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These papers of Joseph Needham (1900-95), former Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, founder and director of the Needham Research Institute, and author of Science and Civilisation in China, include important records of Needham's family background, his career as a biochemist, his work with the Sino-British Science Cooperation Office and UNESCO, and his political and religious interests.

The collection is divided into the following sections : A. Biographical, including correspondence with his parents, and material re his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1941; B. Cambridge, including documentation of the Department of Biochemistry, general University matters, the development of history of science at Cambridge, the Faculty of Oriental Studies, and Gonville and Caius College; C. Sino-British Science Cooperation Office; D. UNESCO; E. Undergraduate and research work covering the period 1924-1942; F. Publications; G. Lectures and broadcasts; H. Visits and conferences, 1920-1984; J. Societies and organisations, notably the Theoretical Biology Club; K. Politics, including documentation of the Labour Party in 1930s Cambridge, and links with the Chinese Communist government after 1949; L. Religion and society, including documentation of Needham's association with various religious and humanist organisations, among them the Oldham Group and the Teilhard Centre for the Future of Man; M. Correspondence, the correspondents including Jean Brachet, J. K. F. Holtfreter, Basile Marza, C. H. Waddington, and J. H. Woodger (other correspondence may be found throughout the collection).

Some of the material is restricted. An overview of the collection is available on the ArchiveSearch database which also has links to a full catalogue on the National Archives Discovery website. A three-volume typescript catalogue prepared by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Papers of Contemporary Scientists (University of Bath) is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Contact: Katrina Dean (01223 333056;