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William Bateson: Scientific Correspondence and Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8634

Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence, field notebooks, material relating to Bateson's career, lecture notes, material relating to the University of Cambridge, papers documenting various scientific debates, draft publications, lectures, material relating to societies and organisations and photographs.


  • Creation: 1859-1935 (Circa)


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


22 archive box(es) (22 boxes)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

NOTE ON PREVIOUS FINDING AID In 1964 William Coleman selected a quantity of Bateson's manuscripts, then in the USA, and produced an inventory. Shortly afterwards he microfilmed the manuscripts (see W. Coleman, 'Bateson Papers', in The Mendel Newsletter No.2, November 1968). In 1975 A.G. Cock of Southampton University gained permission from Bateson's son, Gregory, to take the papers back to the UK, transferring them after listing to Cambridge University Library. He retained the numbering from Coleman's microfilm reels and sections, also preserving Coleman's physical arrangement of the archive (see A.G. Cock, 'The William Bateson Papers', in The Mendel Newsletter, No.14, June 1977). This numbering system was used as a finding aid to the archive in Cambridge University Library before the production of this catalogue. These alpha-numeric references to the envelopes and files that originally contained the papers have been included in this catalogue: they appear in the former reference field, e.g. G.7.m. The collection was renumbered for a second time in 2018 during re-cataloguing for digitisation.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by Dr Gregory Bateson and Mrs C. Kassarjia, 1976-1987.

Existence and Location of Copies

A large proportion of this archive has been digitised on Cambridge Digital Library as part of the William Bateson Project, funded by the Wellcome Trust. Links are provided at series levels. Some material has not been digitised for copyright reasons.

Related Materials

The John Innes Centre, Norwich, holds a large collection of Bateson's manuscripts. This was material that was not taken by Bateson's widow, Beatrice, after his death and includes correspondence, notebooks, and diaries, as well as specimens. Included is correspondence with his wife, Beatrice, and scientists such as E. Baur, Sir Francis Galton, J.S. Huxley and T.H. Morgan. The American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, holds Bateson family papers, 1829-1940.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom