Born in Portland, Oregon on February 18, 1901, Linus Pauling is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time.
After receiving his B.S. in chemical engineering from Oregon Agricultural College (Now Oregon State University) in 1922, Pauling went to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where, in 1925, he took his Ph.D., majoring in chemistry with minors in physics and mathematics. With the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Pauling studied the fledgling discipline of quantum mechanics in Europe for a year and a half, becoming one of the first scientists to gain a strong understanding of both chemistry and the new physics. This crossing of disciplinary boundaries was a characteristic of Pauling's scientific work throughout his career. It was the fuel of Pauling's "stochastic" research method, whereby he would theorize several ideas, and discard the bad ones.
After completing his fellowship, Pauling returned to Caltech to join the chemistry faculty. In 1937 he was named chairman of the department, a position he would hold for the next twenty years. In 1939 Pauling would publish The Nature of the Chemical Bond, which remains the most frequently-cited scientific publication of the twentieth century.
In the mid-1930's, Pauling brought his knowledge of molecular structure to bear on biological molecules, particularly hemoglobin--the protein in the red blood cells. By the end of the 1940s, Pauling had determined the basic structure of proteins, the alpha-helix. He further suggested that sickle-cell anemia was a molecular disease, a hypothesis that he would later confirm with a colleague, Harvey Itano. Pauling also utilized his commitment to the U.S. government during World War II to explore practical applications of his research, chiefly through his successful development of a substitute for blood plasma. In many respects, Pauling was the godfather of modern molecular biology.
Pauling's public and political activities during the 1950s made him one of the most well-known scientists of the twentieth century. His outspoken manner on the issues of loyalty oaths, nuclear bomb tests and disarmament, as well as a host of other peace and humanitarian causes resulted in both government and media harrassment for more than a decade as well as a concomitant reputation as both a maverick and a hero.
In 1954, Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research into chemical bonding. Pauling's award marked the first time the Nobel Committee had awarded a prize for a body of work, rather than one hallmark discovery. Following the Nobel ceremonies in Stockholm, Pauling and his wife, Ava Helen, embarked upon a lecture tour around the world. Throughout his life, Pauling's traveling companion for the bulk of his numerous journeys was Ava Helen, to whom he was married for nearly sixty years. Only through Ava Helen's death in 1981, could Linus be separated from the person he commonly referred to as "the greatest influence on my life."
In 1963, Pauling was awarded a second Nobel Prize for his efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament, which he dedicated to Ava Helen. The genesis for the 1963 award was Pauling's 1958 submission to the United Nations of a petition signed by over 9,000 international scientists advocating the cessation of nuclear testing. Notice of Pauling's receipt of the Peace Prize was given on the same day that the United States and the Soviet Union signed a treaty agreeing to halt all above-ground nuclear explosions. Linus Pauling remains the only individual to be awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes.
After leaving Caltech, Pauling's scientific career centered around medical issues. Once again, he used his scientific knowledge to make advances in a discipline other than his original field of expertise. His research led him to develop the concept of orthomolecular medicine. Pauling also espoused the health benefits of megadoses of vitamin C. In 1973 he founded the Institute of Orthomolecular Medicine to expedite his forward-thinking research. To this day the Institute, now known as the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine and located on the campus of Oregon State University, carries on the legacy of Pauling's work in medicine and nutrition.
Linus Pauling died on August 19, 1994.
Ava Helen Miller was born the tenth of twelve children on a farm near Oregon City, Oregon on December 24, 1903. After Graduating from Salem High School, she attended Oregon Agricultural College, Where she met Linus Pauling in 1922, her teacher in a chemistry course for home economics students. She said of her first opinion of him: "He impressed me as the man among men. I listened to him with the deepest admiration and respect." They were married in Salem, Oregon on June 17, 1923. Ava Helen later wrote, "My future husband came into my life when I was still something of a child and from then on he has been not only my ideal, but my life as well."
By taking on the responsibilities of their home life and four children, Ava Helen enabled Linus to Spend his time immersed in the pursuit of science. Prior to winning his first Nobel prize, Ava Helen urged her husband to join her in the fight for peace, stating that his scientific work would not be of any value if the world was destroyed. Accordingly, Linus came to devote much of his time to "peace work."
Together, Ava Helen and Linus spoke out against the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Ava Helen also stood by her husband's side as he battled Congress when denied a passport in 1952. Most significantly, the couple focused their energies on eradicating the horrors of nuclear warfare. The Paulings organized the Appeal to Stop the Spread of Nuclear Weapons, a petition signed by approximately 9,000 scientists when submitted to the United Nations in 1958. In 1961, Ava Helen and Linus arranged the Oslo Conference Against the Spread of Nuclear Weapons, a symposium on the prevention of further development of nuclear weapons. Sixty scientists from 15 countries attended. The conference's recommendations were essentially identical to the nuclear nonproliferation policies announced by President John F. Kennedy the next year.
