Guide to the Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers, 1916-1946

Processed by Charlotte E. Erwin; machine-readable finding aid created by James Lake
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Blvd.
Mail Code 015A-74
Pasadena, CA 91125
Phone: (626) 395-2704
Fax: (626) 793-8756
© 1998
California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers, 1916-1946


California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Contact Information:

  • Archives
  • California Institute of Technology
  • 1200 East California Blvd.
  • Mail Code 015A-74
  • Pasadena, CA 91125
  • Phone: (626) 395-2704
  • Fax: (626) 793-8756
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Charlotte E. Erwin
Date Completed:
June 1996; updated July 1998
Encoded by:
James Lake
© 1998 California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1916-1946
Extent: Number of containers: 10 boxes

Linear feet: 5
Repository: California Institute of Technology. Archives.
Pasadena, California 91125
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item, Box and file number], Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers, Archives, California Institute of Technology.

Biographical Sketch

Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945) is best known for his study of heredity in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. He also contributed significantly to descriptive and experimental embryology, cytology, and evolutionary theory. For his work in establishing the chromosome theory of heredity--the idea that genes are located in a linear array on chromosomes--Morgan was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1933.
After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1886, Morgan undertook graduate study in zoology at Johns Hopkins University. From there he took a position at Bryn Mawr College, where he remained until 1904, when he was offered the chair of experimental zoology at Columbia University. At Bryn Mawr he met and married Lilian Vaughan Sampson, who was a distinguished cytologist and took an active role in her husband's work.
In 1927, Caltech officials approached Morgan, who was then 62 years old, with the proposal to come to Pasadena to set up a new biology program. Funds were to be provided by the Rockefeller Foundation and various private donors. In 1928, Morgan began the last phase of his career, the recruitment of a first-rate team of experimental geneticists to Caltech, among them A. H. Sturtevant, Calvin Bridges, Theodore Dobzhansky, Albert Tyler, the Dutch biologist C. A. G. Wiersma, and in plant genetics, Ernest Anderson and Sterling Emerson.

Scope of the Collection

The Morgan papers contain correspondence, technical and course material, papers relating to the formation of the Biology Division at Caltech and other administrative matters, and a small amount of biographical material.
A portion of the materials relating to Morgan's career prior to Caltech have been assembled from the American Philosophical Society (correspondence) and Princeton University (the E. G. Conklin Papers). These are in xerographic form in Box 6.
The original arrangement and description of the collection was done in 1971 by Phoebe Sturtevant, the wife of A. H. Sturtevant. Descriptions of the contents of folders, as well as the item counts, are hers and have been retained in the present guide.
In 1996, files pertaining to the Marine Biology Laboratory at Corona Del Mar, originally included by Mrs. Sturtevant in the Morgan papers, were removed to the Albert Tyler Papers. Users of the collection should consult the Tyler papers, as well as those of C. A. G. Wiersma, and A. H. Sturtevant for further Morgan material.
Charlotte E. Erwin

Associate Archivist

Container List

Box Boxes 1-2


Additional Note

[Four folders, 2.1-4, are not listed in Mrs. Sturtevant's original guide.]
Box-folder 1.1

American Philosophical Society 1935


Re: appointment to nominating committee, reply on back [1 item]

Box-folder 1.2

Beadle, George W. 1935-1937


Sponsoring letter from THM for Rockefeller Fellowship; also acceptance of appointment at Caltech [4 items]

See also: Minnesota, University of

Box-folder 1.3

Bonner, James 1934-1935


His stay in Holland; one-year position offered by THM for physiological work [5 items]

Box-folder 1.4

B misc.


Baker, W. L. 1934


Re: her son Leon's death; he is the man who saved THM's life after an auto accident [1 item]


Banta, A. M. 1935 (with honors)


Bartsch, Paul (Smithsonian Institution) 1935 [1 item]


Bateson, W. 1924-1925


Congratulatory note to THM upon receiving the Darwin Medal; discussing the pending purchase of Darwin's house [2 items]


Belling, John L. 1932 (to L. Morgan) [1 item]


Blakeslee, A. F. 1935 [3 items]


Borsook, Henry 1933 [1 item]


re: Gaddern, Matthews and Brown


Campbell, W. W.

