Mendel Newsletter
Table of contents
n.s. 7 (February 1998)

A Word from the Managing Editor ...

In this space last year, I took the liberty of reflecting on the remarkable revelation that scientists had created "Dolly," a cloned sheep. How quickly has this event edged its way from the frontiers of scientific research into the mainstream of politics, ethical philosophy, and elsewhere? Reuters reported that on 3 February, 1998, Senate Democrats "introduced legislation that would ban human cloning for 10 years...". Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was expected to put the Republican version of a ban before the chamber this week. In his remarks on the subject, House Majority Leader Dick Armey said, "Congress should enact a permanent ban on human cloning to keep this frightening idea the province of the mad scientists of science fiction. " UPI reported that Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), in introducing anti-cloning legislation, called the practice "scientifically dangerous, morally unacceptable and ethically flawed. " And, of course, President Clinton issued an executive order last year banning the use of federal money for human cloning research. The European Parliament also adopted a resolution making human cloning illegal. Meanwhile, in Chicago, maverick scientist Richard Seed announced that a clinic he had established there would pursue human cloning, appearing on ABCs Nightline to put Ted Koppel and the world on notice of his intent. Far from the Frankenstein-like mad scientists to which Senator Armey alluded, a calm Seed repeatedly made the point that, if it can be done (a point of some considerable debate), then sooner or later, someone will do it. Whether Seed is capable of cloning humans is certainly not clear; but his argument-that sooner or later, someone will-seems in the context of our historical pursuits not so much a curse as a reasonable prediction.

Last year, I asked the readers of MN to spend a moment in their engagement with the past to reflect on the future. This year, perhaps it is to the present one might cast a watchful eye. The issue of cloning, and others, has recently brought the science of genetics to the general attention of society. There is, I think, a sense of imminence, as the world waits for Dolly's other shoe to drop. If nothing else, it is a peculiarly fascinating time to be engaged in the study of genetics. And whether or not human cloning ever occurs, we will keep at the American Philosophical Society a sample of George Washington's hair, just in case the opportunity arises to give the nation a second chance to vote Federalist.

Martin L. Levitt
American Philosophical Society



Bonnie Tocher Clause
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The history of The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia, and the Archives that capture it, are a somewhat anomalous and little-known link in the history of American genetics. The link is found in the early "invention" of Wistar rats, which were purposely bred in a quest for genetic homogeneity, and which the Institute claims as the first animals to be " standardized" for use in laboratory research. The production of Wistar Rats, comprising a classic inbred albino as well as numerous other strains maintained through controlled breeding and husbandry, was initiated at The Wistar Institute beginning around 1909 and continued into the 1940s. Although the Institute sold the rights to the use of the name, trademarked as Wistarat, in the 1960s, genealogies show that the early Wistars constitute a major portion of the laboratory rat gene pool; their descendants and namesakes are still used in laboratories throughout the world.

Today, 105 years from the date of its founding, Wistar is a federally designated basic research center, a nonprofit corporation largely fueled by NIH funding, with research efforts focused in molecular biology. The predominant animal model for the Institute's genetic work, as elsewhere throughout the world, is not the rat but the mouse, which came to preeminence under the midwifery of another venerable institution, the Jackson Laboratory.1 Both Wistar and Jackson specialized, beginning in the early part of this century, in systematic breeding and mass production of rodents to be used as living material for scientific experiments. Jackson mice continue to be significant in the on-going history of genetics, and especially in the relatively new area of transgenics. Wistar rats, while also spawned from 19th and early 20th century ideas and questions about breeding and heredity, have been used as experimental material by many scientific and medical disciplines--most notably, in cell biology and largely overshadowed by mice.

The concept of genetically homogeneous rats as a living analog to pure chemicals, as well as the extramural distribution of these rats to an ever-widening network of scientists, resulted from the coalescence of the research and professional agendas of three Wistar Institute scientists -- including one exceptional woman. These three were responsible for the concept, development, breeding, promotion, and distribution of this early prototype of a genetically engineered animal: (1) the neuroanatomist Henry Herbert Donaldson (1857-1939), whose life-long work, mirroring the 19th-century tradition of biometrics, was aimed at establishing a comprehensive set of data for mammalian growth and development, using rats as a model for humans; (2) Milton J. Greenman (1866-1938), an ambitious scientific administrator who sought a niche for a small research institution in the era of the blossoming of American biology; and (3) the embryologist/geneticist Helen Dean King (1869-1955), who found in rats an outlet for studying mammalian genetics, while carrying out the painstaking service work requisite to breeding animals that would be useful to others as reliable research tools. For these three, the Wistar Rat served as a nearly perfect vehicle for the projection and reflection of scientific, professional, and personal objectives. In addition, the rat served as a unifying element in establishing a new institutional identity for The Wistar Institute, an organization that was shaking off its Victorian origins2 and redefining itself in the light of 20th century scientific ideals.

