Contents of The Pauling Catalogue

A brief overview of the six volumes that comprise The Pauling Catalogue

A brief overview of the six volumes that comprise The Pauling Catalogue

[Part 3 of 9]
The Pauling Catalogue is a mammoth publication — six volumes, more than 1,700 pages and over 1,200 illustrations, the entirety of which is held in a slipcase and weighs in at over twenty pounds per set.  The six volumes are effectively a detailed outline of the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, a 4,400 linear foot collection that has been arranged and described using a schema of seventeen disparate intellectual series.  These seventeen series — the “meat” of The Pauling Catalogue — are detailed below the jump.

Volume I

Correspondence: Pauling saved hundreds of thousands of letters both sent and received by him, which are now collected into this, the largest of the archival sections. The correspondence is organized alphabetically by author or institution, and then chronologically within the alphabet. Individuals and organizations of note to either Pauling’s biography or to the history of science (or the world) itself, have been given individual folders. Among the recipients are every U.S. President from Truman to Clinton; most of the prominent scientists of the twentieth century; humanitarians such as Bertrand Russell, Albert Schweitzer and Martin Luther King, Jr.; and even Frank Sinatra, who appreciated Pauling’s advice on a remedy for the crooner’s arthritis. Less essential communications are found in General Correspondence folders, once again organized chronologically within the alphabet.

Publications: This section is comprised of original reprints of Pauling’s over-1,100 scientific papers, books, popular articles, letters to the editor, forewords, introductions and support notices, beginning with his first article “The Manufacture of Cement in Oregon,” published when he was nineteen years old.

Special acknowledgement is due to Zelek S. Herman and Dorothy B. Munro whose “The Publications of Professor Linus Pauling” [PDF] (1996) was of invaluable help in compiling the definitive Pauling bibliography. Mention should also be made of Gustav Albrecht’s “Scientific Publications of Linus Pauling,” which covered the years 1923-1967 and was first published in the Pauling festschrift Structural Chemistry and Molecular Biology, (1968 ) Rich and Davidson, eds.

Manuscripts and Typescripts of Articles
Manuscripts and Typescripts of Speeches
Manuscripts and Typescripts of Books: Though three distinct sections, the Manuscripts and Typescripts of Articles, Speeches and Books are here mentioned together, as they are each constituted of essentially the same types of materials. Along with several thousand actual manuscripts and typescripts – many of them unpublished – these three sections also include correspondence, notes, drawings, flyers, reviews and itineraries related to specific articles, speeches or books written by Linus Pauling and his co-authors.  Of particular note in the Manuscripts and Typescripts of Books sereis are several dozen pastel drawings created by artist Roger Hayward for inclusion in the Pauling/Hayward joint publication, The Architecture of Molecules (1964).
Volume II

Science: The Pauling Science section is divided into fifteen subsections, thirteen that correspond to a field of study in which Pauling engaged, and two devoted to the grant-funding or advisory institutions which supported his and other scientists’ work. Each subsection may contain Pauling manuscripts, notes and calculations, correspondence, diagrams, research reports, scientific offprints and laboratory data. Highlights of the Science section include several hundred pages of manuscript notes dating to Pauling’s germinal work on molecular structure in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The nucleic acid papers, located in subsection nine, are also an irreplaceable component of the primary source bibliography for historians of DNA.

The Science subsections are:

1. The Structure of Crystals; Assorted Structural Chemistry
2. Quantum Mechanics
3. The Nature of the Chemical Bond
4. The Structure of Quasicrystals; Superconductivity
5. Electron Theory; the Structure of Metals and Intermetallic Compounds
6. The Structure and Properties of Proteins, including Hemoglobin; The Nature of Sickle Cell Anemia
7. The Structure of Antibodies and Antigens; the Nature of Serological Reactions
8. Biological Specificity
9. The Nucleic Acids; the Structure of Atomic Nuclei
10. LP Patents; LP Notes to Self; Other Fields of Science
11. Orthomolecular Medicine
12. Anesthesia
13. Scientific War Work
14. Scientific, Research and Grant-Funding Organizations
15. Scientific Advisory Committees

Research Notebooks: Pauling’s forty-six research notebooks, which span the years 1922 to 1994 and touch on virtually every field of study important to Pauling during his career, are among the true gems of the Pauling collection. Aside from laboratory data, scientific ideas and notes for future research, certain notebooks were also devoted either partially or fully to more biographical topics. Notebook twenty-one, for instance, concerns his thorny 1958 appearance on Meet the Press and the subsequent response that he received from correspondents in the wake of having been grilled by a hostile panel of journalists. Likewise, notebook twenty-three records the building and maintenance of the Pauling home at Deer Flat Ranch, and many of the later notebooks document Pauling’s battle with the cancer that would ultimately take his life. In 2002 the Pauling notebooks were digitized, indexed and posted online where they may be viewed at
Volume III

Peace: Much like the Science section, the Peace boxes feature manuscripts, notes, correspondence, offprints and research data specific to Pauling’s work on behalf of world peace. Of special note are the three bound volumes of scientists’ signatures that the Paulings collected in 1957-1958 in support of their Appeal by Scientists to the Governments and People of the World. The petition, which was ultimately signed by over 11,000 scientists, resulted in the awarding to Linus Pauling of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963.