In addition to inspiring her husband's humanitarian causes, Ava Helen was involved with several peace and civil liberties organizations herself. For three years, she served as National Vice-President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was a board member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union for seven Years and a lifelong member of the Women Strike for Peace.
Ava Helen traveled throughout the world giving lectures on peace and human rights.
Among the several awards that Ava Helen Pauling received are the Janice Holland Award of the Pennsylvania chapter of Women Strike for Peace (awarded jointly with her husband), an honorary doctorate (Doctor of World Peace) from San Gabriel College, and the Ralph Atkinson Award of the Monterey County Chapter of the ACLU. This last honor reads: "...to Ava Helen Pauling, who spoke out against the internment of Japanese-Americans in 1942... challenged the inquisitorial committees of Congress in the 1950s and 1960s... and has actively supported the ACLU and its programs for half a century.
In recognition of her peace efforts, Oregon State University's College of Liberal Arts established the Ava Helen Pauling Lectureship on World Peace in 1982. The inaugural lecturer was Linus Pauling and subsequent lecturers have included Paul Warnke, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky and Arun Gandhi.
Ava Helen passed away on October 7, 1981. She and Linus Pauling shared 58 wonderful years together. Whenever asked what his greatest discovery was, Linus Pauling always replied, "My wife."
In 1986, Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winner for both Chemistry and Peace, donated his scientific notebooks, all of his papers, and the papers of his wife Ava Helen, an activist for peace, to Oregon State University, their alma mater. These papers chronicle fundamental scientific discoveries of the twentieth century and historical events of the anti-nuclear peace movement. They are an important source of information for researchers in many fields, and an unusually comprehensive and significant archive of the intellectual development of a path-breaking scientist.
Linus Pauling undertook a wide range of scientific investigations during his seventy-year career as a scientist, profoundly influencing the development of twentieth-century chemistry and biology. Pauling also had a second career as a humanist and peace activist. His inspiration to fight for social and moral justice came from his wife, Ava Helen, who championed peace and women's causes throughout her life. The collection reflects Linus Pauling's long and varied scientific career, his and Ava Helen's devotion to world peace, and their devotion to each other.
The collection of nearly 500,000 items contains all of the Paulings' personal and scientific papers, research materials, correspondence, photographs, awards and memorabilia. Among the most prominent items in the Collection are:
The Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers is a huge collection, dating from Pauling's boyhood and the earliest years of his chemical investigations to the months just before his death in 1994 at the age of 93. Letters, photos, filmed and taped interviews, notebooks, journals and molecular models constructed by Pauling -- among the first such models ever made -- provide a unique record of the life of one of the twentieth century's most influential and outspoken scientists.
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Courtesy of the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Oregon State University Special Collections, Box #
This section is comprised of correspondence received by Linus Pauling as well as carbon copies of correspondence sent by Pauling. The correspondence section as a whole has been structured alphabetically and sub-sorted chronologically. Beyond this, the correspondence section is organized on three levels: those individuals who made a prominent impact on either the history of twentieth-century science or on Pauling's life and work, have received their own entries under the heading Individual Correspondence. Likewise, correspondence with organizations and institutions has been filed under the heading Organizational Correspondence. Finally, bulk mailings and less important letters have been filed as General Correspondence.
This section is comprised primarily of original reprints of the publications of Linus Pauling. Special Collections gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Zelek S. Herman and Dorothy B. Munro whose bibliography, The Publications of Professor Linus Pauling, published most recently in 1996, served as the blueprint for Special Collections' revised and expanded compilation of Dr. Pauling's complete published works.
|03: Manuscripts and Typescripts of Articles
This section is comprised primarily of manuscripts and typescripts of articles written or co-written by Linus Pauling. Also included is correspondence relevant to the writing and publication of these articles. In many instances, the galley proofs, figures, research notes and other background materials have been interfiled where appropriate.
|04: Manuscripts and Typescripts of Speeches
This section is comprised primarily of manuscripts and typescripts of speeches written and delivered by Linus Pauling. Also included is correspondence relevant to the writing, delivery and/or publication of these speeches. Further materials illustrating the logistics of Pauling's travel to the location of a speech's delivery, including correspondence, itineraries and other notes, have been interfiled where appropriate.
|05: Manuscripts and Typescripts of Books
This section is comprised primarily of manuscripts, typescripts and galley proofs of books written or co-written by Linus Pauling. Also included is correspondence relevant to the writing and publication of these books. In many instances, figures, artwork, research notes, publication contracts (both domestic and foreign), internal and external reviews and other background materials have been interfiled where appropriate. Special Collections also retains among its holdings several editions of each of Pauling's books, including numerous foreign translations.
|06: Research Notebooks
This section is comprised chiefly of Linus Pauling's forty-seven original research notebooks. The content of each research notebook has been cataloged in great detail. The notebooks themselves span the years 1919 to 1994 and include many of Pauling's laboratory calculations and experimental data, as well as numerous scientific conclusions, ideas for further research and some biographical musings.
