Linus Pauling and the Race for DNA: A Documentary History
A Documentary History

Revised and Expanded

Utilizing over 300 scanned documents, photographs, audio clips and video excerpts, this website narrates the breathless details of the pursuit of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Scattered throughout the project are images of a number of very important and extremely rare items, most of which are held within the Oregon State University Libraries' Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, and many of which have not been previously displayed. It is expected that this website will serve as a primary reference point for individuals interested in the history of DNA.

Start by reading our Introduction, or choose one of the three sections:

Narrative   All Documents and Media   Linus Pauling Day-By-Day
An illustrated, thirty-four page account of the drama behind the race for the double helix, written from the largely overlooked perspective of Linus Pauling.  Read Narrative.   A wealth of primary sources - over three-hundred letters, manuscripts, photographs, published papers, audio-visual snippets and more - provide an important scholarly perspective on the DNA story.  View All Documents and Media.
Alternate View: Image Catalogue
  A detailed, illustrated look at all of Linus Pauling's personal and professional communications and activities for each day of the years 1952 and 1953. Presented in user-friendly calendar form.  Browse Linus Pauling Day-By-Day.

Linus Pauling, 1950
Linus Pauling, 1950
"Nucleic Acid," November 1952.
"Nucleic Acid," November 1952.
Francis Crick, 1955
Francis Crick, 1955
"Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids," April 1953
"Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids," April 1953
James Watson, 1955
James Watson, 1955

More Information
Copyright Information
Credits and Acknowledgements
Select Bibliography
Chronological List of Documents


Except where noted, all items are courtesy of the
Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Oregon State University Libraries.

Special Collections & Archives Research Center Special Collections & Archives Research Center, The Valley Library, Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon 97331-4501
Phone: 541-737-2083 / Fax: 541-737-8674
Oregon State University