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Pope A. Lawrence Papers 1924-1983
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Correspondence, field studies, reports, scientific data, photographs, maps, and publications (1924-1983; 14.5 l.f.) document the varied research and policy-making career of Pope A. Lawrence, an environmental health scientist with the Public Health Service (PHS) and the Environmental Health Agency (EPA). His papers contain a wealth of primary source research materials and scientific data related to: environmental and industrial hygiene; radon activity; use of beryllium as a rocket propellant; uranium mining; and toxicological, biological and chemical weapon systems, primarily from the 1950s through the 1970s, especially as related to America's atomic age federal policy. Included in this collection are personal letters to and from his children discussing their academic aspirations; the exhibit of parental advice on their decisions, as well as handwritten letters to and from colleagues sharing career plans and employment promotions. The collection is evidence of the high-importance federal government scientists/researchers placed on ensuring effective implementation of pertinent provisions of the Clean Air Act (1963) and their work for the abatement or control of environmental and workplace pollution.

The Correspondence and Air Pollution Control Office series comprise the bulk of the collection's research potential. The Correspondence series reveals Lawrence's abilities as an administrator and his communication skills in relating with sister agencies in the PHS and other similar state agencies (state health Departments in Texas, New Mexico and Utah); the National Cancer Institute (NIH Field Investigations and Demonstrations Branch); and as Chief of the EPA's Federal Agencies Section, Abatement Branch, Division of Air Pollution. This series also illuminates federal activities and programs involving the Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Armed Services Explosives Safety Board. Lawrence's correspondence files also record his service as liaison representative to the Committee on Toxicology, reviewing plans to demilitarize and develop safe methods of disposing chemical and biological weapon systems waste (see Series 2: Correspondence, 1942-1978 and Series 3: Air Pollution Control Office, 1949-1983, Beryllium As Rock Propellant sub-series).

Series 3 also documents the most significant portion of Lawrence's professional career as an administrator and policy chief for a 10 year, fifteen state research project involving respiratory cancer. Its goal was to identify specific types of cancer deaths due to oral and pulmonary cancer and recommend strategies for reducing the spread of these cancers through workplace and environmental improvements. The field studies were made using veterans who smoked, uranium mining and mill workers, railroad workers, firemen and diesel workers, occupational and industrial workers. Uranium mining was the primary focus of this research. The "Uranium Miner's Study" subseries contains much of the original field research and administrative work, whereas the later "Uranium Mining" subseries documents the ongoing post-study analysis and broader reporting and research activities with which Lawrence was involved.

Complementing the series are photographic slides and twenty-four geographical survey maps of the United States that detail the field study areas used in the ten-year study on respiratory cancer. The maps reflect the work of several federal agencies involved in developing environmental standards and implementing guidelines for the contamination cleanup and restoration of land areas, national park areas, industrial areas, and polluted air. The maps of uranium deposit locations correspond with the field studies presented by Lawrence and other scientists involved in that research.

This collection also documents his participation at conferences and making scientific presentations highlighting many preventive measures on environmental, industrial and occupational fronts that had potential damaging affect on the lives and health conditions of American workers. His work became central in the federal government establishing legislative policy in its accountability to the American public.


This series highlights the academic history of Pope Lawrence and his assignments as a commissioned officer while working with the United States Public Health Service (PHS), the National Cancer Institute (NIH), and various state agencies involving health and safety issues for the American worker. Lawrence kept personal journals throughout his career on his trips for the federal government to various field sites, meetings, and thoughts on research projects he was responsible for in his capacity as a PHS Commissioned Officer and with the Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW). There are also handwritten journals that are from his college days at the University of Texas and early notes on colleagues, meetings and research projects. He also shares his role as a father, exemplified in this series through personal letters to his son and two daughters during their academic years at college.


This series illuminates discussions held by federal officials on all aspects of contracted human disease and environmental, industrial, and occupational hazards. It consists primarily of day-to-day correspondence issues related to federal policies for improving the work environments of American workers such as miners, industrial laborers, and machinists. Lawrence's duties ranged from Senior Scientist to consultant and Director of programs designed to investigate the health and safety of the American population. Several letters include topics such as the use of agricultural insecticides, ill-health aspects of digging for uranium and vanadium, ionizing radiation, toxicology control, exposure to beryllium and its compounds, and mortality and morbidity data from epidemiological studies on carcinogenic materials exposure. There is also reference to bill S. 3112, an amendment to the Clear Air Act (Law 88-2206, Dec. 17, 1963) authorizing grants to air pollution control agencies to maintain control programs. Lawrence was involved with key scientists and researchers such as Carl Jensen, Supervisor for New Mexico Department of Health in Industrial Health, Duncan A. Haladay, Senior Sanitary Engineer (Colorado Plateau), J. G. Townsend, Chief Industrial Hygiene Division U.S.P.H.S., W. C. Hueper, M.D., Chief of Cancerigenic Research Studies Section, Cancer Control Branch.


This series highlights technical advice given to states and regions regarding atmospheric concentrates in use by chemical companies to the United States Air Force. During this time period Pope Lawrence became Chief of the Federal Agency Section, Abatement Branch and he kept a tight handle on information regarding environmental pollution by military operations; industrial activities and research development on beryllium and toxicology matters. This series demonstrates Lawrence's files on the use of beryllium in American society by companies and how they were to comply with federal law. Also important to note is the subseries on rocket propellants used at Edwards Air Force Base. Published testimony from the Edmund S. Muskie Senate Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution pertains to public health and welfare associated with the use of beryllium and other highly toxic substances. There are also aerial maps designating work areas of industries that involved controversial mineral resources.

This series also documents Lawrence's participation in a fifteen state study on respiratory cancer to identify specific types of cancer deaths due to oral and pulmonary cancer. HEW provided assistance to state health agencies by providing research scientists and research materials in order to advance collaborative efforts on finding the causes of environmental cancer and creating potential solutions. The states involved were Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Utah. States were selected based on evidence of unusual mortality rates from respiratory cancer; observations were made throughout a ten year period between 1939-1948. The study compared those with respiratory cancer on the basis of age, site of occurrences, sex, and race (white male, white female, non-white male, non-white female). This series contains records produced by different field offices and with information on their specific research area. Several reports are also included in this series from various organizations and support systems of the federal government, such as the PHS; occupational health agencies of various states; the Cancerigenic Research Studies Section, Cancer Control Branch, NCI; the U.S. Department of Commerce; U.S. military branches; and many others.

Series highlights include correspondence files and the original field investigations reports made by the Field Investigations and Demonstrations Branch of NCI under the direction of Lawrence. Field studies were made for veterans who smoked, uranium mining and mill workers, railroad workers, firemen and diesel workers, occupational and industrial workers. The study on uranium miners were made with miners in the Colorado Plateau region who were suspect to highly toxic conditions. Other field studies monitored physiological changes, measured sputum cytology and created pulmonary function tests.