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Harold E. Varmus Papers 1904-2010
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Collection Scope and Content Note


Correspondence, emails, speeches, photographs, slides, reports, testimonies, audiovisual material, awards, and biographical material (1904-2010, bulk 1985-2010; 31 linear feet) primarily documents Harold Varmus's administrative career as director of NIH (NIH) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). His scientific career is documented by his archives at UCSF.

The collection primarily covers Varmus's administrative career as NIH Director (1993-2000) and MSKCC President (2001-2010). This is mostly reflected in the speeches, administrative files, and professional activities found in Series 3: NIH and Series 4: MSKCC. Series 6: Photographs and Slides (which includes many of his lecture slides) and Series 7: Audiovisual Materials (which includes many of his media appearances on topics ranging from cloning to electronic publishing) augment those series.

A smaller portion of the collection covers Varmus's years prior to NIH at the University of California, San Francisco (Series 3: UCSF). Most of this material revolves around the numerous awards Varmus and Bishop won for their cancer research. Other than being the topic of some speeches, there is very little material relating to Varmus's actual scientific research, writings and academic life. Researchers interested in those topics should seek his smaller collections housed at UCSF.

Material specifically relating to the Nobel Prize is spread through several series but primarily found in Series 1: Personal and Biographical, which contains memorabilia and documentation from the October 1989 ceremony, as well as articles, clippings, and numerous notes and letters of congratulations from family and friends. There is also official media coverage of the ceremony (both American and Swedish) found in Series 7.

Although in small in size, Series 2: Correspondence covers a wide variety of personal and professional topics including letters of congratulations for winning the 1982 Albert and Mary Lasker Prize and for being appointed NIH Director in 1993. There is also correspondence relating to Varmus's chairmanship of the scientific advisory committee that coined the term "HIV" for the etiologic agent of AIDS.

Series 8: Computer Disks primarily contains outgoing correspondence with substantial numbers of recommendation letters are restricted. Also includes emails, publisher/editorial project letters, publication drafts, abstracts, testimonies, lectures, resumes/cv's, and general correspondence. Of special note, emails contain original discussions of origins of EBiomed (which became PubMed Central) and Human Genome Project.

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