What then do Wistar and its archives offer to historians of genetics? First, Wistar provides some wonderful material for contextual history, of the transition in mammalian biology from the use of static materials (museum specimens and cadavers) to the use of dynamic, living material, with variability of inherited traits controlled through breeding so as to suit the purposes of controlled experiments. Second, the Wistar story emerged from the same motivation that has driven much of genetics, from the time that humans first sought to control breeding to the recent creation of Dolly: the desire to control the stuff of inheritance with the objective of "improvement." As a lofty concept that can subsume many agendas, improvement at Wistar was sought for both scientific (or pseudo-scientific, as in the case of eugenics) and non-scientific, i.e., commercial/economic purposes. Finally, the Wistar case underscores the role of technology in furthering the cause of basic science; the Wistar rats -- like Mendel's peas, Little's mice3 and Morgan's Drosophila4 -- were essential tools enabling scientific experiments in living models, material manifestations of ideas and concepts. They constituted the technological infrastructure that was essential to the development of genetics and other biological sciences, and as technological constructs they required engineering and management systems, tinkering, refinement, and tweaking consonant with the increasing complexity of the ideas that they both supported and belied, modeled and contained. At the end of this article I will return to another link -- a living one, grounded in history--between Wistars and genetics, relative to the sequencing of the rat genome and the recent reevaluation of rats as valid material for genetic studies.

The archives at Wistar have only deserved that designation since 1992, when librarian Nina Long brought her professional skills and her appreciation for things historical to bear on what was a disorganized and highly divers ' e collection of material scattered on library shelves and in various odd locations throughout the Institute. When I came to work at the Institute in 1984 there was very little awareness of what was there in the way of historical materials, much less of what their worth might be to historians of science. Materials of obvious general (if not quirky) interest, such as founder General Wistar's Civil War papers and the skeletal remains of his right arm, and certainly the collection of brains of famous men, had received a modicum of attention in the past but more mundane materials were ignored and neglected. Unfortunately, as might be surmised, much of Wistar's scientific record pre-1957 or so either was never saved, or if it was, it has been lost. In sum, there are no scientists' notebooks or other detailed laboratory records of experimental work. Nor are there primary materials from the work of the Wistar Press, which published eight major biological journals between 1908 and the early 1980s, when the Press was sold to Alan R. Liss--no drafts of manuscripts or editorial correspondence that might throw light on the development of scientific papers. What does exist that is relevant to the interests of those studying early 20th-century genetics includes the following:

  1. Director's Reports, prepared annually from the Institute's inception in 1892 through the 1970s (the Institute now publishes a Scientific Report more or less biannually). By far the most interesting of these are the reports compiled between 1905 and 1938, under the directorship of Milton J. Greenman. Greemnan's introductions to these reports spell out his vision for the Institute, track progress in institutional research and development, and outline plans and future directions. Each report also contains the individual annual research summaries of the senior scientists (never numbering more than a few), lists of staff publications, and reports on the editorial and production activities of the Wistar Press. Data relating to the breeding and husbandry of the Wistar Rats -- always a priority for Greenman -- include enumerations of various strains of rats produced and of internal and external distribution, lists of investigators and organizations to whom rats were sent, and balance sheets of revenues and expenses for the Rat Colony. The narrative reports in these volumes are unusually rich in detai -- both objectively informative and informatively subjective -- and accounts such as Donaldson's about his 1909 rat-collecting expedition to London, Paris, and Vienna are downright entertaining.5 Individual research reports, particularly those of Donaldson and King, elucidate the foundation of work that eventually was published; they also record, either directly or by inference, the false starts and failures, and the experiments gone awry.
  2. Minutes of the Board of Managers, from 1892 to present.
    Beginning with the leather-bound volumes handwritten by General Isaac Wistar himself, the Minutes are a valuable record not only of routine matters of governance (including the Board's endorsement of programmatic directions), they also afford a window into areas of controversy between the Board and the Director or other members of the staff. In the case of the rats, for example, the Minutes record the periodic debates among Board members about the suitability of raising rodents as a manifestation of institutional mission. They also include budgets and records of staff salaries and incremental raises, which were approved annually by the Board; these lists alone are interesting in illuminating status differences among members of the scientific staff.
  3. Miscellaneous correspondence from the 1890s to the 1940s, most of which comprises outgoing copies involving routine administrative matters. The letters about rats, however, constitute a record (albeit a fragmented and partial one) of scientific commerce and exchange, collaborations, and collegial relationships. They complement similar letters at the APS, in the papers of scientists who used Wistar rats during the first half of this century, including Leslie C. Dunn, Charles B. Davenport, and Raymond Pearl, all of whom corresponded with Helen Dean King, and at Princeton, in the papers of Edwin Grant Conklin.
  4. Reports of the Wistar Advisory Board, established in 1905 and comprising stellar biologists such as: Lewellys F. Barker, Johns Hopkins; Edwin G. Conklin, Princeton; Simon H. Gage, Cornell; Ross G. Harrison, Yale; Clarence M. Jackson, University of Minnesota; G. Carl Huber, University of Michigan; Clarence E. McClung, University of Pennsylvania; and J. Playfair McMurrich, University of Toronto. Among the Advisory Board materials is a sheaf of members' correspondence relating to the Institute's unrealized proposal to assume control of the Marine Biological Laboratory in 1907.6 The Advisory Board's anniversary report, published in 1925, includes twenty-year summaries, many by Board members, of accomplishments in all areas of endeavor, as well as comprehensive retrospective lists of publications, staff and visiting researchers (including eighteen from Japan); the report on the Wistar Press is noteworthy.7
  5. Bound volumes of collected staff publications and miscellaneous Institute publications. These are a convenience to historians (e.g., all of Helen Dean King's published papers are assembled here). Books include Breeding and Care of the Albino Rat8 -- long out of print and difficult to find in libraries -- a detailed guide to the husbandry of albino rats for research purposes. It evidences the ways in which all of Greemnan's attributes -- as scientist, administrator, manager, problem-solver, technologist, and inventor -- came together around the management of the rat colony; it is his published report based on eighteen years of trial-and-error experiments (as documented in his Director's Reports) involving the care and feeding of small animal charges. It includes, for example, exacting specifications for cages and a foldout plan for their construction as well as recipes for food, such as rice pudding with optional chocolate. (Breeding and Care is not just a seminal volume in the history of laboratory animal science -- it is also a good read!)
As secondary materials the Wistar records are useful to historians; they can serve to elucidate and provide context for the bits and pieces of Wistar-related documents and correspondence that are scattered in other archives throughout the country (and perhaps the world). A few of the non-Institute collections containing Wistar correspondence are listed above, and no doubt there are many more, reflecting the prolific distribution of Wistar Press publications and Wistar Rats to researchers at most major research institutions and universities in North America as well as many throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.

