About Us

Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, 1944

Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, 1964

The Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center, is located on the fifth floor of OSU’s Valley Library and is home to more than 1,300 archival collections, many of which focus on the history of science and technology in the twentieth century.

The largest and most heavily used of these collections is the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, donated by OSU alum Dr. Linus Pauling (1901-1994) in 1986 and consisting of over 500,000 items. The papers include Linus and Ava Helen’s manuscripts, correspondence, awards, research notebooks, personal libraries, photograph collections and much more.

The Pauling Papers are described in a six-volume published catalog and are gradually being thematically digitized for consumption on the web.  The major websites that we have published over the years are:

In more recent time, the Pauling Blog has served as our primary form of outreach and exploration with respect to the life and work of Linus Pauling.

A six-part behind-the-scenes video tour of our facility, which provides glimpses of many Pauling artifacts that are rarely seen, is available here. A documentary on Pauling’s life, produced with our assistance by Oregon Public Broadcasting, is freely available here. And an in depth oral history interview documenting the history of the Pauling Blog is available here.

SCARC has also been the subject of a few news features over the years, and several of our projects have been reviewed as well. For links to some of the write-ups that are available online, please check out our Accolades page.

Please note that the Pauling Blog is not responsible for content hosted by the various websites to which it is linked.  The views and opinions posted on the Pauling Blog do not necessarily represent the official policies of Oregon State University or its affiliate organizations.

We can be reached through the comments section of any of our posts, or by email at scarc[at]oregonstate[dot]edu

21 Responses

  1. […] to fame is the Maraschino Cherry, but that is an entirely different story.  Cliff Mead and his stellar crew in OSU Libraries Special Collections continue to do an outstanding job showcasing the amazing […]

  2. […] one to look at is The Pauling Blog from Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections. Linus Pauling was a 1923 OSU graduate, and winner of a Nobel Peace Price in both Chemistry (1954) and Peace […]

  3. Thank you for visiting Condon. You are always welcome and we are very proud that Linus Pauling spent much of his childhood in our charming small town. Come back soon and check out our recently (and underway) commercial building restorations on Main St. – on the National Historic Register!

  4. It’s a shame that you don’t describe the very important research that was conducted at LPI in the 1980s funded by my grants from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society that led to about 30 papers and to an invention licensed by Stanford for 17 years. It’s all in Google Scholar if you want to look for it. Three important human genes were defined and two of our papers, one sponsored by Linus Pauling in PNAS, received >1000 reference citations.

  5. Enjoyed reading about Dr. Pauling and the Alpha Helix, which I had never heard before. For the record, though, the ship did not waste any time between the refit in 1972 and the second Amazon expedition in 1976. Off the top of my head in 1973 it worked in both Baja California and then headed for research in Hawaii. The following year began a Pacific tour. After a stop in Australia, including work on bioluminescence around the Banda Sea in Indonesia, and an investigation of sea snakes in the Philippines. Heading back to North America the ship did research on salmon physiology in British Columbia, and in late 1975 or early 1976 headed down to the coast of Peru to participate in a multi-ship (including OSU’s research vessel) investigation in a program called CUEA, looking at El Nino. I believe OSU archives has some pictures of the Helix at sea during that time. After CUEA, the ship went through the canal and up the Amazon. My source here is my memory;I was a marine technician aboard the ship during those years.

  6. Thanks for your comment, Tom! We have edited the post to reflect your input.

  7. Hello, I’m currently researching about nuclear disarmament history for my organisation (WILPF). I enjoyed reading your website and was wondering if perhaps I could reuse (of course for non-profit purpose) the picture you posted in your “Baby tooth survey section” of the CNI report.

    Please let me know and thank you for this very interesting blog.

  8. Dear people,

    Thank you very much for this informative blog!

    I am writing to ask you for some information regarding Dr. Pauling and his residence(s). In early 1964, my father and I travelled to Big Sur to visit Dr Pauling, who was living with his wife in a small one-room house on land I believe he owned overlooking the Pacific Ocean. My father, Joseph Wythe, was (and still is) an architect, at that time practicing in Monterey.

    Dr. Pauling was interested in building a house. This is something that is commonly done with the proceeds of the Nobel Prize.

    In any case, my father made working drawings to present to Dr. Pauling, but he was not retained to do the house. My mother told me that another architect was chose to design the house, but I can find no reference to any house ever being built for Dr. Pauling at any time. (The only reference I can find is to a house in Oregon purchased by his mother after his father’s death.) According to the Pauling papers, the architect chosen by Dr. Pauling in 1964 was John Gamble, a colleague of my father’s on the Monterey Peninsula, but I cannot find any mention on the internet of a Pauling house by Gamble ever being built, and the last record in the Pauling papers about John Gamble is simply some checks written to him, which I assume were for his preliminary drawings.

    If you have any information about this, I would appreciate it, so that I can put to rest some unfortunate rumors about why my father was “passed over” in the selection of an architect for a residence which apparently was never built.

    Thank you very much for your time in this regard.

    Romi Wythe Elnagar

  9. This is a new request for the same project. We would like to use two more illustrations taken from tha article entitled “The Alphe Helix” https://paulingblog.wordpress.com/tag/william-astbury/. The two images are:

    With all my thanks in advance for your help,

  10. Hello! My name is Ramona Kamb. I randomly stumbled upon this blog, not being a student from OSU. I am actually Linus’ great-granddaughter! Very weird and interesting to see a complete blog and archive about someone who I view as familial and fond, a part of my family and family history.

