Archive Mission Statement OLD

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is committed to preserving and collecting materials relating to the history and social role of genetics and molecular biology.


Institutional Archives


Throughout the last century, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has played a special role in the development of molecular biology. Established in 1972, the CSHL Archives identifies, maintains and preserves records of enduring value pertaining to the origins and development of CSHL and those who have worked here.


Records include administrative files, manuscripts, monographs, lab notes, photographs, scrapbooks, memorabilia, audiovisual material, ephemera, and historic reprints. The Archives is home to the papers of Nobel Laureates James D. Watson, Barbara McClintock, and Alfred D. Hershey. In addition to these collections the Archives contains a collection of over 100,000 photographs taken of scientists attending the CSH Symposia and other meetings and courses since 1933. Portions of the collections are available for viewing online via our Digital Collections Database. The Archives offers an environment for study, research and writing.


The Genentech Center for the History of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology


The Genentech Center focuses on documenting the basic scientific research that underpinned the development of molecular biology and biotechnology. This research, carried out initially in academic laboratories, led to the development of recombinant DNA techniques, which in turn stimulated entrepreneurial scientists to create biotechnology companies.


The mission of the Genentech Center is to identify, acquire, preserve, digitize, and promote the original correspondence, papers, and research material of the individuals and institutions that were crucial to the development of molecular biology and biotechnology worldwide. The Center conducts oral history interviews with prominent scientists who played key roles in the foundations of molecular biology and biotechnology.

Availability of Material

For specific information on the availability of materials or to arrange an appointment to use the Archives, please contact (516)367-8414 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please consult our Permissions & Copyright Policies for any materials you wish to use.

This collection was processed under the grant History and Development of Molecular Biology: New Sources through the Hidden Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives Collections (1890-1910), (NAS11-RB-50178-11). Funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. nhprc-2-m