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Alfred H. Sturtevant Collection

Alfred H. Sturtevant CollectionAlfred Sturtevant was a geneticist, part of Thomas Hunt Morgan’s fly group at Columbia and then Caltech. He was known for his work on genetic mapping, where he discovered such phenomena as the position effect and unequal crossing over that became the foundation of genetic analysis to the present day. His interests ranged more widely across biological questions of the day and he also wrote one of the first comprehensive histories of genetics. He collected reprints in a tidy way, not messing them up with marginal notes or underlines.

His reprint collection, along with his academic gown, National Medal of Science, and other memorabilia found its way to his former student, Edward Novitski. Novitski’s work with Drosophila drew on techniques and approaches he had gained at Caltech with Sturtevant, and he became known as a fine researcher in his own right (with a well-honed sense of humor an practical jokes). Novitksi added substantially to the collection with many more reprints. That collection, which consists of 60 boxes of neatly alphabetized reprints in many languages, represents an outstanding look at the science of the day. While some of the articles are available electronically, many are not. And having a pile of articles from the same author in the same place is extremely helpful at times. We are prepared to make these reprints available to scholars who might find them useful. The medal and other memorabilia we sent to Caltech to join other materials they had collected in the archives there.

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