It's in the Blood! A Documentary History of Linus Pauling, Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia

Revised and Expanded

Linus Pauling began his professional life studying atoms, and ended it best known for his thoughts on medicine. Linking these two fields was a central body of work on the nature of human blood. During the most productive thirty years of his life, between the mid-1930s and mid-1960s, Pauling's research in this area not only advanced our understanding of how blood works at the molecular level, but branched and blossomed into vital discoveries about immunology, sickle-cell anemia, genetics, evolution, and human health. This website is designed to serve as both an introduction to an important body of work as well as a reference tool for students, teachers, physicians, scientists, and members of the general public interested in the history of modern medicine.

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

Narrative   All Documents and Media   Linus Pauling Day-By-Day
An illustrated, forty-six page account of Linus Pauling's research of how blood works at the molecular level.  Read Narrative.   A wealth of primary sources - nearly four-hundred letters, manuscripts, photographs, published papers, audio-visual snippets and more - provide an important scholarly perspective on the relationship between blood biochemistry and molecular disease.  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 1940 through 1949. Presented in user-friendly calendar form.  Browse Linus Pauling Day-By-Day.

Drawing of Hemoglobin by Roger Hayward
Drawing of Hemoglobin by Roger Hayward
Linus Pauling, Edward Tatum and Basil O' Connor
Linus Pauling, Edward Tatum and Basil O' Connor
John Philips Memorial Award, 1956
John Philips Memorial Award, 1956
Diagram of protein helixes
Diagram of protein helixes

More Information
Copyright Information
Credits and Acknowledgements
General Reading Bibliography
Bibliography of Scientific Resources
Chronological List of Documents


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

The Narrative was written by Melinda Gormley, adapted from the text of her Master of Science thesis, It’s in the Blood: The Varieties of Linus Pauling’s Work on Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia (1.8MB PDF), presented October 22, 2003, History of Science Department, Oregon State University.

Special Collections & Archives Research Center Special Collections & Archives Research Center, The Valley Library, Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon 97331-4501
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Oregon State University