Note: Subjects covered in the research notebooks typically span many pages. The listings may be the same but the pages have different information on them and the associated images are different.
|07: Newspaper Clippings, Magazine and Journal Articles
This section is comprised of over 3,000 newspaper clippings, magazine articles, journal articles, typescripts and press releases either focusing upon or mentioning Linus Pauling. The large volume of material in this section illustrates the degree to which Pauling was very much a public figure - along with Albert Einstein, among the most recognizable scientists of the twentieth century.
|08: Honors, Awards, Citations, Diplomas and Other Recognitions
This section is comprised of the multitude of medals, citations, diplomas and other recognitions awarded to Linus Pauling. Included are the nearly fifty honorary doctorates received by Pauling during his lifetime. Prominent items include Pauling's two Nobel medals, the Lenin Peace Prize medal, the Lomonosov medal and the National Medal of Science. In addition, correspondence and other background materials related to the awarding of specific honors has been interfiled where appropriate.
|09: Photographs and Images
This section is comprised of 5,500 photographs, drawings and other images of Linus Pauling, his family and his colleagues. Special Collections holds both hard copy and digital versions of the bulk of the photograph collection.
|10: Audio / Visual
This section is comprised of an eclectic array of audio/visual materials related to Linus and Ava Helen Pauling and/or their work in science and peace. Media types in this section include audiocassette tapes, vinyl records, videotapes, Dictaphone belts, audio tape reels and film reels. Content includes recorded commencement lectures, other assorted public lectures, radio appearances and other interviews. In addition, Special Collections holds the original film reels used in producing the NOVA documentary, "Linus Pauling, Crusading Scientist", in 1976.
This section has been divided into fifteen disparate thematic sub-sections, which reflect the extraordinary breadth of Linus Pauling's scientific biography. Generally speaking, materials have been arranged and cataloged according to research topic. However, three sub-sections - Institutions, Organizations and Committees - reflect the institutional architecture either supporting or directing Pauling's work during specific periods of his life. For example, the bulk of Special Collections' holdings relating to Pauling's scientific war work have been cataloged under the rubric "Institutions" and sub-sorted, for instance, the National Defense Research Committee, Office of Naval Research, etc. A similar approach has been taken with much of Pauling's work sponsored by the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, et al. The science section is comprised of original manuscript research notes, correspondence, figures, experimental data, non-Pauling reprints and other scientific research materials.
This section has been divided into eight disparate thematic sub-sections to illustrate Linus Pauling's manifold interests in topics of peace and humanism. The Peace holdings include manuscripts and typescripts, correspondence, meeting minutes, non-Pauling publications and other ephemera reflecting the numerous concerns addressed by the international peace movement from the mid-1940s to the mid-1990s. Prominent items include the three-volume bound Bomb-Test Petition to the United Nations, 1958, for which Pauling received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963, as well as a sizeable trove of materials related to Pauling's membership in the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, formed by Albert Einstein at the conclusion of World War II.
This section is comprised of an amalgam of materials related to specific aspects of Linus Pauling's life. The biographical holdings are arranged both according to subject and format. In terms of subject-specific items, a wide array of manuscript and typescript materials, correspondence, notebooks, newspaper clippings, government documents, legal documents, tax documents and receipts have been sorted into sub-sections labeled Academia, Political Issues, Legal, Business & Financial, and Personal Materials & Family Correspondence. In addition, over 2,700 pages of loose-leaf scrapbooks compiled by Ava Helen and Linus Pauling have been cataloged and reside in this section.
This section is comprised of itineraries, travel agency and hotel receipts, maps, and assorted background material from the Pauling's travels around the world to participate in conferences, give speeches and for vacation.
|15: Ava Helen Pauling
This section is comprised of manuscript and typescript materials, correspondence, assorted biographical materials, publications and government documents related to the life and work of Ava Helen Pauling. Items of special interest include writings by Ava Helen Pauling on issues of peace, civil liberties and women's rights. The Ava Helen Pauling section also contains extensive Miller family genealogical data; correspondence and meeting minutes concerning prominent peace groups including the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Women Strike for Peace and Union Now; travel diaries and other assorted personal materials documenting Ava Helen's activities both within and outside the Pauling family home.
|16: Personal Safe
This section is comprised of those materials stored by Linus Pauling in his private safe. The safe holdings have been cataloged at the item level, and the provenance has been maintained. Included among those items found in the safe are nearly 800 letters to and from Ava Helen Pauling; research notes, notebooks and correspondence related to Pauling's scientific war work; well over 100 of Pauling's pocket diaries; and a variety of other documents Pauling deemed sensitive.
|17: Pauling Personal Library
This section contains a listing of all the books and journals that are contained in Pauling's Personal Library. They are organized in sections according to the Library of Congress Classification system.