As a primary resource the Wistar materials are valuable because they document process -- of the development of a research institution, the careers of its primary scientists, and a preeminent animal model. A brief history of the latter, drawn primarily from the Wistar archives, is presented elsewhere.9 For historians of genetics whose interests extend to the particular experience of women in science, the Wistar archives provide contextual material for tracing the remarkable career of Helen Dean King, an especially compelling character in the Wistar story.

King remains one of the unsung heroes of 20th century American biology, a shadowy figure who apparently left nothing in the way of personal papers. Nevertheless, her mark on science is undisputed and her name is immortalized in the PA strain of inbred rats, a particularly vigorous strain of Wistars still used today. The record of her long and productive career exists in her scientific publications and in the Director's Reports and Board Minutes of The Wistar Institute, and through these -- and lacking more primary material -- a good deal can be inferred about King and her professional relationships as a pioneer in a world occupied almost exclusively by men.

The successive annual reports that King wrote for Greenman record the full range of her work at Wistar and offer insights not only about her day-to-day work life but also about the interplay of her various research investigations, her collaborations both within and outside of the Institute and -- perhaps most of all -- the development of her research material, both by design (in the case of selective breeding) and by accident (in the case of the fortuitous mutation). King's reports also record the details of her manipulation of the material, the numbers produced by the various experiments, the misfortunes and disasters (e.g., the infestation of the parasitic "red bug," in 1918,10 and mastoid disease at various times, a continuing annoyance) that intermittently overcame the colony, and the steps taken to assure the health and safety of the rats. In sum, the annual reports outline how King and her Wistar colleagues not only learned more about rat growth and development and the interplay of heredity and environment in variation, but also about rat husbandry and the fine points of breeding to achieve a desired result.

King's accomplishments received considerable recognition during her lifetime, both in the popular press and from her peers. In 1932 she was awarded the Ellen Richards Research Prize, known as the "Women's Nobel," by the Association to Aid Scientific Research by Women.11 Edwin Grant Conklin wrote to the Nominating Committee: "Dr. King has done the most important work in the biological sciences of any living woman, and I think that her work has not been as generally appreciated by those who are not biologists as it deserves. The work is of a very fine quality in every respect, accurately reliable and abundant, and best of all it deals with problems of great importance...."12

Posthumous praise included that of Jane Oppenheimer, then, Professor Emeritus of Zoology at Bryn Mawr, who wrote in 1983 that King's inbreeding work "was perhaps a contribution of almost the same level of importance in its sequel as Morgan's demonstration of the usefulness of Drosophila as experimental material."13

Such accolades notwithstanding, King's work is not mentioned, cited, nor included in early histories of genetics, even through she had cordial and productive professional relationships with, for example, such writers as L. C. Dunn.14 I submit that King's work -- as documented in her publications, in the institutional records found in the Wistar Archives, and in the papers of her collaborators -- deserves evaluation by historians of genetics, particularly in the light of the sequencing of the rat genome and the re-emergence of rats as important materials for genetic studies." One of the rat gene databases on the Internet lists some 60 extant strains of laboratory rats that trace their origins to Wistar, including the PA strain identified as "King 1909. " Surely the woman who holds responsibility for the creation of such durable experimental material warrants further scrutiny from the standpoint of genetics history.

For information about access to the Wistar Institute Library and Archives, call (215) 898-3826.

