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Papers of Conrad Hal Waddington

Identifier: Coll-41

Scope and Contents


  1. laboratory notebooks and bundles of research notes, including many from Waddington's early years of research in Cambridge in the 1930s;
  2. manuscripts, typescripts and related correspondence, including draft manuscripts of New Patterns in Genetics and Development and Principes of Development and Differentiation, and correspondence concerning Waddington's work in Operational Research;
  3. material relating to Waddingtons' lectures, including the Ballard Matthews and Gifford Lectures;
  4. illustrative figures and plates for publications, including the Epigenetics of Birds, Principles of Embryology and New Patterns in Genetics and Development;
  5. correspondence chiefly concerning Waddington's writing with various publishers, journals and also concerning various research questions;
  6. material relating to a variety of societies and organisations worldwide, including International Council of Scientific Unions, the International Biological Program. Pugwash and UNESCO;
  7. material relating to conferences, meetings and visits, including the 10th-12th International Congress of Genetics, the 1959 Darwin Centennial Conference and various foreign visits and travel;
  8. files relating to the University of Edinburgh;
  9. personal and departmental papers, covering a variety of departmental and research matters;
  10. subject files in A-Z order reflecting the variety and breadth of Waddington's research interests, covering environmental and technological issues, Waddington's BBC radio and television appearances and correspondence concerning the Trend Report.


  • Creation: 1923-1976


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection contains some personal or sensitive information which has been restricted and removed, pending a future review. Other material may require the reader to complete a Data Protection undertaking form.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Head of Special Collections.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.


11.4 linear metres (67 'A' boxes; 1 'D' box)


The arrangement of this collection mainly follows that of a basic handlist created in March 1993 (handlist H41), with alterations made where appropriate. An idea of what may have been the original order of Waddington's files can be gained from a listing of Waddington's files made shortly after his death (see Coll-41/6/10). Many of the original file titles have been maintained. Prior to its current cataloguing, the material was partially rehoused as part of the Navigational Aids for the History of Science, Technology and the Environment (NAHSTE) project between 2000-2002.

Physical Location

CLX-A-1016-CLX-A-1082, CLX-D-61

Custodial History

The exact date of deposit of this collection in Edinburgh University Library is unclear, as to date no accession record has been found. However, some correspondence within the collection itself suggests that Waddington's papers were moved from the Institute of Animal Genetics, where they were stored in 'four 4-drawer filing cabinets', to the Library in or after the year 1978, following Professor Alan Robertson's use of the records in compiling his biographical memoir of Waddington (published by the Royal Society in 1977).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited around the year 1978.


As far as is known, the material has not been appraised.


Further accruals unlikely.

Existence and Location of Originals

This material is original.

Existence and Location of Copies

No known copies.

Related Materials

Related material held in Edinburgh University Library Special Collections:

EUA IN1/ACU/A1: the records of the Insitute of Animal Genetics, particularly EUA IN1/ACU/A1/5: the departmental files of Conrad Hall Waddington, including a photograph album presented to Waddington on his 50th birthday in 1955;

Coll-1461: artwork and papers of Yolanda Sonnabend relating to her collaboration with C.H. Waddington;

EUA IN1/ACU/S1/1: Science Studies Unit: Interviews with staff of the Institute of Animal Genetics (21 CDs).


No known publications.


  1. Birse, Ronald M., Science at the University of Edinburgh 1583-1993, (Edinburgh, 1994);
  2. Falconer, Douglas, 'Quantitative Genetics in Edinburgh: 1947-1980' in Perspectives: Anecdotal, Historical and Critical Commentaries on Genetics, ed.s James F. Crow and William F. Dove (Genetics Society of America, 1983), pp.137-142;
  3. Robertson, Alan, Conrad Hal Waddington 1905 - 1975 (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 23, December 1977), pp.575-622;
  4. Robertson, Forbes W., 'Genetics' in Two Hundred Years of the Biological Sciences in Scotland: Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 84B, (Edinburgh, 1983), pp. 211-229;
  5. Programme of C.H. Waddington: Centennial Lectures and Reception held on 12 September 2005 at the College of Science and Engineering, the University of Edinburgh.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Clare Button, April-October 2012.

Papers of Conrad Hal Waddington
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
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379