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Michael Heidelberger (1888-1991) was one of the fathers of modern immunology and the founder of immunochemistry, the branch of biochemistry that examines the mammalian immune system on a molecular level. His seminal discovery with Oswald T. Avery in 1923 that powerful antigens of pneumococcus bacteria are polysaccharides opened up an expansive new area in the study of microorganisms, and laid a path for a new understanding of infectious diseases, their treatment, and their prevention. The National Library of Medicine is the repository for the Michael Heidelberger Papers, which range from 1901 to 1990. The collection contains correspondence, published scientific articles, laboratory notebooks, diaries, photographs, and examples of Heidelberger's original musical compositions.
As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine is digitizing and making available over the World Wide Web a selection of the Michael Heidelberger Papers, for use by educators and researchers. This Web site provides access to the portions of the Michael Heidelberger Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research in the Michael Heidelberger Papers are invited to contact the National Library of Medicine.
This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Heidelberger's scientific career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Heidelberger'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.