End Notes:

  1. See Karen Rader, "C. C. Little and the Jackson Laboratory Archives: Some Notes on the Intersecting Histories of Eugenics, Mammalian Genetics, and Cancer Research," The Mendel Newsletter, 1996, New Series, No. 5: 1-7.
  2. Jeffrey Broscoe, "Anatomy and Ambition: The Evolution of a Research Institute," Transactions & Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1990, Ser. 5, 13: 1-28.
  3. Ibid; also see Karen A. Rader, Making Mice: C.C. Little, the Jackson Laboratory, and the Standardization of Mus Musculus for Research, Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1995.
  4. See Robert E. Kohler, Lords of the Fly: Drosophila Genetics and the Experimental Life, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994.
  5. Director's Report for 1909, p. 8.
  6. File on Marine Biological Laboratory, 1907, in Wistar Institute Archives. Additional letters relating to this matter are in the E. G. Conklin papers at Princeton (Personal Correspondence, Box #9, M. J. Greenman folder).
  7. Bulletin No. 6 of The Wistar Institute (Philadelphia: Wistar Institute Press, 1925).
  8. Milton J. Greenman and F. Louise Duhring, Breeding and Care of the Albino Rat for Research Purposes, 1923 (2nd ed., 1931), Philadelphia: The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology.
  9. Bonnie T. Clause, "The Wistar Rat as a Right Choice: Establishing Mammalian Standards and the Ideal of a Standardized Mammal," Journal of the History of Biology, 1993, 26: 329-349.
  10. Director's Report for 1918, p. 15.
  11. King shared the 1932 Richards Prize with the astronomer Annie Jump Cannon.
  12. E. G. Conklin to J. Crawford, April 30, 1932. In Ida Hyde Papers, Box 21, "American Women's Table," American Association of University Women Archives.
  13. Jane M. Oppenheimer, "Thomas Hunt Morgan as an Embryologist: The View from Bryn Mawr, American Zoologist, 1983, 23: 845-854.
  14. L. C. Dunn, A Short History of Genetics, New York:, McGraw-Hill, 1965.
  15. Michael R. James and Klaus Lindpaintner, "Why Map the Rat?," Trends in Genetics, May 1997, 13: 171-3.


APS Mellon Resident Fellowships
1998-99 & 1999-2000

The American Philosophical Society Library is accepting applications for short-term residential fellowships for conducting research in its collections. The Society's Library, located near Independence Hall in Philadelphia, is a leading international center for research in the history of American science and technology and their European roots, as well as early American history and culture. The Library houses over 6.5 million manuscripts, 190,000 volumes and bound periodicals, and thousands of maps and prints. Outstanding historical collections and subject areas include the papers of Benjamin Franklin; the American Revolution; 18th and 19th-century natural history; western scientific expeditions and travel; the Peale-Sellers papers; American Indian languages; anthropology; the papers of Charles Darwin and his forerunners, colleagues, critics, and successors; genetics and eugenics; biochemistry, physiology, and biophysics; 20th-century medical research; and modern physics. (The Library does not hold materials on philosophy in the modem sense.)

The fellowships, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, are intended to encourage research in the Library's collections by scholars who reside beyond a 75-mile radius of Philadelphia. The fellowships are open to both U. S. citizens and foreign nationals who are holders of the Ph. D. or the equivalent, Ph.D. candidates who have passed their preliminary exams, and . independent scholars. Applicants in any relevant field of scholarship may apply. The stipend is $1,900 per month, and the term of the fellowship is a minimum of one month and a maximum of three, taken between June 1, 1998 and May 31, 1999 (for '98-'99). Fellows are expected to be in residence for four consecutive weeks during the period of their award.

There is no special application form and this notice provides all the essential information needed to apply. Applicants should submit the following: (1) cover sheet stating a) name, b) title of project, c) expected period of residence, d) institutional affiliation, e) mailing address, f) telephone numbers, and g) social security number; (2) a letter (not to exceed three single-spaced pages) which briefly describes the project and how it relates to existing scholarship, states the specific relevance of the American Philosophical Society's collections to the project, and indicates expected results of the research (such as publications); (3) a c.v. or resume; and (4) one letter of reference (doctoral candidates' must use their dissertation advisor). Published guides to the Society's collections are available in most research libraries, and a list of these guides is available on request. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the Library staff by mail or phone regarding the collections.

Address applications or inquiries to: Mellon Fellowships, American Philosophical Society Library, 105 South Fifth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386. Telephone: (215) 440-3400. Applications must be received by March 1 of application cycle year.



Deborah Cozort Day, Archivist,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
University of California, San Diego

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, California, is renowned for its work in physical oceanography, geophysics, atmospheric science, geochemistry and marine biology. Many historians have used the manuscript holdings of the Scripps Archives to write articles on the history of oceanography and marine biology. However, during its early years, the Scripps Institution was a biological station with a broad research program that included a major project in genetics. The institution was known as the Scripps Institution for Biological Research of the University of California between 1912 and 1924. Biological research ended abruptly in 1925 when the focus of research was changed from biology to oceanography and the name of the institution was changed to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Since then, there have been several major initiatives to increase support for marine biological research at SIO and integrate it into the biological mainstream. This article examines the Scripps Institution as a biological institution and describes manuscript resources at the SIO Archives available to historians.

