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Finding Aid to the Horace Albert Barker Papers, 1933-1992
BANC MSS 2003/173 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Horace Albert Barker papers
    Date (inclusive): 1933-1997
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2003/173 c
    Creators : Barker, Horace Albert, 1907-
    Extent: Number of containers: 11 Linear feet: 13.75
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The Horace Albert Barker Collection, 1930-1997, consists primarily of materials documenting Barker's long career in the field of Microbiology at the University of California, Berkeley. The bulk of the collection consists of research notes and reports on Barker's innovative experiments. The collection also contains a considerable amount of correspondence, notes for lectures, seminars and courses, administrative information from UC Berkeley departments, and limited amounts of personal materials. The collection has been divided into six series: Correspondence, Lectures and Seminars, UC Berkeley, Research, Professional Associations, and Personal Papers.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Horace Albert Barker Papers, BANC MSS 2003/173 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    Scientist and professor of microbial chemistry at Berkeley: oral history transcript / Horace A. Barker; with an introduction by Clinton E. Ballou. Interviews conducted by Sally Smith Hughes in 1998 and 1999. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2001. BANC MSS 2002/71 c
    William Zev Hassid Papers, 1915-1974. BANC MSS 79/32 c

    Separated Material

    Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library. Barker's Scientific Reprint Collection has been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    University of California, Berkeley--Faculty
    University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Biochemistry
    Niel, Cornelis Bernardus van, 1897-1986
    California Agricultural Experiment Station
    University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Bacteriology
    Technische Universiteit Delft. Laboratory of Microbiology
    Biochemists--California--Interviews
    Vitamin B12--Research
    Microbiological chemistry--Research

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Horace Albert Barker papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Horace A. Barker on May 1, 2000.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Elia Van Lith and Josh Schneider.

    Biographical Information

    Horace Albert Barker was one of the most important microbiologists of the 20th century. During his career he contributed to several breakthroughs in the areas of oxidative assimilation by bacteria, the biological formation of methane, the carbon dioxide utilization of heterotrophic bacteria, the synthesis and degradation of lower fatty acids, and the fermentations of amino acids and purines. He was a member of the team that, in 1944, discovered the enzymatic steps that living cells take when they synthesize sucrose, and his work with the coenzyme B-12 earned him a nomination for the Nobel Prize in 1975.
    Barker was born on November 29, 1907 in Oakland, California to Albert Charles and Nettie Barker (nee Hindry), who had migrated west to California from Maine and Colorado, respectively.
    Barker entered Stanford University in 1925. By his third year, he had settled upon the sciences for his course of study, earning his AB in Physical Sciences in September of 1929. He stayed for a fifth year at the university, studying physical and organic chemistry, conducting his first research with Dr. Cornelis Barnardus van Niel and working as a teaching assistant in general physiology at the Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey. Dr. van Niel would be one of the primary influences on Barker's research. In 1933 Barker earned his PhD in Chemistry from Stanford University and soon moved to Holland to continue his studies with van Niel at the Technical University in Delft from 1935-1936.
    In 1933 he married Margaret McDowell, with whom he had two daughters, Barbara Friede and Elizabeth Mark, and one son, Robert.
    Barker was a popular lecturer, prolific publisher, and active in several departments at the University of California, Berkeley. He was appointed Instructor in Soil Microbiology and Junior Microbiologist in the Division of Plant Nutrition of the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of California at Berkeley in 1936. Barker became a full professor of soil microbiology in 1946, chairing the Department of Plant Nutrition from 1949-1950. Barker moved to the Department of Plant Biochemistry after it was incorporated into the Department of Biochemistry in 1959 and chaired the department from 1962-1964. He remained active in the Department well into his eighties and became a professor emeritus in 1975. The Regents of the University of California honored him in 1988 by changing the name of the Biochemistry building to Barker Hall.
    He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1968 and was an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships. Barker died on December 24, 2000 after a brief illness.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Horace Albert Barker Collection, 1930-1997, consists primarily of materials documenting Barker's long career in the field of Microbiology at the University of California, Berkeley. The bulk of the collection consists of research notes and reports on Barker's innovative experiments. The collection also contains a considerable amount of correspondence, notes for lectures, seminars and courses, administrative information from UC Berkeley departments, and limited amounts of personal materials. The collection has been divided into six series: Correspondence, Lectures and Seminars, UC Berkeley, Research, Professional Associations, and Personal Papers.
    Correspondence documents Barker's strong relationships with professional colleagues and students as well as his respected status in the international Microbiology community. He was a popular speaker and lectured frequently at various seminars and symposia. The notes and slides he saved from these presentations span nearly sixty years.
    Barker's files on his administrative and academic activities at the University of California document the dynamic nature of microbiology during its early years at the university. Before UC agricultural research migrated to the Davis campus, Barker worked in, and chaired, the Department of Plant Nutrition at Berkeley, which was a part of the College of Agriculture. His files on the department are mostly confined to building issues and to the difficult, nearly ten-year-process of merging the College of Agriculture with the Department of Biochemistry in the College of Letters and Sciences to form a unified Biochemistry Department.
    The bulk of the collection is made up of Barker's research experiment notes and files. Many of the notes were taken by graduate associates and research assistants and are divided into subseries by project title. These notes were generally stored in binders and have been rehoused in folders. Major projects include experiments with Clostridium, Glutamate, Vitamin B12, and the KAH Cleavage Enzyme.
    There is a limited amount of material relating to Barker's involvement with professional associations including the American Society of Biological Chemists.
    Barker's personal papers include family history and biographical information as well as honors and awards and notes taken during his education.