Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Harvey Itano Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0226
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
3.8 Linear feet
(10 archive boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1946 - 2000
Papers of Harvey Itano, American biochemist and pioneer in the study of sickle cell anemia hematology. The collection documents
Itano's research on sickle cell anemia disease and his work in the field of molecular medicine focusing on understanding of
genetic and molecular basis of blood pathologies and hereditary diseases.
Itano, Harvey A.
Scope and Content of Collection
The papers of Harvey Itano, an American biochemist, document his pioneering research on sickle cell anemia and his work in
the field of molecular medicine focusing on understanding of genetic and molecular basis of blood pathologies and hereditary
diseases. Well represented in the papers are his laboratory notebooks and reprints of his journal publications. Of special
interest are notebooks documenting his electrophoresis experiments that led to the discovery of a slight difference in electrophoretic
mobility between normal and sickle cell hemoglobins and allowed him to explain the cause of the disease on a molecular basis.
Also included are correspondence files with his colleagues in the field of molecular medicine, especially letters from Linus
Pauling dating from 1946 to 1986.
The papers are arranged in five series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) NOTEBOOKS, 4) WRITINGS BY ITANO,
and 5) MATERIALS RE: LINUS PAULING.
SERIES 1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series comprises materials providing biographical information and contains curriculum vitae with
a list of publications, biographical forms, and articles mentioning Itano's work.
SERIES 2) CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series documents Itano's communication with colleagues in the field of molecular medicine. The materials
are arranged in two subseries: A) Chronological Files and B) Alphabetical Files.
A) The Chronological Files (1969-1986) subseries primarily contains outgoing correspondence sent from Itano's office to his
colleagues and professional journals.
B) The Alphabetical Files (1946-2000) subseries contains correspondence documenting Itano's election to the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences and American Chemical Society, nomination to Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Achievement Award, letters
from Linus Pauling, and correspondence with scholars who wrote about Pauling.
SERIES 3) NOTEBOOKS
The NOTEBOOKS subseries documents Itano's laboratory experiments and is arranged in five subseries: A) Composition Notebooks
(1948-1986), B) Electrophoresis Experiments (1952-1953), C) Green Notebooks (1954-1969), D) Black Notebooks (1959-1976), and
E) Brown Notebooks (1961-1962).
SERIES 4) WRITINGS BY ITANO
The WRITINGS BY ITANO subseries comprises of reprints of his journal publications. Also included is a copy of his Ph.D. dissertation
and a few typescripts.
SERIES 5) MATERIALS RE: LINUS PAULING
Announcements and broadsides of events dedicated to Linus Pauling and photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles discussing
life and work of Pauling.
Harvey Akio Itano was born on November 3, 1920, in Sacramento, California, the eldest son of Masao and Sumako (Nakahara) Itano.
Itano attended University of California, Berkeley, and graduated in 1942 with highest honors in chemistry. Due to President
Roosevelt's anti-Japanese campaign following Pearl Harbor, Itano with his family was sent to the desolate Tule Lake camp.
While in the camp, Itano kept applying to medical schools throughout the country. With assistance from the National Japanese
American Student Relocation Council, Itano was released from the camp to attend St. Louis School of Medicine. In 1945, Itano
received his M.D. and continued Ph.D. studies at the California Institute of Technology in biochemistry where he studied and
worked with Linus Pauling.
Itano is known for his pioneering work with sickle cell anemia disease, the topic assigned to him as a Ph.D. thesis topic
by Linus Pauling. Sickle cell anemia disease is a hereditary disease commonly found among people of African descent. Itano
tried several different physical and chemical methods to distinguish normal hemoglobin from sickle cell hemoglobin and finally
he was able to demonstrate the difference by using electrophoresis. At that time, electrophoresis was a new technique that
allowed researchers to separate molecules according to their electrical charge and Itano found a slight difference in electrophoretic
mobility between normal and sickle cell hemoglobins. That led to understanding that patients with sickle cell anemia have
a different type of hemoglobin than healthy individuals and thus a cause of a disease was traced to a molecule. Later, this
inspired Vernon Ingram's seminal discovery of a single amino acid difference between normal and sickle cell hemoglobin and
allowed him to explain a hemoglobin abnormality by an alteration in genes. After completing the project, Itano continued to
work in the field of molecular medicine and published extensively about genetic and molecular basis of other blood pathologies
and hereditary diseases.
Itano was awarded Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (1954) and Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Achievement Award (1972)
for his pioneering work on sickle cell anemia disease. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1979), American
Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998), American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry Society (London),
Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Omega Alpha.
Itano is professor emeritus in the Department of Pathology at UCSD and resides in La Jolla, California.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Harvey Itano Papers, MSS 226. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Harvey Itano Personal Correspondence & Memorabilia, MSS 755. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Itano, Harvey A. -- Archives
Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994 -- Correspondence