In 1891 William E. Ritter, a student of Joseph LeConte, returned from graduate studies with E. L. Mark at Harvard to accept the chairmanship of the newly formed Department of Zoology at Berkeley. During the following decade, Ritter visited Liverpool and Berlin, the Stazione Zoologica at Naples, and Alexander Agassiz's Newport laboratory and resolved to establish a seaside laboratory on the west coast. In the style of the times, Ritter began his effort by searching for a millionaire who might fund such a laboratory. He also raised enough money from the University of California to pitch a tent summers beginning in 1892 at various places along the California coast and invited a few colleagues and students to join him in an examination of the local marine fauna.1

Ritter was disappointed more than once in his search for a patron. His efforts to interest the wealthy of San Francisco in the idea were frustrated by the panic of 1893. Ritter was so sure of support from E.H. Harriman, whom he accompanied on the Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899, that he allowed his wife to write her friend Phoebe Hearst about the

successful outcome of Mr. Ritter's interviews with Mr. Haffirnan. The latter is genuinely interested in the marine biological work on this coast and promises to help Mr. Ritter's plans to a realization both with his own money and by getting others interested. 2

As it turned out, Mr. Haffitnan was unsuccessful in interesting others and unwilling to underwrite the laboratory alone. Mrs. Hearst escaped the honor of endowing the laboratory, but she donated $500 on March 13, 1902 to cover a shortfall in the expenses for the summer laboratory at San Pedro in 1901.3 Ritter's February 7, 1902 application to the Carnegie Institution of Washington for $3,000 per year to fund marine biological explorations failed.4 A syndicate of Los Angeles area Cal alumni led by attorney Henry O'Melveny failed to raise sufficient funds to endow a permanent laboratory in San Pedro. So after ten years of effort, Ritter was still summering in his tent.

Ritter was understandably cautious during the summer of 1903 when his friend, San Diego physician and conchologist Fred Baker, invited him to set up the seaside laboratory in San Diego and introduced him to millionaire newspaperman E. W. Scripps. Scripps assured Ritter of his interest in establishing a permanent laboratory in San Diego. "What is to be the outcome of this?" Ritter wrote in his diary on August 2, 1903,

A few years ago before I had so many elations of this sort, I should have been on the house top with joy and certainty; now however though I'm sure the goal never was actually so probably within reach, I'm going to stay on the ground. I count no more chickens until they are not only hatched but also fully pinfeathered out. 5

Several historians have written in detail about Ritter's conception for his seaside laboratory.' Ritter's focus before he met E.W. Scripps was clearly on marine biology. In 1903 with financial support from E.W. Scripps and his sister Ellen Browning Scripps, the Marine Biological Association of San Diego was formed with the object of building a marine biological station. The bylaws of the association state that
the general purposes of the institution shall be to carry on a biological and hydrographic survey of the waters of the Pacific Ocean adjacent to the coast of Southern California; To build and maintain a public aquarium and museum; and to prosecute such other kindred undertakings as the Board of Trustees may from time to time deem it wise to enter upon.7
That last phrase was the subject of discussion at the annual meeting of the association on July 20, 1907. Ritter recalled that E.W. Scripps presented a motion that was passed unanimously. In part, the motion read, "It is proposed not to restrict biological research at the station to marine organisms as has thus far been done, but to extend it to land plants and animals as well.8

In 1912, the Marine, Biological Association of San Diego deeded its assets to The Regents of the University of California, and the institution it had long supported was renamed The Scripps Institution for Biological Research of the University of California.

The most important expression of the enlarged institutional purpose indicated by this name change was the employment of Francis Bertody Sumner, a biologist with an interest in experimental evolution. Sumner carried out his experiments not with marine specimens, but with deer mice. He began work as a neo-Lamarckian, but his results made a profound contribution to the evolutionary synthesis.9 Sumner was the first and for some time the only member of the staff of the Scripps Institution elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences.

A number of biologists were associated with Scripps during the early years. Harry Beal Torrey is listed as a staff member from 1903 to 1912, but he frequently joined Scripps collecting trips well into the 1920's. Charles Atwood Kofoid is listed as Associate Director, 19031923. Kofoid was - not resident at the institution after 1910 when he succeeded Ritter as chair of zoology at Berkeley. However, he continued to act on behalf of the institution in Berkeley. Scripps had many visiting investigators including Anton Carlson (1903) and C.M. Child (1910).

The broadened biological program was also expressed in the make-up of the student body. While the Scripps Institution was better known for research than for teaching during its early years, there were eight students at the institution between 1912 and 1924.10 One of these, Sumner's student Ralph Ruskin Huestis (1892-1969) received a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California in 1924 and became a geneticist at the University of Oregon.

The early program of the institution included public education through public lectures and displays at the aquarium. However, in 1915 the institution decided to broaden its efforts in this regard. From June to August 1916 Scripps hosted an Assembly in Science which was intended to be a course of study on biology for science teachers in secondary schools. In 1916, the institution issued a new publication, The Bulletin of the Scripps Institution for Biological Researc, which was meant for a general audience of non-scientists. In 1917, staff biologist W.E. Allen wrote popular articles on biology for California newspapers, an effort called the California Biological Feature Service.11 The only one of these efforts that endured was the aquarium. Few science teachers attended the 1916 assembly which attracted instead an audience of the general public and was never repeated. After 1925, the Bulletin published only technical papers. The California Biological Feature Service received no support from Scripps after 1923, although Allen continued to write a column until his retirement in 1943.

