The Elof Axel Carlson Collection - Part 1

The Elof Carlson Collection has proved to be the most educational and enlightening material I have worked with so far as Project Archivist for the NHPRC Basic Processing Grant. The breadth and scope of the collection range from weighty scientific research to humorous essays on modern society. Dr. Elof Axel Carlson is a professor, geneticist, and a historian of genetics. He received his A.B. in 1953 from New York University and his Ph.D. in 1958 from Indiana University where he studied under Nobelist Hermann J. Muller. Later he was employed a lecturer in the Biology Department at Queens University, Canada and then both Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology, University of California, Los Angeles. In 1968, he joined the Biology Department of the State University of New York at Stony Brook as full professor, later becoming Distinguished Teaching Professor in 1974. He retired from Stony Brook to become a full time writer in 2000.

A significant portion of the EAC Collection consists of material created and collected while writing the biography of his mentor:
Genes, Radiation, and Society: The Life and Work of H. J. Muller
. As such, the collection has been divided into two record groups:

I. The Elof A. Carlson Papers, which includes his correspondence, research files, laboratory notebooks, manuscripts, reprints, clippings, photographs, and any other material that is unrelated to his Muller research.

II. Muller Biography Material: Genes, Radiation and Society , which consists of material collected or created while conducting research for Carlson’s seminal biography of Hermann Muller. Dr. Carlson received materials from Dorothea Muller (the second wife of H.J. Muller), as well as from assorted colleagues of HJM.

Additionally, the EAC Collection is closely related to the Hermann J. Muller Collections at the CSHL Archives. The Muller collections at Cold Spring Harbor include an additional set of Muller research material collected by Carlson while working on his biography, as well as a set of primary documents donated by Muller's son, David. The David Muller Collection of Hermann J. Muller Papers includes correspondence saved by David Muller’s mother (Hermann’s first wife), Jessie Marie Jacobs Muller Offermann.

- Amy Driscoll, Project Archivist

to be continued...

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