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Papers and artwork of Yolanda Sonnabend relating to her collaboration with C.H. Waddington

Identifier: Coll-1461

Scope and Contents


  1. Coll-1461/1: original artworks created by Yolanda Sonnabend for C.H. Waddington's book 'Tools for Thought'
  2. Coll-1461/2: collections of articles and research materials relating to Waddington's work, including manuscripts for his books 'Beyond Appearance', 'The Man-Made Future' and 'Tools for Thought'
  3. Coll-1461/3: letters to Yolanda Sonnabend, chiefly from C.H. Waddington
  4. Coll-1461/4: printed and photographic material relating to the Waddington Memorial Conference held in Perugia in 1993


  • Creation: c.1960-2005


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The material is available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material. One item is restricted and cannot be produced, one file requires researchers to fill out a Data Protection undertaking form. Navigate down the hierarchy for further details.

Biographical / Historical

From the late 1960s until his death in 1975, Yolanda Sonnabend collaborated with the biologist and embryologist C.H. Waddington. She was employed as his research assistant on various projects, and produced the artwork for his book 'Tools for Thought: how to understand and apply the latest scientific techniques of problem solving', which was intended to be a popular guide to new ways of perceiving and understanding the world’s scientific, political and ecological problems. Sonnabend’s stark and imaginative pen and ink drawings formed the perfect complement to Waddington's ideas, incorporating triangles, graphs, arrows and bird heads, although unfortunately many of her original designs did not make it into the final book, which was finally published two years after Waddington's death.


1 linear metre (2 'A' boxes; 2 'D' boxes)


This material has been arranged into the following sections to best reflect how they were created: Coll-1461/1: artwork created by Yolanda Sonnabend for C.H. Waddington's book 'Tools for Thought'; Coll-1461/2: manuscripts and material relating to C.H. Waddington's research; Coll-1461/3: letters to Yolanda Sonnabend chiefly from C.H. Waddington; Coll-1461/4: material relating to the 1993 Waddington Memorial Conference. This collection consists of two separate accessions, as follows. Coll-1461/1, Coll-1461/2/1,3,4,6 are part of accession E.2013.32. Coll-1461/2/2,5,7, Coll-1461/3 and Coll-1461/4 are part of accession E.2014.30.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession no: E2013.32; E.2014.30.

Collection purchased from Yolanda Sonnabend, Spring 2013.

Related Materials

Coll-41: the papers of C.H. Waddington, also contains some Sonnabend correspondence.

Separated Materials

Also contained within the original Sonnabend collection were 4 books, being: 1 x copy of The man-made future (Japanese translation). Tokyo, 1978. Shelfmark RB.S.1859; 1 x copy of Tools for Thought. Jonathan Cape: London, 1977. Shelfmark RB.S.1860; 2 x copies of The man-made future. Croom Helm: London, 1978. Shelfmarks RB.S.1861 and RB.S.1862.

Processing Information

Initial description by Graeme D. Eddie 25 March 2014; catalogued by Clare Button, January 2016.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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