Ritter retired from the Scripps Institution in 1923. When Henry Bryant Bigelow declined the offer of the directorship, a geologist, Thomas Wayland Vaughan, was selected as the new director. At about the same time a decision was made to refocus the research program of the institution on oceanography. On October 14, 1925, the institution was remained the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. These events had fateful consequences for biological research in La Jolla. When an effort to move Sumner to Berkeley failed, he was instructed to conclude his studies and work on projects more in line with the oceanographic program. Scripps never produced another geneticist, and it has never had another biologist as director.

While general biology was eliminated, Scripps continued its support for marine biology. Sumner, now working on marine specimens, was joined by physiologist Denis Fox in 1931, marine microbiologist Claude ZoBell in 1932 and marine biologist Martin W. Johnson in 1934. 12 The complexion of the staff changed dramatically in 1944 when Scripps had the extraordinary good fortune to recruit Carl Leavitt Hubbs, just a few months before the death of Francis Bertody Sumner.13 While Hubbs is remembered principally as an ichthyologist, he was in fact a vertebrate biologist with very broad interests. His early files include material on morphology, ecology, speciation, evolution, geographic variation in fishes and systematics.

Even with a powerful figure like Hubbs on the staff, marine biologists at Scripps felt somewhat second class. When the Scripps directorship became vacant in 1948, Hubbs led an unsuccessful effort to get a biologist appointed director.14 There was a feeling that marine biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography was not as strong as it should be. Director Roger Revelle expressed this view to Warren Weaver at the Rockefeller Foundation and was invited to submit a proposal strengthening marine biology at Scripps. Hubbs expressed his views to Revelle in a memorandum on the Rockefeller grant:

In general the physical sciences have been supported more generously than the biological by contract grants from the Department of Defense. The biological sciences at Scripps have profited to a limited extent directly, and to a larger measure indirectly from such support. A more auspicious balance would result if major support could be obtained for biological work at Scripps. 15

The Rockefeller Foundation proposal was written in consultation with biologists of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, but the principal author was a visiting geneticist, Adriano Buzzati-Traverso. In fact, the size of the grant, a million dollars, and the project plan was decided in an exchange of letters between Revelle and Weaver before the proposal was even written.16 The proposal, submitted August 15, 1953, makes an unflattering comparison between the growth in marine biological knowledge and progress in physical oceanography. It notes that, "marine biology as a whole . . . has remained at a descriptive level," and that it needs to be strengthened by new tools and theoretical approaches and by exposure to "the deeper insights into general biological problems obtained by biophysicists, biochemists, geneticists and microbiologists . . . "17 It goes on to request funds to support faculty positions and postdoctoral fellowships.

While Hubbs did not write the proposal, he played a key position in the committee formed to recruit new faculty. The Rockefeller Faculty Committee decided that Scripps needed an experimental marine biologist, an invertebrate zoologist, a microbial biochemist and a plant physiologist. It was this committee that recommended the recruitment of physiologist Per Fredrik Scholander.18 Scholander initially worked on problems of plant physiology at Scripps, but he is best remembered for designing a floating laboratory ship, R/V ALPHA HELIX and addressing physiological research problems in the field in a series of expeditions undertaken with National Science Foundation support between 1966 and 1980.19 Roger Revelle defined oceanography as whatever sciences were done at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. By the 1960's oceanography included physiology, genetics, and neuroscience. Historians of biology and scholars interested in exploring historical connections and contrasts between physical and life sciences will find collections in the archives of the institution useful to their studies. The SIO Archives has a web page: that includes a bibliography on the history of the institution, guides to a growing number of its collections, an E-mail link to the archivist and a sample of its photograph collections. The SIO Archives is on the campus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, located on the beach a mile from the main University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla, California. Researchers should call in advance of their visit. The phone number is (619) 534-4878.

End Notes:

