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American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology records - Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the records of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), 1906-2005. The collection covers the organization of the society in 1906 as the American Society of Biological Chemists and continues through to the present. The collection is divided into five series that reflect the society: Officers and Executive Council, Publications, Committees, Meetings, and Affiliated Organizations. Contained within these series are the documents of the various committees, individuals, and groups responsible for the running of the society. The majority of the collection covers the last half of the twentieth century. Not all subseries are listed in the scope and content, for a full list of each series and sub-series, see the "Organization of Collection."

Series I. Officers and Executive Council

Boxes 1-19, contains the records of the Officers and Executive Council. Subseries one, contains the correspondence and papers of the society's Presidents, beginning with Hubert B. Vickery in 1950. The papers of the Presidents prior to Vickery were not found amongst the society papers. Presidential correspondence is arranged by the order in which they served. Dates correspond to the range of each president's correspondence and not specifically to when he or she was in office.

Subseries two, contains the correspondence and papers of the society's Secretary, beginning with D. W. Wilson in 1925. Secretariat correspondence is arranged by the order in which they served and similarly to the order of presidential correspondence. The papers of E. H. Stotz and Phillip Handler contain records discussing the history of the society and should be useful for tracing the society's history. Under Secretary A.K. Balls, 1942-1946, records concerning "Post-War Problems" can be found. These problems deal with returning military men who sought information on education and programs of the biochemical sciences.

Subseries four, the largest, contains the papers of the Executive Officer, a position created in 1961. Executive Officer materials are arranged into two sub-subseries: correspondence and memos. Within the correspondence sub-subseries, the material is divided by type of mail and arranged chronologically: personal, outgoing, and incoming correspondence. This subseries contains the correspondence of the first three executive officers, Robert A. Harte, Russell J. Hilmoe, and Charles C. Hancock. At the end of this subseries is various miscellaneous correspondence and memos.

Subseries five, contains Association Legal Documents. This includes the articles of incorporation and correspondence with legal advisors. Correspondence with legal advisors, Albert S. Davis, Jr., Harold L. Stowell, Frank H. Weller, Jr., and Steptoe and Johnson are the bulk of this subseries. Some of the legal correspondence deals with disputes over publishing rights and the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC).

Series II. Publications

Boxes 19-29, contains materials related to publications. Subseries one, a small subseries, contains copies of ASBMB News, newsletters, and correspondence relating to these publications. The correspondence only dates from 2000-2002. The newsletters date from 1992-2001 and copies of ASBMB News date from 2001-2005 but are incomplete, the bulk are from 2004 and 2005. This subseries contains a CD-R disc with pdf files.

Subseries five, which is large and varied, contains materials related to the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). The correspondence concerns both the general and the specific. Some of the issues concern copyright and JBC publishing with Williams and Wilkins. Correspondence with legal advisor Albert S. Davis and various officers reveal that there was some debate over the running of the JBC and the Christian A. Herter memorial fund (see 1956). Also included are copyright renewal certificates and discussions on copyright law revisions. Subseries five also contains financial information on the JBC. This includes correspondence, publication costs, expenses, and profit and loss statements. Also included are requests for permission to reproduce, the JBC's articles of incorporation from 1905, various historical materials, and microfilm correspondence.

Subseries seven contains miscellaneous publications and ad hoc committees involved in publications. Some subjects include the search for a new editor and the future of the JBC as well as publications like, "Careers in Biochemistry and Trends in Biochemical Sciences."

Series III. Committees

Boxes 29-65, contains materials related to activities of ASBMB's various committees and is the largest series in the collection with 36 Boxes. This series contains 28 separate subseries and covers some dates as early as 1906 all the way to 2005. This series is not arranged in alphabetical or date order as some committees were added to the original alphabetical order. These newer records came with an additional donation of six Boxes in August 2006 and were fit in as best as they could be.

