"Modern Genetics and its Foundations" Digitization Project

Postcard from Crick to Watson

Postcard from Crick to Watson, from the James D. Watson Collection at CSHL

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library & Archives is pleased to announce a large-scale digitization project that will provide free, online access to the papers of Nobel Laureates Dr. James D. Watson and Dr. Sydney Brenner. This project is part of the Wellcome Library’s "Modern Genetics and its Foundations" series, and will include the papers of Francis Crick (Wellcome Library), Rosalind Franklin (Churchill College), and Maurice Wilkins (King's College, London), as well as Guido Pontecorvo, James Harrison Renwick and Malcolm Ferguson-Smith (University of Glasgow).

Dr. Watson’s collection documents his life, from his early days in Chicago, to the discovery of the double helix structure in Cambridge (for which he won a Nobel Prize in 1962), to his role as a leader locally at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, as well as internationally as head of the Human Genome Project in the 1980s. Dr. Brenner’s collection documents his work on the genetic code and establishing the nematode c. elegans as a model organism for animal development and neurology (for which he won a Nobel Prize in 2002). Thus the papers which document the story of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, as well as the early research on the genetic code, will be united online to be freely and easily accessible by scholars and educators alike.

BBC Radio 4 recently aired a segment on the digitization project on its Today program. The segments includes interviews with Dr. Simon Chaplin, the head of the Wellcome Library, and Dr. John Sulston, who was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize with Sydney Brenner and H. Robert Horvitz in 2002. BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh, who contributed to the Today piece, also posted a story regarding the project in which he explores some of the material in the collections.