from DAH, who wrote to him during September, 1967, in which Hamburg referred to "an exceedingly important, creative contribution that you could make in the direction we discussed, and I would be prepared to assist you in every possible way."

[NB: in the Sam 0 file, JL wrote a note himself wondering if the "new career challenge" DAH referred to an a 1967 letter was his "Science and Man" column in the Washington Post (1966-1971.) See also file on "National University," an idea of JL's for which a preliminary outline is extant dated c. April 1967. JL pointed out in a March 24, 1999 conversation with Susan McDonough that the ideology behind the National University and POSTS were related. On the outline for the National University, there is a note to cross reference Ken Hansen and David Hamburg.] The "cf Hansen" note probably referred to an outline for a request for funds to allow JL to study the variety of ways in which science can address societal problems and questions and define social goals which JL sent to Hansen in July 1967. [This proposal is attached to a letter from Hansen to Kermit Gordon, the Vice President of the Brookings Institution, in which Hansen suggestions that JL might take a sabbatical at Brookings during 1968-69. JL ultimately decided he did not want to leave Palo Alto for Washington D.C.]

In July 1970, JL came up with a concrete proposal for the program that became POSTS. In a proposal sent to Meredith Wilson, Director of CASBS, on July 27, 1970, entitled "Program on the acculturation of science," JL outlined a new program for CASBS. He suggested "that the Center set the goal of appointing some seven of its fellows each year with a view of the convergence of their interests on a given topic." The proposal sketches out the ideal composition of the group of seven, JL and David Hamburg's roles and explains why CASBS, with its proximity to Stanford, would be the ideal place for such an interdisciplinary group. The overall goal of this group would be to explore, from the perspective of various disciplines, the role of science and technology in society. [There are multiple drafts of "Program on the acculturation in science" in the file.]

The file contains no reaction from Wilson to the original proposal JL sent. However, an August 10, 1970 letter from Wilson to Robert K. Merton (RKM), a sociologist of science at Columbia, as well as a "founding father" and long-time board member of CASBS, indicates his support of the new project. In fact, he closed the letter with the following: "I may be over-optimistic about the possibilities, but at the moment I do not believe I am being optimistic when I say that I believe this program might allow the rhythm of the Center to remain undisturbed; might assure greater viability and substance to some of our seminars; and might solve our fiscal problems for five years."

Wilson sent a copy of his letter to RKM to JL and Hamburg on the following day, with a note of his plan to ask for support of eleven post-doctoral fellowships in the grant proposals. He reiterated the excitement in the last paragraph of his letter to RKM: "the more I consider the prospects of this proposal to the National Science Foundation, in which CASBS requested $1, 417, 200 as partial funding for "A Program Directed Toward Understanding a Technology-Dependent Civilization." The proposal described CASBS, explained how it could contribute to more effective communication, outlined the general problems that the new program would study, provided examples of the specific problems to be studied, and explained how the new program would function and what roles JL and DAH would play. The proposal also listed the members of the Advisory Council other than JL and DAH and their responsibilities. They included RKM, Caryl Haskins and Wilson. [The NSF proposal is a more extended version of the proposal JL wrote and distributed to Wilson and DAH.] Despite Wilson's enthusiasm for the new program, a memo from JL to Wilson indicates that others had concerns about how the new project would impact the Center. JL wrote on August 27, 1970, as if responding to a particular comment, that he understood "and would want to accommodate the concerns about distorting the Center's character." For it was important to all involved with the Center that the new program not disrupt the rhythm of individual investigators. POSTS was to be an opportunity, not a mandate, for collaboration. As this was a shared concern, the discussions about POSTS potential impact on scholarly life at CASBS were never polarized. Instead, they reflected a common interest in the new project and an equal commitment to maintaining intellectual independence at the Center.

On September 24, 1970, Preston Cutler and Meredith Wilson submitted the proposal to the NSF. The above paragraph describes the main points covered in the proposal, a copy of which remains in the file "CAS/POSTS NSF Applix."