Subseries one contains the records of the Membership Committee. The activities of this committee were placed first because it was the largest committee (27 Boxes), with the most materials. The membership committee is broken down into several parts. The first being correspondence. Address service requests are mostly requests for address mailing lists by companies and organizations. ASBMB policy is not to give out classified address labels, so most answers were in the negative. Committee correspondence contains information about new members, but also other committee matters. Within general correspondence, there are inquiries into becoming a member and some correspondence related to dues. Dues correspondence deals mostly with late payments, lost payments, incorrect payment forms, and unknown payments. "Dear Colleague Letters," mailings to members, and reports to members are mostly form letters sent out to members. The mailings contain original material sent out to members such as ballots, newsletter type reports, and important society information about meetings. Within the Membership Committee subseries there are two sets of member files. The first set of member files are arranged in date order according to member status in a specific year (i.e. "Deceased 1941-1946"). The second set of member files are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the member according to status (i.e. "Deceased, Ba-Bi"). This set retained its original order as presented to the archives. These documents are primarily of note card size and were in ringed hard plastic or leather binders. Each binder was labeled with a membership status, Deceased, Resigned, etc and cards were alphabetical within the binders. This set of records was part of the additional six Boxes donated in August of 2006. The sub-subseries, "Member Files - Individuals" contains individual member files. Original folders have been cut and included in the new folders to retain information that was written on the outside of the original folders.

Subseries two is ad hoc committees. The ad hoc committees are committees, which only met for a few years. They were organized to address a specific question or problem and then were disbanded. For example, one ad hoc committee deals with the revision of the society's constitution and by-laws. The ad hoc committee on by-laws revisions contains some history of the society. Located within this ad hoc committee's files is charter member Russell H. Chittenden's history of the society written in celebration of ASBMB's 25th anniversary. This is a hardback copy of the history, published in 1945.

The remaining subseries are broken down by committee. Some are very short because the committee was short-lived. Some of the more important committees are listed. For a description of all committees see the "Organization of Collection."

Subseries fifteen is the Committee on the Relations of Biochemists to the Reorganization of the Sanitary Corps. This committee was dissolved in 1949.

Subseries sixteen is the Educational Affairs Committee. This is a large subseries, dating from1959-1994. In this subseries there are multiple folders consisting of correspondence about the Latin American Program created by ASBMB to sponsor and encourage science education and scientific cooperation with Latin America. These files date from 1989 to 1994.

Subseries twenty-one is the Public Affairs Committee which later became the Public Affairs Advisory Committee. There were no records for the committee during 1977 included in the collection. Correspondence from October 1986 contains a letter to Mikhail Gorbachev over the release of Dr. David Goldfarb; it also contains newspaper reports about the incident. Located within this subseries is correspondence with Peter Kyros. Kyros was retained by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and the Biophysical Society as well as by ASBMB. Kyros provided legislative services for the societies before the Congress and the Executive Branch Agencies over the issue of federal funding of basic biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Series IV. Meetings

Boxes 66-95, contain materials related to meetings that ASBMB was a part of, such as annual meetings, council meetings and other miscellaneous meetings. Subseries one is Council and Executive Board Meetings. Agendas, correspondence, minutes, and reports of the Council and Executive Board are included and arranged in date order, from 1906-2002. Some folders include various drafts of the meeting minutes, and sometimes there are several copies of particular meeting minutes.

Subseries two contains materials about ASBMB annual meetings, 1934-2002. Prior to 1971, ASBMB's annual meeting was held with FASEB. By 1971 the society decided to hold an annual meeting independent of FASEB. A great deal of planning went into this meeting and it was very successful. After 1971, ASBMB alternated between having an independent meeting, versus having it with FASEB or another society. For instance in 1974 and 1980, they met with the Biophysical Society. Beginning in the 1970s ASBMB began to work with Steven K. Herlitz who became their exhibitor and meeting manager. Most of his correspondence is located under annual meetings and exhibits. The abstracts from the annual meetings 1906-1941 were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Subsequent abstracts were published in FASEB's Federation Proceedings. In this subseries is a bound copy of the proceedings, including abstracts, from the society's meetings dating from 1934 to 1941. Meetings from 1957-1960 only have general correspondence concerning the meetings but beginning with the 1963 meeting, the number, and variety of items increases. Some photographs from the Annual Meetings have been included in this collection. They have been put in separate folders under each year that they occur, namely 1985, 1986, and 1990. Box 73 contains a magnetic tape of a symposium given by a group of society Nobel Laureates at the 1973 annual meeting. The information on the Ad Hoc Committee on Procedures and the Program Planning Committee is located after the 1991 meeting starting in Box 85. Since the materials covered multiple meetings, it was placed at the end in chronological order rather than with the individual meetings. Fellowships that were awarded to individuals to attend the annual meetings follow. Materials for annual meetings that were part of the additional donation in 2006 were sparse and varied. Annual meeting materials from 1988-2002 are at the end of this subseries. These materials contain correspondence, meeting minutes, agendas, and other information. A separate folder about a lecture given by Elias Zerhouni at the 2002 annual meeting can be found in Box 88.

