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DescriptionDivided into 11 sections, as follows:

Section A, Biographical, chiefly consists of material relating to Bateson's life and to his wife, Beatrice, with smaller groups of papers appertaining to other family members. There are biographical articles on Bateson, obituaries etc, letters and papers documenting key appointments in his career, and a number of photographs, some of Bateson during a visit to Russia [probably 1925]. Beatrice Bateson's papers are quite extensive, comprising engagement diaries, and correspondence covering diverse topics. This includes the publication of her memoir of Bateson and 'Letters from the Steppe (both 1928); interests in literature and the arts; and financial and legal business. The papers relating to the lives of other family members (Bateson's mother and siblings) is not extensive, being principally printed biographical material, with a few letters.

Section B, John Innes Horticultural Institution, includes extensive correspondence between Bateson and members of the Institution's Council concerning negotiations over his appointment as Director. There is a substantial quantity of applications for studentships and other posts, and papers relating to other staff matters such as 'tea party' talks and war-time National Service. A fine record of plant-breeding experiments carried out during Bateson's time is provided by the 'Commonplace Book' (1911-1925), much of it written in his hand. There is further correspondence and papers covering the progress of the Institution from 1910 and various matters arising from its development. The latter include issues connected with the local community around the Merton site, post-war reconstruction, the hosting of Genetical Society meetings, and a staff competition.

Section C, University of Cambridge, includes manuscript sets of Bateson's lecture notes, 1897-1906. There is a quantity of printed material, mostly copies from the University of Cambridge library collections, documenting two controversial issues: the admission of women to degrees and the retention of compulsory Greek for entrance to the University. Included also in this section is a student notebook that belonged to Mary G. Sykes, c.1907.

Section D, Research, reflects Bateson's international standing as the leading proponent of Mendel's theories and the diverse nature of his researches and interests. There are nine of his manuscript notebooks, 1896-1911, which contain notes on plants, cereals, poultry etc. The bulk of this section comprises corrrespondence to Bateson and papers, arranged alphabetically by topic. The topics include the following: butterflies, cattle, pigeons, primula, sugar beet, and various human genetic diseases and disorders such as eye diseases, skin diseases and deafness. Bateson's correspondents are breeders of plants and animals and scientists in the fields of zoology, botany, agriculture etc. With the letters are often manuscript notes (some by Bateson himself), pedigrees, photographs from experiments, and flower specimens.

Section E, Publications, consists of typescript and manuscript drafts of published papers and articles, 1905-c.1925; correspondence, principally concerning 'Mendel's Principles of Heredity' and the 'Journal of Genetics' (founded by Bateson and Punnett in 1910); reprints of Bateson's papers, 1884-1926; and lists of his scientific publications.

Section F, Lectures and addresses, presents drafts, corrected proofs etc, of public lectures and addresses, covering the period 1906-1926. Included are the following: addresses delivered in Australia in 1914 as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; Address (on education) to the Salt Schools, Shipley, 1915; the Galton Lecture to the Eugenics Education Society, 1920; and the Joseph Leidy Memorial Lecture, USA, 1922.

Section G, Visits and conferences, is slight, with documentation of six organisations in which Bateson had involvement, such as the Genetical Society and the Royal Society.

Section J, Interests in education and the arts, is slight, chiefly documenting Bateson's contribution to the Prime Minister's Committee on Classics, 1919-1921. There is also correspondence (some copies) relating to his interest in the works of Samuel Butler, 1902-1925.

Section K, Correspondence, is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Among the correspondents are some of Bateson's colleagues such as W.O. Backhouse, F.M. Durham and R.C. Punnett, and numerous other scientists from the UK and abroad such as Erwin Baur, Sir Rowland Biffen, L.J. Cole, Sir Archibald Garrod, Sir Julian Huxley, J.P. Lotsy and T.H. Morgan. Also represented is the Laxton Brothers company of seed-growers with which Bateson had a long association in connection with fruit-tree breeding.

Section L, Slides and drawings, comprises 55 glass slides for lectures with Bateson's original box for storing them, and two other glass slides of photographic portraits of Bateson. The drawings and figures are mostly of plants, chiefly Tropaeolum by A.E. Gairdner, 1912-1913.
Date[c.1969]-2002, nd
Related MaterialThe John Innes Centre holds photocopies of the Bateson archive of letters and papers at Cambridge University Library (ref: Add. 8634) and of the Bateson archives in the American Philosphical Society, Philadelphia. This latter material consists of two collections: the 'Coleman' Collection and the Lipset Collection.
GB/JIC/304Bateson; William (1861-1926); Geneticist; Fellow of the Royal Society1861-1926
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