Also of interest is the item-level the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists (ECAS) catalog in Peace subsection three. These files, while held in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, actually originated with Albert Einstein and date to his years of service as chair of the ECAS. The files were transferred en masse to Pauling – an ECAS member – in 1957, after the deaths of both Einstein and former Institute for Advanced Study chief Frank Aydelotte, to whom the papers originally had been entrusted. While the University of Chicago Library serves as home to the vast bulk of the ECAS archive, the Einstein/ECAS holdings in the Pauling Papers are unique and not replicated anywhere else.

The Peace section is organized into eight subsections:

1. Pugwash Conferences
2. Other Peace Conferences
3. Atomic Energy: Early Legislative History and the Struggle for International Control [including the Einstein ECAS files]
4. Peace Groups
5. Nuclear Bomb Test and Proliferation Petitions
6. Other Peace Activism
7. The Debate Over Fallout and Nuclear Contamination
8. Assorted Non-Pauling Peace Materials

Ava Helen Pauling: The Ava Helen Pauling section provides a glimpse into Mrs. Pauling’s life both as an activist as well as a wife and mother of four children. Manuscripts of articles, radio addresses and speeches with titles like “The Second X Chromosome: A Study of Women” and “Your Family’s Stake in Disarmament” are found in close proximity to travel diaries, financial notebooks and correspondence with her large extended family. Particularly interesting is the voluminous correspondence that Ava Helen maintained with Dorothy Hodgkin, who was a close friend for many years. Another highlight of the Ava Helen section is its extensive chronicling of her heavy involvement with both world government organizations such as Union Now as well as feminist peace groups including the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Travel: Composed of itineraries, notes and ephemera detailing the Paulings’ remarkably busy lives, the Travel section is a useful reference for research into the day-to-day activities of the perennially globe-hopping duo.

Honors and Awards: The recipient of forty-seven honorary doctorates, Dr. Pauling was also presented with virtually every major decoration that a scientist can receive – the National Medal of Science, the Presidential Medal for Merit and the Lenin Peace Prize, among hundreds of others. In addition, he remains the only recipient of two unshared Nobel prizes. The Honors and Awards section holds all of the several hundred distinctions that the Paulings received during their lives. Digital photographs of many of these awards are available online at
Volume IV

Biographical: Among the richest and most diverse components of The Pauling Catalogue, the Biographical holdings are divided into six subsections: Academia, Political Issues, Legal, Business and Financial, Personal and Family, and LP Scrapbooks.

  • The Academia subsection is devoted to Pauling’s life as a student, teacher and administrator from his time at Oregon Agricultural College, through his forty-two years at the California Institute of Technology and up to his retirement from Stanford University in 1974. The Academia materials include Pauling’s OAC freshman diary, completed bluebook examinations, lecture notes for entire courses taught by Pauling and a substantial trove of administrative records from Pauling’s long tenure as chair of the CIT Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
  • The Political Issues subsection details Pauling’s many battles with both state and federal institutions as a scientist crusading for peace during the McCarthy Era and beyond. An abundance of resources revealing Pauling’s numerous clashes with the United States Passport Division are a highlight of this subsection, as are records of his encounter with the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1960-1961. All twenty volumes of Pauling’s complete FBI File are likewise part of the Political Issues subsection.
  • The Legal subsection is a repository for the numerous court actions with which Pauling was involved throughout his life. The editorial pages of many news publications routinely assailed Pauling’s supposedly red-slanted peace activism in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Pauling was often quick to respond by filing suit. Records for Pauling’s long and bitter dispute with the National Review, as with the remainder of his notable court cases, are located here.
  • The Business and Financial subsection is an extraordinarily comprehensive accounting of Pauling’s finances and commercial transactions for virtually his entire life. Having grown up in a household that was, more often than not, mired in financial difficulty, Pauling early on learned the virtue of careful bookkeeping. This attention to detail is borne out by the fifty-two linear feet worth of data held in the Business and Financial shelving area.
  • The Personal and Family subsection is home to the Pauling Catalogue’s collection of genealogical information, among them the files generated by the Goertzel family in their collaborative writing of the biography Linus Pauling: A Life in Science and Politics. This subsection also includes all of Linus Pauling’s correspondence with his sisters, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as nearly two-hundred interviews – both published and unpublished – given by Pauling from 1946 to 1994.
  • The Pauling Scrapbooks subsection is comprised of over 2,400 pages of newspaper clippings, photographs, important letters, speech announcements and travel notes, all pasted onto annotated scrapbook leaves. The scrapbooks, which date from 1910 to 1985, provide a detailed and nearly complete chronology of Pauling’s life as a media figure. Numerous of the inclusions, especially those published by the foreign press, are extremely rare and without duplication elsewhere in the collection.