  11. Hallo ich bin auch zufällig auf diese Seite gekommen.Bin auf den Namen Balz Frei gestossen.Er ist der Schwiegersohn von meinem Cousin Richard Steiner.Wie gehts meiner Ququsine Simone?Liebe Grüsse aus Wangs/Schweiz

  12. I drove out to Ragged Point today. The soda vendor told me that a Linus Pauling lived just a few miles away on Hwy 1. I didn’t know about Linus. He told me a little about him, so I looked him up. Found your blog and decided that someone needs to create a museum at the Ranch. The guy was Brilliant and has so many great stories that need to be shared with the people who drive up and down Hwy 1.

  13. I’m a mining geologist from Colorado. Recently I was going through my vintage collection of micromount minerals and discovered a beautiful sample of crystalline lepidocrocite attributed to Linus Pauling (1933). This is a hydrous form of the mineral hematite. As you may know Pauling co-authored a paper on the crystalline structure of corundum and hematite in 1925. So I’m guessing that the sample came out of that period of his research. Does anyone know if Dr. Pauling was a collector of micromount minerals in his early days? I heard that Robert Oppenheimer gave him his extensive mineral collection at some point in his life.

  14. My name is Sunny, and I’m a Japanese.

    I wrote a song that is the story about Linus Carl Pauling’s history,
    because I have great respect for him.

    Please listen to the song from this link.

    And the lyrics of the song is here.

  15. The International Harvester Company: A History of the Founding Families and their Machines (due May 2019) describes Mathilde McCormick Oser, whose daughter Anita, married Linus Pauling Jr.

  16. I was Linus Pauling’s editor at W. H. freeman and Company in the late 1970s and I was the person who advised John Grafton at Dover that it was the third edition of General Chemistry that Dover should reprint.

    The Paulings were family friends in the 1930s in Los Angeles and my Uncle Bradley Lewis got his PhD in chemistry at Caltech. I went to college with Crellin Pauling and we were graduate students together in Seattle. Linus Pauling was our graduation speaker.

    I already had a connection and some knowledge about Linus Pauling, but the account of how General Chemistry was developed and the interactions between Bill Freeman and Linus Pauling were new to me.
    They show the sort of close and productive cooperation needed to have any hope of success in launching a new educational approach.

    W. H. Freeman and Company also published CHEM Study, the innovative high school program that came out at the time of the New Math. CHEM Study was a huge success, selling more than a million copies in its single edition. The elements that led to CHEM Study’s success are laid out in Richard J. Merrill and David W. Ridgeway’s book The CHEM Study Story (W. H. Freeman and Company, 1969).

    Educational reformers could learn from the history of these efforts. It would allow them to set sensible goals, build and test pilot materials, correct their aim based on classroom results, and gauge their success in achieving stated goals. Articles in the New York Times in December of 2019 show that the Common Core State Standards, widely adopted ten years ago, have not improved performance of U.S. students judging by the results of the PISA tests and other measures.

    The description of what went on at W. H. Freeman and Company from 1974-1984 when I was there is somewhat muddled. The events that led to Scientific American and its subsidiary, W. H. Freeman and Company being brought by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck and brought under control of Macmillan were complicated and are interesting, but they have little bearing on Linus Pauling’s story. If the blogger is interested in details, he can get in touch with me.

    Dr. Peter L. Renz, retired editor and mathematician.

  17. Dear Pauling Blog,
    I noticed on one of the pages about my father Crellin Pauling that you have the wrong date for my birthday. I was born on October 28 1958 not October 18.
    Kind regards,
    Kirstin Powel
    Ps there is a new Linus in the family. My grandson Linus William Powel was born on August 24 2018.

  18. I am probably the oldest cancer survivor (stage 3 ovarian cancer in 1981) who meticulously adhered to “Cancer and Vitamin C” in conjunction with maximum surgery, chemotherapy, and full torso radiation. I am 75 and have continued to be a miracle Survivor of all the effects of all that treatment, LOL! Everyone but me who volunteered for the aggressive chemo regimen died of the cancer or the chemo witch we knew could destroy our kidneys. I never even knew any of this to many years later later, nor did I meet the other women. There’s much more to tell but I really do believe and thank God for Linus Pauling because if not for him I don’t think I would be here my life expectancy was 40 and I had two young children. There’s more amazing facts connected to vitamin C therapy and what it did for me. I am going nuts trying to contact and reach somebody at the Institute who could get my information to help there a collection of data. My vision is very impaired thus I’m eager to reach somebody who I can speak with.

  19. FYI, I was a cancer patient and an employee at 2 major teaching hospitals. My records are pretty amazing. I also concurrently practiced self-hypnosis taught to me a visit to Stanford University Medical doctor to raise my blood count before each daily full torso radiation. Recordbreaking amount of radiation, I learned, a few years ago from my transplant surgeon! Guess what was found? Hopefully I can share this with researchers who may find it useful 🙏, because surgeons, specialists, primary care providers, are not researchers. No time or interest. My doc love my jawdropping labs and successes, I keep hoping to get through to real Pauling researchers, past the internet blocks. Thank goodness for that book!!!!

  20. I cannot reach you at Oregon state email above as rejected. A relative of Peter Pauling gave us the plans and building specs for a house in London and I have these and wondered whether there is an archive of such ‘trivia’ but ‘not trivia’ because the plans and listing is a historic document in its own right as every little thing is itemised and electrics and heating pipes is drawn. And it must have been overseen by the meticulous Peter who bought lived in the London house.

  21. Thank you for your comment. If you would like to communicate with our repository about these materials, please email us at scarc@oregonstate.edu

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