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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

[Avery at his desk]. [ca. 1920].
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Oswald Theodore Avery (1877-1955) was a distinguished Canadian-born bacteriologist and research physician and one of the founders of immunochemistry. He is best known for his discovery that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) serves as genetic material. The work of Avery and the members of his team at the Rockefeller Institute, observes Nobel laureate Dr. Joshua Lederberg, was "the historical platform of modern DNA research" and "betokened the molecular revolution in genetics and biomedical science generally."

Because of the strong connection between his and Avery's work, Dr. Lederberg collected materials related to Avery's career and donated them to the NLM. Additional materials were drawn from the Oswald T. Avery Papers at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Documents in the Oswald T. Avery Collection range from 1912 to 2005. The collection contains awards, laboratory notes, research reports, published articles and books, correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, speeches, photographic prints, and audiovisual materials.

As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has collaborated with the Tennessee State Library and Archives to digitize and make available over the World Wide Web a selection of the Oswald T. Avery Collection for use by educators and researchers. This site provides access to the portions of the Oswald T. Avery Collection of the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the National Library of Medicine that have been selected for digitization. Individuals interested in conducting research in the Oswald T. Avery Collection are invited to contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the National Library of Medicine.

This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Avery's scientific career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Avery's life and major scientific contributions. We suggest that new visitors begin with this exhibit, which includes a small selection of documents and visuals, organized within these sections. Each section begins with a "Background Narrative," which leads to "Documents" and "Visuals."

Visitors may access additional materials through Search on the navigation bar. They may also view the materials alphabetically or chronologically by choosing Browse on the navigation bar. Documents and visuals in these lists are arranged by format and then either alphabetically by title or chronologically.


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National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services
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