On November 10 and November 18, 1970, George Brosseau, Division of Institutional Development of the NSF and the officer in charge of the CASBS proposal, had site visits with the Board of the Center. The first was in New York and the second, which included discussions with JL, DAH and Robert Sears, was the Center. JL and DAH were Scientists in Residence in the new program. ["POSTS- An overview" explains the path of the grant- it was sent first to Bill Consolazio, and then Brosseau took over as the officer in charge while he was at the Division of Institutional Development.]

The November 18 meeting between Brosseau and the Center staff evidently raised some questions about potentially murky sections of the NSF application. Therefore, on November 30, 1970, Wilson wrote to Brosseau clarifying the uncertain points. The letter explained the role of the Advisory Council, the decision not to have an overseer for the project (to avoid hampering the interdisciplinary style of POSTS), results of previous comparable projects (especially the 1962-63 Consistency Theory Project,) and sources of funds anticipated for 1971-1972.

By January of 1971, the Center was notifying scholars of the potential for an interdisciplinary scholarly program focused on science and technology and society. Responding to John Platt, Mental Health Research Institute, University of Michigan, Wilson described the plan to "assemble a group of scholars for 1972-73 who have a scholarly interest in man's necessary relationship to the world around him."

In March, Brosseau contacted Wilson to inform him that the POSTS proposal had been sent to a new division of the NSF, RANN (Research Applied to National Needs,) and he had been transferred to the new division and would remain the officer in charge. [This process is documented in "POSTS- and overview."] A March 29, 1971 letter from Preston Cutler, written in Wilson's absence, indicated the Center's acceptance of the "change of venue" for the POSTS grant proposal and detailed the role the POSTS Advisory Council would play in administering the grant.

The change in institutions overseeing the grant proposal did not impact the POSTS grant negatively. On May 13, 1971, William McElroy, Director of the NSF announced that POSTS was one of six projects to which RANN granted funds. The Center received 1.5 million to "study the societal consequences of the technological dependence of modern society in the context of systematic projection of future alternatives." Five days after this announcement, AH (who is this?) recounted a conversation with Brousseau in a memo to Wilson and Cutler. The conversation explained the procedure for dispersing the funds, and relayed Brosseau's suggestion that minutes from the Advisory Council meeting be sent to the NSF as well as his advise to hold off on requesting funding for a new building until after the second year of the grant. POSTS was underway.

While POSTS was gathering steam, JL was exploring other themes connected to the POSTS mission but not directly a part of it. A collection of notes from June and July 1971 reveal JL's interest in "technology assessment." He listed a number of universities and programs that make and investigate TA, and asked what useful role the Center could play in such a study. He sent a June 28, 1971 memo to Wilson entitled "TA programs workshop/CASBS-STS" which suggested that "this would be an opportunity for the Center to place a role analogous to Cold Spring Harbor for Molecular Biology, or Woods Hole for cell physiology." He proposed a seven to ten day conference with approximately thirty-five participants and a series of preliminary contacts. The files do not indicate whether or not this conference materialized.

On September 27, 1971, Philip Ritterbush, Archives of Institutional Change, responded to a letter from JL [not in file.] Ritterbush praised "the study outlined in [JL's] prospectus" and went on to suggested a number of citations criticizing the modern university, the role of universities and non-universities in research, and the benefits and obstacles to interdisciplinary research. It is unclear whether this letter was a comment on POSTS, on JL's planned conference on TA, or on something entirely different.

JL as a POSTS Fellow

For the year 1973-1974, JL was deeply involved in the POSTS project "The Historical Sociology of Scientific Knowledge." JL, along with RKM, HAZ, Yehuda Elkana and Arnold Thackray (who had all worked together before their arrival at the Center) decided to work on a series of interconnected projects. The various projects are described in full in a document entitled "Historical Sociology of Science: A POSTS group, 1973-74" which RKM wrote on January 27, 1974. [This document is contained in a folder by the same name.] The files do not reveal how this group coalesced, but the projects that developed between JL, RKM and HAZ, in particular, continued long beyond the scope of the one-year POSTS projects. Indeed, HAZ and JL continued to work together using JL's discovery of sexual recombination in E. coli as a case-study into the late 1970s. See JL's TX24/B209 files for more on this period.

