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The Papers of César Milstein

Reference Code: GBR/0014/MSTN

Scope and Contents

Papers including correspondence and research notes.
Including some correspondence of his wife, Celia Milstein, to 2003.


  • Creation: 1952 - 2002

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Some items in sections B, C, E and H are closed and closures are marked in the catalogue.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holder and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

César Milstein was born in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, 8 October 1927, the son of Lázaro and Máxima Milstein. He was educated at the Colegio Nacional, Bahia Blanca, 1939-44, at secondary school in Buenos Aires, and at the University of Buenos Aires, 1945-52. He also worked part-time at the Laboratorios Liebeschutz to fund his studies. He married Celia Prilleltensky in 1953.

He travelled for a year in Europe with his new wife, 1953-4. He studied for a PhD at the Instituto de Quimica Biologica at the University of Buenos Aires, 1954-7, and then joined the staff of the Instituto Nacional de Microbiología, Buenos Aires, 1958. He won a British Council travelling scholarship and chose to study for a PhD in the Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge University, 1958-61. He returned briefly to Argentina as the first head of the Division de Biologia Molecular at the Instituto Nacional de Microbiología, Buenos Aires, 1961-3. Political unrest in Argentina led him to seek a post in Cambridge again and he joined the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology, 1963. He remained there until his retirement in 1995, and was successively Head of the Protein Chemistry Subdivision, 1969-80, Joint Head of the Division of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, 1981-95, and Deputy Director of the Laboratory, 1988-95. His work concentrated on immunology, in particular the structure of antibody proteins and the genetic study of antibody diversification.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine jointly with Georges Köhler and Niels Jerne, 1984, for the discovery of monoclonal antibodies. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, 1975; created Companion of Honour, 1995; and awarded the Medical Research Council's first Millennium Medal, 2000.

He died in 2002.


126 archive box(es)

3 outsize box(es)

1 item(s) (1 box of slides)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian

Other Finding Aids

Copies of the full catalogue are available here (External Documents field), at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and on the National Archives Discovery catalogue ( An index of correspondents is included with the catalogue.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Celia Milstein, 2003, 2006 and 2012, and deposited after cataloguing by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists (NCUACS), 2006.


See also an online exhibition on Milstein on the What is Biotechnology website,


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, April 2006. The papers were catalogued by NCUACS. Biographical information was obtained from the website of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Date information

DateText: c 1952-2002.


Milstein, César, 1927-2002, molecular biologist

2006-03-28 10:23:22+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087