Subseries three contains materials related to Bioterrorism. This was an ASBMB symposium held in response to the threat of bioterrorism after September 11, 2001. This subseries consists of email correspondence from ASBMB leaders and responses from the society members. There is also general information about the issues concerning scientists and bioterrorism. Responses to the letters sent from ASBMB to its members are arranged alphabetically by an individual scientist's last name. These materials date from 2001 through 2002.

Subseries seven contains records of the International Congress of Biochemistry (ICB), which met every 3 years. The subseries includes correspondence from the second Congress that meant in 1952. There are no records from the third Congress. The records from the sixth Congress are extensive because it was held in New York City and ASBMB was largely responsible for hosting the event. It should be noted that the US National Committee of IUB records have been included in series five. This was done to keep the meeting materials separate from the affiliated organization. Of particular interest is the correspondence pertaining to visa applications. Since this was an international meeting, scientists from all over the world attended. The correspondence revealed the difficulties of entering the US during the height of the Cold War in 1964. Visa materials are located in Box 91. The applications for subsistence allowance were not kept in original order of a separate folder for each country. The records have been combined to allow for maximum use of space. The original alphabetical order was retained but in the case where a country had only one or two applications, separate folders have been removed. These applications are found in Boxes 90 and 91. The records of the seventh through twelfth meetings of the ICB are included in this collection. After this the ICB records are incomplete.

Subseries eight contains records for the Gordon Research Conferences, 1953-1983. These records are mainly correspondence and handouts run from 1954 to 1976. Of special interest is a slide from the very first Gordon Conference held in 1953. Much of the materials on the Gordon Conference are included because of the involvement of Executive Officer, Robert Harte, in the conference, of which he was chairman of in 1969.

Series V. Affiliated Organizations

Boxes 95-109, contains materials related to organizations affiliated with or in contact with ASBMB, 1933-2002. These organizations have been arranged alphabetically and then by date. Materials range from organizations with multiple folders and information over decades to organizations with only enough information for one folder. Some of the larger organizations have been arranged and separated into their own subseries and therefore are out of direct alphabetical order.

Subseries one contains Affiliated Organizations A-B, arranged alphabetically. There are several documents within this subseries that are interesting and should be highlighted. There are multiple folders on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an organization begun in 1848. Correspondence with the AAAS begins in 1954 and continues through 1991. In Box 95, Folder 19 is an article, "Social and Political Action of Scientific Societies," by Deal Wolfe written in 1969. Also in Folder 19 are controversial resolutions submitted to the AAAS at the 1969 meeting in Boston. These resolutions deal with social protests of the late 1960s. Of the three resolutions submitted it seems that only one was passed. The resolutions concern the Vietnam War, "Repression of Black People," which mentions recent violence against the Black Panther Party, and a resolution on the equality of women in the sciences. These documents would be useful for anyone interested in the history of science and social protest.

Subseries four is the largest subseries with almost four Boxes of materials related to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), 1933-1992 bulk. These materials include correspondence, meeting notes, and committee meeting records.

Subseries five contains records of the International Union of Biochemistry, US National Committee. These records date from 1953 to 1990. In Box 104, Folder 27, IUB Miscellaneous International Meetings, is a pamphlet for an "LSD Conference" from 1966. This conference was held at the University of California, Berkeley and the pamphlet contains short biographies on some of the major scientists who gave talks at the conference, among them is Timothy Leary. Also of note, is the talk Allen Ginsburg, gave entitled "Consciousness Politics in the Void."

Subseries seven is a broad category of materials organized under Government Science Organizations. Some of the organizations in this subseries are the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Conference, the National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation. In Box 108, Folder 23 under the US public Health Service is the "Report of Delegation of American Biochemists to Russia" 1959. This report contains information on the Russian education system, biochemical facilities at Russian universities, and the general state of Russian biochemical research. The visit was made possible by an agreement between the U.S. Public Health Service and the U.S.S.R. Ministry of Health. American scientists were granted information and the freedom to study Russian sciences in a friendly exchange between international scientific communities. This document might be useful for anyone studying international scientific exchange during the Cold War.

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American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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Scope and Content Note

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