See: National Academy of Sciences

Box-folder 1.5

Carnegie Institution 1920-1935 (includes Merriam, Woodward, Wirtz, Gilbert)


Re: research grants, budget proposal, salaries, estimates [55 items]

Box-folder 1.6

Carnegie Institution, Drosophila exhibit 1934-1935

Box-folder 1.7

Columbia University (President Butler) 1927


THM's resignation from Columbia to accept the organization of the Department of Biology at Caltech [3 items]

Box-folder 1.8

Columbia University Press (Proffitt, Rostand) 1934


Re: publication and French translation of Embryology and Genetics [7 items]

Box-folder 1.9

Conklin, Edwin G. 1904-1946


Re: THM's marriage plans, birth of his son in 1906; Conklin to L. Morgan expression of sympathy and his recollections of THM [23 items]

Box-folder 1.10

C misc.


Cleveland, L. R.(Harvard Medical School) 1934 [1 item]


Crane, M. B. 1934 [1 item]

Box-folder 1.11

Darwin Medal of the Royal Society (W. B. Hardy) 1924-1925


Announcement of the award; also letter of gratitude from A. Shipley of Christ's College Marine Biology Lab for £100 THM turned over to them [4 items]

Box-folder 1.12

Darwin Memorial (W. B. Hardy, A. Flexner) 1925-1928


Re: purchase of Down (Darwin's house) and turning it into a historical monument; also THM to H. Osborn of American Museum of Natural History to raise funds for the Darwin Memorial [7 items]

Box-folder 1.13

DeVries, Hugo 1918


[This photocopied letter and accompanying documents were added to the collection in 1987.]

Box-folder 1.14

D misc.


Dahlgren, K. V. C. (Uppsala University) 1934 [1 item]

Box-folder 1.15

Fleming, Arthur H. 1927-1928


Re: THM's coming to Caltech and building of Kerckhoff, equipment and plans [39 items]

Box-folder 1.16

Flexner, Abraham 1943


Re: Dr. Gilman and his influence on THM and Johns Hopkins University [4 items]

Box-folder 1.17

F misc.


Fischer, W. K. (Hopkins Marine Station) 1934 [1 item]


Fowler, H. G. 1935 [1 item, reply on back]

Box-folder 1.18

Gager, C. Stuart 1935


Re: G. H. Shull and publication of Genetics magazine [5 items]

Box-folder 1.19

Goodrich, H. B. (Wesleyan University) 1935


Re: spending his sabbatical at Caltech [2 items]

Box-folder 1.20

G misc.


Germantown Trust Co. 1934

See: Section II, Financial matters


Granick, Sam (Michigan University) 1935 [2 items]


Gustafson, F. G. (Michigan University) 1935 [2 items]

Box-folder 1.21

Hale, George Ellery 1927-1928


Re: Rockefeller grant to establish Biology Division at Caltech with THM as head; building of Kerckhoff, salaries, etc. [52 items]

Box-folder 1.22

H misc.


Hardy, W. B. 1924-1925

See: Darwin Medal


Harrison, Ross G. (Yale University) 1934 [2 items]


Haselden, Reginald B. (Huntington Library) 1935 [2 items]


Hoagland, Hudson (Clark University) 1934 [2 items]


Holmgren, Gustav (Karolinska Inst.) 1934

See: Section II, Nobel Prize


Hopkins County Assessor 1929

See: Section II, Financial matters


Huettner, A. F. (New York University) 1934 [3 items]


Hugentobler, Louise 1935


THM's secretary at Columbia, her death and settling of her estate [5 items]


Hurst, C. C. 1925 [1 item]

Box-folder 1.23

J misc.


Jaffe, Bernard (from THM) 1934 [2 items]


Re: biography to be published in Outposts of Science


Jones, D. F. (Genetics magazine) 1934-1935 [7 items]


Re: Bridges' manuscript of salivary chromosome and Painter's letter of outburst regarding editorial practices

Box-folder 1.24

Knoefl, D. K. (Vanderbilt University) 1935


Re: his coming to Caltech, correspondence with Hal Davis of Harvard Medical School regarding Knoefl's abilities [4 items]

Box-folder 1.25

K misc.