Pauling Personal Safe: Prior to its arrival, the Pauling Personal Safe was easily the most mysterious and eagerly-anticipated unprocessed component of the collection. Its contents unknown even to Pauling’s family, and its combination long since lost to the world, the Personal Safe was professionally opened by a local safecracker. Once accessed the Safe’s four drawers revealed an embarrassment of riches, few of which had been previously disclosed to historians of science.

  • Drawer One was filled with more than seven hundred love letters between Linus and Ava Helen Pauling. Dating from 1922 to 1978, the love letters provide an intimate glimpse into the closeness of the bond that existed between the two over the course of their nearly sixty-year marriage. The couple spent half of 1922 – Pauling’s first year of graduate school – apart. The two hundred and eleven letters still extant from that six-month period give rare insight into the deep affection blossoming between the soon-to-be newlyweds.
  • Drawers Two and Three contained an assortment of documents deemed by Pauling to be of a sensitive nature. These considerations were applied to, among other things, letters from signers and non-signers of the 1958 United Nations Bomb Test Petition; correspondence related to Pauling’s professional appointments at Caltech and other institutions; materials detailing behind-the-scenes controversies between Pauling and the University of California; and a folder marked “Important Letters” from authors as disparate as John F. Kennedy, Bertrand Russell and Ho Chi Minh. The middle two drawers of the Pauling Safe also feature a great wealth of information related to Pauling’s scientific war work on blood plasma substitutes, secret inks and rocket propellants. Much of the war work arrived in Corvallis still sealed and marked “SECRET,” and required clearance from the Department of Defense before opening.
  • Drawer Four held a slew of pocket diaries and Dictaphone belts which, for decades, Pauling used to record the daily details of his life. The Dictaphone belts collection is especially notable in that it includes dictation of the entire text of Pauling’s famous 1958 publication No More War!

Volume V

Photos and Images: Without question the most frequently-used resources in the collection are its 5,500+ photos and images of Linus Pauling, his family and colleagues. The photo archive dates from 1873 to 1995 and includes both color as well as black and white photos taken by professional photographers, friends, family and Pauling himself. Indeed, photography was an early interest of Pauling’s and as a teenager he and two friends, as an outgrowth of their interest in science, toyed with the notion of launching a photo developing business.

Audio/Visual Materials: This section offers an eclectic array of audio/visual materials related to Linus and Ava Helen Pauling’s work in science and peace. A variety of media types are held in the collection – audiocassette tapes, vinyl records, videotapes, Dictaphone belts, audio tape and film reels. These media document a wide range of events including recorded commencement lectures, various other public lectures, radio appearances and interviews. One particularly important series of holdings are the original film reels used in producing the 1977 full-length NOVA documentary, “Linus Pauling, Crusading Scientist.”
Volume VI

Newspaper Clippings: Over 4,800 newspaper clippings, magazine profiles and journal articles about Linus Pauling, dating from 1910 to 2002, make up this vast and information-rich series. The Newspaper Clippings section is a testament to the high profile maintained by Pauling over the course of his life – with Einstein and Oppenheimer, perhaps the most public and well-known of twentieth-century scientists.

The Pauling Catalogue

The Pauling Catalogue

The Pauling Personal Library: The bulk of Volume VI is devoted to the catalog of Linus and Ava Helen Pauling’s personal library. Numbering over 4,000 volumes, the personal library reflects the Paulings’ varied interests in a wide range of studies. Many of the books are rare first editions, often signed by the author. The library also features a number of foreign language phrasebooks and tutorials, a testament to the Paulings’ skill with non-native tongues. Linus Pauling was a fluent speaker and writer of German, delivered lectures in French, Spanish and Italian, developed a working knowledge of Latin and Greek, and was also familiar with aspects of Japanese and Russian.

The Pauling Catalogue is available for purchase at

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