Science Indicators

One goal of the POSTS group in which JL was involved was "to provide for position papers on the developing of indicators of science and science development in preparation for a small conference on the problem to be organized at the Center early in the summer of 1974." The folder entitled CAS/SCIENCE INDICATOR CONF. 6/74 contains Arnold Thackray's summary of the conference for the AAAS, letters of invitation to possible participants and some papers generated for the conference. Yehuda Elkana sent the letter of invitation, in which he explained the "seeding factor" for the conference: the National Science Board's Science Indicators '72. He went to lay out the question which the conference would attempt to answer, namely "What must one look at in order to estimate the condition of science as an intellectual activity or a s social institution?" The end result of this conference was a volume introduced and edited by the POSTS small group, Towards a Metric of Science (p254.)

The Afterlife and Influence of POSTS

In a conversation on April 20, 1999, JL mused over the long-range results of the POSTS program. Although the focused funding for the program was phased out and the concentration on interplay between science and society has broadened, the concept of collaborative projects has endured at the Center, and the salaries for five to seven fellows per year are set aside to work on a theme which has been chosen from the suggested pool to topics.

There were certain direct results of POSTS, like Towards a Metric of Science and the collaboration between JL and Harriet Zuckerman. More than these individual results, however, JL noted that everyone involved in POSTS was touched by it, and that their careers were influenced by the year at the CASBS for many subsequent years. Most of the influence was indirect; the sociologists of science were moved to think about the interface of science, technology and society and well as the influence that scholars from different disciplines could bring to their work. JL also commented that the discussions at the Center contributed to the current thought on the development of the Office of Technology Assessment. For more on this, see P196, "The Freedom and the Control of Science - Notes from the Ivory Tower." Southern California Law Review 45: 596-614.

Appendix: CASBS Science Indicators Project

Susan McDonough (5.24.99)

[Please note that Susan McDonough was a historian hired by Lederberg to document and organize his papers at Rockefeller University before they were donated to the National Library of Medicine]

CASBS Science Indicators Project (The material outcome of this project was P254)

NB: Files on the same subject were sent to NLM on 5.12.99 in a box containing the files from the Center for Advance Studies in Behavioral Science (CASBS,) which included a brief explanation of the Science Indicators project. Please see Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Science (CASBS) and Program on Science, Technology and Society (POSTS) History (5.3.99) for the context for these files. Ultimately, these files should be meshed with those pertaining to the Science indicators Project contained within the CASBS files.

These files are chock full of notes and correspondence between the principal figures of the Science Indicators project- Yehuda Elkana (YE,) Joshua Lederberg (JL,) Robert Merton (RKM,) Arnold Thackray (AT) and Harriet Zuckerman (HAZ.) Some of them, like the letters from Elkana in Jerusalem during 1974-75, are valuable not only for their insight into the Science Indicators project per se, but for their historical content.

Science Indicators Project- cf P254, CASBS-POSTS

During the academic 1973-1974, JL was a fellow at CASBS as part of a group of five scholars working on the POSTS project "The Historical Sociology of Scientific Knowledge." JL, along with RKM, HAZ, Yehuda Elkana and Arnold Thackray (who had all worked together before their arrival at the Center) decided to work on a series of interconnected projects. The various projects are described in full in a document entitled "Historical Sociology of Science: A POSTS group, 1973-75" which RKM wrote on January 27, 1974. [This document is contained in a folder by the same name.] One of these projects was about Science Indicators.