Kernof [sp?], J. 1937

Box-folder 1.26

L misc.


Lambert, W. V. (Iowa State College) 1935


Invitation to THM to lecture [1 item]


Lawton, G. L. (Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology) 1934 re: publication of article by THM [2 items]


Li, J. C. (Yenching University) 1934-1935


Re: Li's visit to Caltech, fellowship from the China Foundation [3 items]


Liljestrand, C. 1934

See: Section II, Nobel Prize


Luck, J. M. (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 1935, invitation to address the meeting of the Pacific Division [1 item, reply on back]

Box-folder 1.27

Millikan, Robert A. 1927-1930


Invitation to come to Caltech, salary, capital to start Biology library; letter to Max Mason asking the General Education Board to raise $4 million [14 items]

Box-folder 1.28

Minnesota, University of (Dean Johnston) 1934


Re: the abilities of Beadle and Rhoades [3 items]

Box-folder 1.29

M misc.


Mason, Max 1930

See: Millikan and Rockefeller files


Merriam, J. C. 1927

See: Carnegie Institution


Myers, Earl (Scripps Institute) 1935 [1 item]

Box-folder 1.30

National Academy of Sciences (W. W. Campbell, president) 1934-1935


Declining to become chairman to Committee of Nominations; nominations of new members [8 items]

Box-folder 1.31

National Research Council 1935 [1 item]

Box-folder 1.32

Nobel Nominating Committee 1934-1935


Nobel Prize

See: Section II

Box-folder 1.33

Noyes, Arthur A. 1927-1928


Re: THM's coming to Caltech, car for Morgan, etc. [17 items]

Box-folder 1.34

N misc.


Nachtsheim, H. 1935 [1 item, reply on Back] re: translation of Scientific Basis of Evolution


Norton, W. W.

See: Nachtsheim, H


Osborn, H. F. 1928

See: Darwin Medal

Box-folder 1.35

O misc.


Osterhout, W. J. 1934 (Rockefeller Foundation) [2 items]

Box-folder 1.36

Pincus, G. (Harvard University) 1934 [4 items]

Box-folder 1.37

P misc.


Peter, A. M. (Kentucky Academy of Science) 1934 [2 items]


Proffitt, Charles G.

See: Columbia University Press


Protti, G. (International Society of Radiobiology, Venice) [7 items] re: formation of national groups and sections of radiobiology


Box-folder 1.38

Recommendation letters, misc.

Box-folder 1.39

Rhodes Scholarship Trust (Frank Aydelotte) 1934


G. Eastman visiting professorship at Oxford for THM, 1935-1936 [9 items]

Box-folder 1.40

Rockefeller Foundation (Max Mason, Warren Weaver) 1933-1936


Re: funds for development of Division of Biology at Caltech [54 items]

Box-folder 1.41

Rowan, William (University of Alberta) 1934-1935


Re: the homing instinct of pigeons and his visit to Caltech [9 items]

Box-folder 1.42

Royal Society Publications (A. V. Hill) 1935


Re: papers by Borsook and Keighley [1 item]

Box-folder 1.43

R misc.


Rasmussen, J. (Mendelska Sallskapet) 1934


Invitation to lecture at the Mendelian Society of Lund [1 item]


Redfield, Alfred C. (editor of Biological Bulletin) 1935 re: publication of some papers of THM [2 items]

(See also: Thimann, Kenneth)


Robinson, Victor (Encyclopedia sexualis) 1934


Re: article on Mendelism and genetics [5 items]


Rostand, J.

See: Columbia University Press


Roth, H. D. de


Re: Morgan's visit to Stockholm [1 item]

Box-folder 1.44

S misc.


Shipley, A. S.

See: Darwin Medal


Skinker, C. F.

See: American Philosophical Society


Strong, Leonell 1934-1935


Re: job possibilities [4 items]


Summer, F. B. 1935 [2 items]

Box-folder 1.45

T misc.