  1. Ritter's wife, physician Mary Bennett Ritter described these summer tent seaside laboratories in her autobiography, More than Gold in California, 1849-1933 (Berkeley: Professional Press, 1933) p. 241-242. While most of the participants were student zoologists, the summer seaside laboratory at Avalon in 1893 included Edmund B. Wilson and a young woman named Julia Morgan who was choosing between a career in architecture or zoology.
  2. Mary Bennett Ritter to Phoebe Hearst, January 13th, n.y. Phoebe Hearst Papers 72/204C, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California. This letter must have been written after 1897 in view of the return address.
  3. "Accounts of San Pedro Laboratory University of California, May 15 to August 15, 1901 " in Minutes of Meetings of the San Diego Marine Biological Association and the Scripps Institution of Marine Biology, 1912-1918, Accession 81-41, SIO Archives, UCSD.
  4. William E. Ritter to the President and Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Institution, Washington, February 7, 190@. William E. Ritter Papers, MC4, Box 1, f4, "Correspondence, 1902," SIO Archives, UCSD.
  5. William E. Ritter Diary, August 3, 1903. William E. Ritter Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. SIO Archives holds an additional cubic foot of William E. Ritter Papers as well as Ritter Family papers documenting his youth.
  6. Keith Benson has written frequently about Scripps and his student Gail Marie Alexander wrote her 1989 master's thesis on Ritter and his station; Eric L. Mills, "The Scripps Institution: Origin of a Habitat for Ocean Science," La Jolla: SIO/UCSD, 1986 (William E. And Mary B. Ritter Memorial Fellowship Inaugural Lecture); Philip J. Pauly, "Biology and Democracy: The Aims of the Founders of the Scripps Institution," paper delivered at the History of Science Society meeting, La Jolla, 8 November 1997.
  7. By-laws of the San Diego Marine Biological Association adopted September 26, 1903. In Minutes of Meetings of the San Diego Marine Biological Association, 1903-191 1, Accession 81-40, SIO Archives UCSD.
  8. Ritter described this resolution on page 19 of his unpublished biography of his benefactor. The Philosophy of E.W. Scripps, William E. Ritter Papers MC4, Box 4, folder 11, SIO Archives UCSD, however, the official minutes of the meeting of July 20, 1907 do not mention the resolution. The full wording of the resolution is presented in William E. Ritter, "The Marine Biological Station of San Diego: Its History, Present Conditions, Achievements, and Aims," University of California Publications in Zoology, v. 9 no. 4 (March 9, 1912), p. 245.
  9. William B. Provine, "Francis B. Sumner and the Evolutionary Synthesis," in William Coleman and Camille Limoges, eds. Studies in the History of Biology (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), pp. 211-240.
  10. Of the eight students, three eventually earned degrees from the University of California: Henry Homer Collins (Ph.D. Zoology, 1919) became a professor of biology at the University of Pittsburgh; Erik Moberg (Ph.D. Biochemistry, 1925) stayed on at SIO as a chemical oceanographer; and Huestis Nelphi Cummings left Scripps and later earned a Ph.D. in physics at the California Institute of Technology. The four remaining students did not receive UC degrees; one became a mining engineer, one a teacher, and nothing is known of the other two.
  11. Correspondence and manuscripts of these features are found in the Winfred Emory Allen Papers, MC 23, SIO Archives UCSD.
  12. ZoBell threw out most of his personal papers upon his retirement, although the SIO Archives has a small collection of files documenting his participation in the Royal Danish Galathea Expedition of 1950-1952. Martin Johnson kept only a small amount of correspondence which he donated to the SIO Archives. The archives has five boxes of Denis Fox Papers. All three scientists wrote unpublished memoirs which are available to researchers at the SIO Archives.
  13. Hubbs had the task of clearing Sumner's office after his death on September 6, 1945. He kept a few files of Sumner's marine research and discarded the correspondence and data. Hubbs donated his own papers, which measure 97 cubic feet, to the SIO Archives when he retired.
  14. Carl Leavitt Hubbs Papers, Box 33, folders 4446, "Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Director, 1947-1964." SIO Archives, UCSD. Hubbs proposed Daniel Merriman for the job.
  15. Memo from Carl Hubbs to Roger Revelle, July 21, 1953, Carl Leavitt Hubbs Papers, Box 3 1, folder 50, "Rockefeller Grant," SIO Archives UCSD.
  16. See for instance Revelle to Weaver 14 November 1952 in SIO Subject Files (AC6), Box 1 1, folder 47, "Marine Biology Program and Rockefeller Grant, 1952-1958." SIO Archives UCSD.
  17. "Proposed Development of Marine Biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography," 15 August 1953, a proposal submitted to the Rockefeller Foundation, SIO Subject Files, AC6, Box I 1, folder 47, "Marine Biology Program and Rockefeller Grant, 1952-1953," SIO Archives UCSD.
  18. Carl Leavitt Hubbs Papers, Box 31, folder 48, "Rockefeller Faculty Committee, Physiology, 19551957," SIO Archives UCSD.
  19. The Records of the S.I.O. Alpha Helix Program Management Office are at the SIO Archives and include fifteen linear feet of subject files and expedition files. These have been described in a guide: Carolyn Rainey, A Guide to the Records of the S.I.O. Alpha Helix Program Management Office (1966-1980) Archival Collection AC7. SIO Archives also holds original films made on Alpha Helix expeditions and the records of Per F. Scholander as Director of the S.I.O. Physiological Research Laboratory. These records include a small quantity of Scholander personal papers.



Michael R. Dietrich
History and Philosophy of Science Program
University of California, Davis

Although Richard Goldschmidt (1878-1958) is frequently discounted by contemporary scientists as a "heretic, " he remains a historically significant subject. Goldschmidt's papers at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, reflect both his controversial status and his place in German biological tradition.

Born in Frankftirt am Main in 1878, Goldschmidt studied with Otto Bütschli at the University of Heidelberg and Richard Hertwig at the University of Munich. After finishing his degree at Heidelberg, Goldschmidt worked as a member of Hertwig's staff until 1914 when he became the second director of the newly formed Kaiser Wilhehn Institute for Biology in Berlin-Dahlem.

Under Bütschli's and later Hertwig's direction, Goldschmidt spent the beginning of his career studying the histology of nematodes, especially the histology of the nervous system of Ascaris. Goldschmidt's very careful cytological studies of organisms ranging from Amphioxis to Zoogonus earned him a prominent place in German zoology and lent credibility to the journal Archiv für Zellforschung, which he founded and began editing in 1908.

