About this Collection

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 has made available online a digitized selection of the Michael Heidelberger Papers. This website provides access to the portions of the Michael Heidelberger Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research using the full collection of Michael Heidelberger Papers should contact the National Library of Medicine.

This Profile is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Heidelberger's career and professional life. Narrative sections available from the navigation bar under "The Story" focus on Heidelberger's life and major scientific contributions.

Researchers can search the digitized items using the Search box or browse all Documents and Visuals in the collection by selecting "Collection Items" from the navigation bar.