Taliaferro, W. H. (University of Chicago) 1935


Re: Dr. Lillie's portrait [2 items]


Tan, C. C. 1934 re: Rockefeller Fellowship


Thimann, Kenneth (Caltech) 1935


Invitation to lecture at Harvard from A. C. Redfield [1 item]

Box-folder 2.1

V misc.


Van Harreveld, A. 1934


Van Overbeek, J. 1934


Vaughan, T. Wayland 1935


Vavilov, N. 1935

Box-folder 2.2

Went, F. A. F. C. and F. W. 1931-1934

Box-folder 2.3

Wiersma, C. A. G. 1934

Box-folder 2.4

W misc.


Wodsedalek, J. E. 1935


Wilson, E. B. 1927

Box-folder 2.5

Yale University Press 1928


Agreement for the publication of The Theory of the Gene [1 item]

Box Box 2


Box-folder 2.6


Box-folder 2.7

Biographical notes and material

Box-folder 2.8

Family correspondence and miscellaneous

Box-folder 2.9

Financial matters 1928-1934

Box-folder 2.10

Honors, misc.

Box-folder 2.11

Nobel Prize 1933-1934

Box-folder 2.12

Obituary notice, French Academy of Science 1946

Box-folder 2.13


Box-folder 2.14

Reviews of books and articles by THM

Box-folder 2.15

Talks and speeches 1886-1938

Box Box 2



General material

Box-folder 2.16

Auditor's report on Caltech 1934

Box-folder 2.17

Executive Council meetings 1928-1935


Division of Biology

Box-folder 2.18

Kerckhoff Biology Laboratory, building of (Mayers, Murray, Philip, Architects), sketches and correspondence 1927

Box-folder 2.19

Proposed budgets, expenses, balance sheets 1930-1935

Box-folder 2.20

Correspondence, memos re: salaries, travel expenses, appointments, positions (E. C. Barrett) 1933-1943

Box-folder 2.21

Equipment, furnishings 1934-1935

Box-folder 2.22

Project reports 1934-1935

Box-folder 2.23

Research proposals ca 1930s

Box-folder 2.24

Expense Day Book 1932-1935

Box-folder 2.25

Biology I laboratory texts. n.d.

Box Boxes 3-10



Notebooks 1886-1941

Box-folder 3.1

Chemistry lab manual, Johns Hopkins 1886

Box-folder 3.2

Notebook 1920

Box-folder 3.3

"Heat on Spermatozoa," Woods Hole, 1925

Box-folder 3.4

"References, Chromosomes, Inheritance acquired characters, Darwinism, Genetics" 1925

Box-folder 3.5

Drosophila experiments and drawings by Miss Wallace 1925

Box-folder 3.6

Mariposa Lilies 1928-1929

Box-folder 3.7

Drosophila 1929

Box-folder 3.8

Drosophila under different conditions 1930, 1932, 1934

Box-folder 3.9

"Flies in CO 2," 1933, and misc.


Lecture notes

Box-folder 4.1

Experimental Zoology 1913-1914; printed "Critique of The Theory of Evolution" 1916

Box-folder 4.2

Experimental Zoology 1916-1917, 1918

Box-folder 4.3

Experimental Embryology 1920-1921; 1921 class list

Box-folder 4.4

Tropism 1922

Box-folder 4.5

Genetics and misc. 1922-1928

Box-folder 4.6

Genetics 1923, 1924, 1926

Box-folder 4.7

Instincts 1925

Box-folder 4.8

Experimental Embryology 1927, with notes in another hand, possibly one of THM's daughters; offprint from Science by Frank Lillie, 1927

Box-folder 4.9

Notes on Drosophila mutant 1930-1934

Box-folder 4.10

Lecture notes and notes on C. Darwin, n.d.



Box-folder 4.11

Commentaries on papers by Conklin, by THM's students Plunkett, Linton, Schultz 1924

Box Box 5

Photocopies of lecture and lab notes 1916-1926 [8 folders]

Box Box 6

Photocopies of Morgan manuscripts from the E. G. Conklin papers, Princeton University Library; photocopies of Morgan papers from the American Philosophical Society Library

Box Boxes 7-10

Experimental data and manuscripts on Ciona, Styela, Chaetoperus, Cuningia and Drosophila 1930-1945 [4 boxes]