The Charles Yanofsky Collection

Yanofksy (right) and M. J. Chamberlin (left) at the 1966 CSH Symposium.

The following is another post in our series highlighting the collections that are being processed through the NHPRC Basic Processing Grant.

The Charles Yanofsky Collection was my second collection processed under the NHPRC Basic Processing grant. The Collection is composed of professional and academic related material accrued or produced by Dr. Yanofsky. As Dr. Yanofsky has spent the majority of his career at Stanford University, much of the material references his tenure as Chairman of the Microbiology Department. The collection includes publications, awards, correspondence, laboratory notebooks and photographs from the 1950s until 2005. The collection was in excellent condition and only needed rehousing and reorganization to ensure ease of use.

Dr. Yanofsky was born in 1925 in New York City, New York. He received his undergraduate education at the City College of New York (1948) and obtained a Ph.D. in microbiology in 1951 from Yale University. In 1958, Dr. Yanofsky moved to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, where he remained for the rest of his career. He became the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Molecular Biology, retiring in 2010. Dr. Yanofsky’s research focused on the control of gene expression, in particular the molecular regulatory mechanisms of bacterial transcription.

The bulk of the collection consists of the awards and advertisements for the many lectures given by Dr. Yanofsky. One of the most prestigious awards was the Lasker Foundation award for medical research which Dr. Yanofsky shared with Seymour Benzer and Sydney Brenner in 1971. The posters and awards are the most interesting items in the collection. They highlight the events, people and institutions that contributed to the many breakthroughs in molecular biology from the 1950s to today. The poster shown here is from the University California at Berkeley Department and Graduate Group in Genetics 1963 lecture series highlighting the three award winners, albeit 8 years early.

- Amy Driscoll, Project Archivist

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