From June 13-June 15, 1974, CASBS and the Social Science Research Council funded a conference on Science Indicators at CASBS, which was organized and convened by YE, RKM, JL, AT, and HAZ. The folder entitled CAS/SCIENCE INDICATOR CONF. 6/74 contains Arnold Thackray's summary of the conference for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, letters of invitation to possible participants and some papers generated for the conference. Yehuda Elkana sent the letter of invitation, in which he attributed the "seeding factor" for the conference to the National Science Board's Science Indicators '72. He went on to lay out the question which the conference would attempt to answer, namely "What must one look at in order to estimate the condition of science as an intellectual activity or as a social institution?" At the conference itself, RKM gave the introduction, a transcription of which is in the file "Sci Inds RKM transcr." In his speech, he suggested that the conference would "explore the subject of science indicators from a variety of perspectives - historical, sociological, economic, political, philosophical. We hope that the discussion will provide basis and context for the invention of appropriate science indicators if we conclude that science indicators are both feasible and useful." Lists of participants, correspondence between the participants and thank-you letters for attendance are included in the files.

After the conference was over, the conveners invited the participants, and a few other authors, to submit manuscripts for publication in a volume which was ultimately entitled Towards a Metric of Science: The Advent of Science Indicators. (John Wiley & Sons, 1978.) (P254) and edited by YE, JL, RKM, AT and HAZ. Although JL could not attend the final meeting, the other editors met in Jerusalem in January 1975 to finalize the manuscript. Notes from this meeting as well as their comments on the edited manuscripts, correspondence with the editors at John Wiley and Sons, and correspondence within the group of five are in this set of files.

Appendix: Temporary Files Notes

Susan McDonough (5.4.99)

[Please note that Susan McDonough was a historian hired by Lederberg to document and organize his papers at Rockefeller University before they were donated to the National Library of Medicine]

This box contains JL's B209 files, which have been given the new designation TX 24. (Please note that TX files is another name for the T files or "Temporary" files located in the Writing series.) JL's TX series indicates overall projects headings which may or may not have come to fruition. The following will be a brief explanation of B209/TX24 and a general description of the contents of this box.

TX24 was a project that began at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavior Science in Stanford, CA. CASBS had a unique opportunity for scholars, the Program on Science, Technology and Society, to collaborate on a year-long project. [For a history of POSTS and JL's role in the development, see Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Science (CASBS) and Program on Science, Technology and Society (POSTS,) a narrative included with the files on the subject.] For the academic year 1973-1974, JL was a POSTS fellow at the Center, where he worked primarily with the sociologists of science Harriet Zuckerman (HAZ) and Robert Merton (RKM). Yehuda Elkana and Arnold Thackray were also members of this group. The five came together to study the broad category of the historical sociology of science, and RKM drew up a comprehensive list of the different projects which the group would cover during the year. This document is entitled "Historical Sociology of Science: A POSTS group, 1973-74" and it is contained in a file of the same name. This file can be found with the CASBS/POSTS files.

In this box are many drafts and states of proof of the manuscript on which JL, HAZ and RKM collaborated. Although it was never published in its entirety, their work led to two publications: Joshua Lederberg. "Forty Years of Genetic Recombination in Bacteria: A Fortieth Anniversary Reminiscence." Nature 324:627-628 (1986.) [P266] and Harriet Zuckerman and Joshua Lederberg. "Forty Years of Genetic Recombination in Bacteria. Post-Mature Scientific Discovery?" Nature 324:629-631 (1986.) [P267]. These were the two substantive publications which resulted from the work of JL and HAZ, but there are other publications tangentially related to the topic which are scattered throughout the files.

A subset of the TX 24 files in this box are those on pre- and post-mature discovery, the topic on which JL and HAZ ultimately published papers. These files contain notes, research on scientific examples which fulfilled the criteria of pre- or post-mature discovery and correspondence between JL and HAZ.

Also in this box you will find miscellaneous background material and a number of files on the examination of scientific disciplines. These files were part of a small project which JL worked on with Arnold Thackray, during his year as a POSTS fellow.