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Finding Aid to the Allan Wilson Papers, 1953-1998, bulk 1962-1991
BANC FILM 3175BANC MSS 95/22 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: Allan Wilson papers
    Date (inclusive): 1953-1998,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1962-1991
    Collection Number: BANC FILM 3175

    BANC MSS 95/22 c
    Creators : Wilson, Allan (Allan Charles), 1934-1991
    Extent: Microfilm: 50 reels Number of containers: 15 cartons, 1 box, 1 volume, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 20
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The Allan Wilson Papers, 1953-1996 document Wilson's career as a biochemist. The bulk of the collection focuses on his twenty-six year tenure at the University of California, Berkeley, but his education is also well documented within the collection. Included are copies of his publications and those of his lab as well as working papers for both published and unpublished manuscripts. Also included are his lecture notes and other teaching materials. Wilson's correspondence files are especially rich, documenting not only his dialogues with colleagues but his close work with his students and numerous protégés.
    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

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .
    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], Allan Wilson Papers, BANC MSS 95/22 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    The collection is available on microfilm with the exception of Series I which consists of materials that can be found in published journals.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Wilson, Allan, (Allan Charles), 1934-1991
    Faculty papers
    History of science and technology collection
    University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Biochemistry
    University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Human evolution
    Mitochondrial DNA--Research
    Human genetics

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Allan Wilson Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Leona Wilson on December 12, 1994.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Teresa Mora in 2007.

    Biographical Information

    Allan Wilson was born in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand, on October 18, 1934 and raised on a farm at Helvetia, Pukekohe. He began his education in New Zealand where he earned a B.S. in Zoology and Chemistry from Otago University. Wilson moved to the United States to pursue his graduate education, earning a M.S. from Washington State University in Zoology and Physiology and completing his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley (1961).
    Upon completing his Ph.D., Wilson worked as a post-doctorate fellow at Brandeis University. In 1964, Wilson joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry (now the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology) at UC Berkeley.
    Allan Wilson first came to world attention when he published a paper titled Immunological Time-Scale For Human Evolution in Science magazine in December 1967. Together with doctoral student Vincent Sarich, Wilson argued that the origins of the human species could be seen through, what he termed, a "molecular clock" and, using this reasoning, the two deduced that the earliest proto-hominids evolved only five million years ago. Most contemporary anthropologists, who favored a date of around 25 million years, dismissed his work.
    In the early 1980s, as his findings for the age of the proto-humans were starting to be more widely accepted, Wilson again dropped a bombshell on traditional anthropological thinking with his best known work with Rebecca Cann and Mark Stoneking on the so-called "Mitchocondrial Eve" hypothesis. By comparing differences in the mtDNA Wilson believed it was possible to estimate the time, and the place, modern humans first evolved. With his discovery that human mtDNA is genetically much less diverse than chimpanzee mtDNA, he concluded that modern human races had diverged recently from a single population while older human races such as Neanderthal, Java erectus and Pekin erectus had become extinct. He and his team compared mtDNA in people of different racial backgrounds and concluded that all modern humans evolved from one "lucky mother" in Africa about 200,000 years ago.
    Despite the initial controversy of many of his theories, Wilson was well respected. He trained more than 200 graduate students and post-docs in his Berkeley laboratory. His lab published more than 300 papers. He was elected to the Royal Society of London, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was awarded the 3M Life Sciences Award and the MacArthur Prize.
    Wilson was diagnosed with leukemia in 1990 and died on July 21, 1991, at the age of 56, while undergoing treatment for the disease.
    -Largely taken from the Allan Wilson Centre Web Page (http://awcmee.massey.ac.nz/)

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Allan Wilson Papers, 1953-1996, document Wilson's career as a biochemist. The bulk of the collection focuses on his twenty-six year tenure at the University of California, Berkeley, but his education is also well documented within the collection. Included are copies of his publications and those of his lab as well as working papers for both published and unpublished manuscripts. Also included are his lecture notes and other teaching materials. Wilson's correspondence files are especially rich, documenting not only his dialogues with colleagues but his close work with his students and numerous protégés.
    The collection was compiled after Wilson's death by Ellen Prager, a member of the Wilson laboratory. Dr. Prager made comprehensive notes on individual folders and documents further putting specific documents in context. Material was often duplicated throughout the collection and for the most part duplicates, including proofs and camera ready artwork for Wilson's publications, have been discarded.
    The basic series structure instituted by Dr. Prager has been retained and comprises eleven series: Publications; Manuscript Preparation; Correspondence; Sabbaticals and Special Trips; Lectures; Teaching Materials; Education; Professional; Early Career; Research; and Death and Fate of Lab. The final series, Death and Fate of Lab, consists of only a few folders of materials compiled by Dr. Prager documenting Wilson's illness, the academy's reaction to his death, and the fate of his laboratory. Also included in the collection are numerous scientific papers authored by the lab after Wilson's death.