In 1909, Goldschmidt began to turn from his more descriptive work in histology and cytology to the emerging field of genetics. In 1911, his experiments crossing different varieties of gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, produced abnormal sex types. As a member of Hertwig's group Goldschmidt was attuned to sex determination as a biological problem and began to use the gypsy moth as an experimental system to investigate the genetics of sex determination. Because abnormal sex types or sexual intermediates were produced by crossing different geographic varieties, Goldschmidt's Lymantria research from 1911 to 1934 became one of the first genetic studies of geographic variation.

Goldschmidt's work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute from 1914 to 1934 was dominated by his study of Lymantria. Two collecting trips through Europe and Japan provided the material for his research, but during his first trip to Japan, the first world war forced Goldschmidt to try to return to Germany. While he was able to get to the United States, Goldschmidt could not return to Germany until the war was over. Goldschmidt continued his work in the United States first at Harvard's Bussey Institute, then at Ross Harrison's laboratory at Yale, and finally as a prisoner at Camp Oglethorp in Georgia. During his prolonged stay, Goldschmidt articulated his physiological approach to the genetics of sex determination and the time law that he thought governed the process. In Berlin after the war, Goldschmidt continued to develop his physiological approach to genetics emphasizing the importance of gene action as well as gene transmission. During the inter-war years, Goldschmidt articulated his views in a number of important textbooks on genetics, as well as a number of monographs which extended his theory of sex determination from insects to human beings. In the 1920s, Curt Stem joined Goldschmidt's section at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and at Goldsclunidt's instigation brought the techniques and materials of Drosophila genetics to Berlin. Beginning in 1928, Goldschmidt's laboratory work shifted increasingly toward Drosophila genetics. However, with the Nazi rise to power both Goldschmidt and Stem were forced to leave the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. Stem found a position at the University of Rochester and Goldschmidt, after much looking, found a position at the University of California at Berkeley.

Once in America Goldschmidt continued his research on Drosophila, but quickly found himself immersed in controversy. Goldschmidt's physiological approach to genetics had frequently put him at odds with Thomas Hunt Morgan's Drosophila group prior to his immigration. In 1937, Goldschmidt started to question the existence of the classical or particulate gene at the core of traditional Drosophila genetics. Prone to theorize first and experiment later, Goldschmidt's lectures and papers created an enormous controversy among geneticists. As a comprehensive German zoologist Goldschmidt only made matters worse when he extended this controversy by following its "phylogenetic consequences" and calling into question the ability of gradual evolution to create new species. Goldschmidt's The Material Basis of Evolution and his many papers on the gene became lightning rods within the biological community. Neither views were easily dismissed, however, and Goldschmidt would spend the rest of his career producing experimental evidence in defense of his position.

Despite being such a controversial figure, Goldschmidt was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1947. In 1950 he gave the main address celebrating fifty years of genetics at the Jubilee meeting of the Genetics Society of America. He was elected president of the Ninth International Congress of Genetics and president of the Genetics Society of America, although he declined the latter position. Goldschmidt was also awarded honorary degrees from the universities of Kiel, Madrid, and Berlin.

Confident of his own importance, in 1940, while recovering from an illness, Goldschmidt wrote a guide to his correspondence for future historians. Correspondents either received an "AA" grade meaning that they were a "great classic," a "BB" grade meaning that they were a "leader in his field with great influence upon the science of his time," or a "CC" grade meaning that they were an "authority in a special field." Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the AA list is made up of Germans. Jacques Loeb, Thomas Hunt Morgan, William Bateson, and E., B. Wilson made the AA list, but most geneticists, such as Theodosius Dobzhansky, are on the CC list, if they are listed at all. Goldschmidt's efforts at self-promotion aside, his papers contain interesting collections of correspondence with historically significant German biologists, such as Theodore Boveri (13 items, 1904-191 1), Otto Bütschli (3 8 items, 1900-1919), Carl Coffens (26 items, 1912-193 1), and Richard Hertwig (90 items, 1899-1937). The collection also contains important correspondence with Theodosius Dobzhansky, L. C. Dunn, Julian Huxley, Otto Mohr, Thomas Hunt Morgan, H. J. Muller, Max Planck, Curt Stem, Karl von Frisch, E. B. Wilson, and Sewall Wright.

The Goldschmidt papers (7 linear feet total) are divided into five cartons and four boxes. The five cartons are stored at the Bancroft Library and contain correspondence, copies of letters written by Goldschmidt, publications about him, including eulogies, and letters to Curt Stem after Goldschmidt's death. The four boxes are stored off campus and require at least one day to be recalled and brought to the Bancroft Library. The boxes contain copies of speeches, manuscripts, notebooks, course lectures, genetic data sheets, and drawings for publications. These manuscripts include those for most of his books after 1936 and many of his articles. The collection of speeches and lectures is much more extensive and includes a number of talks given in Germany and the U. S. on sex determination, genetics and evolution, as well as talks on race, Japan, and the history of biology.

Goldschmidt's collection of photographs were incorporated into Curt Stem's collection now housed at the APS Library.1 His extensive library of books and reprints became the basis for the library of the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima, Japan. While the Goldschmidt papers contain extensive correspondence files, they contain very few letters written by Goldschmidt himself. There are large collections of letters written by Goldschmidt in various collections at the APS, especially in Curt Stem's and L. C. Dum's papers.

There is a finding aid available for this collection. For more information, contact the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, or call (510) 642-3781.

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