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Life Sciences: A Guide to Archival Holdings

Carl Woese
Microbiologist Carl Woese, ca. 1980

Established in 1959, the School of Life Sciences includes the departments of Botany, Entomology, Microbiology, Physiology, and Zoology. Previously, these departments comprised the Division of Biological Sciences (1934-58) and the School of Natural History. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of these departments, and their close relationship with each other, records documenting Botany, Entomology, Microbiology, Physiology and Biophysics, and Zoology are listed together here.

The University Archives has additional administrative records relating to the School of Life Sciences.



A complete list of the Department of Plant Biology records series is available in the Archives database

College and Departmental Archives:
  • Departmental Correspondence (Record Series 15/4/1): contains Botany Professor Thomas J. Burrill’s correspondence with presidents, deans, faculty, faculty at other universities, the superintendent of buildings and the registrar concerning botany; bacteriology; vegetable physiology; organic evolution; plants; botanical laboratory; herbarium; bacteriological examination of Illinois River waters; and other subjects
  • Departmental Subject File (Record Series 15/4/2): contains correspondence about courses, personnel, publications, research, and space
  • Statistical Reports (Record Series 15/4/5): show staff appointments and time allocated to instruction, research, and service
  • Plant Pathology Slides (Record Series 15/4/19): Glass slides of plant pathology photographs of Thomas J. Burrill, laboratories, plant diseases, maps showing infestations, Dutch Elm disease, charts showing financial losses due to blight, rot, rust, smut, spot and wilt
Faculty Papers:
Other sources:


Records documenting entomological research can be found in many record groups, but a complete list of the Department of Entomology records series is available

College and Departmental Archives:
Faculty Papers:


Complete list of Department of Microbiology records series in available in the Archives database

College and Departmental Archives:
Faculty Papers:
  • Fred W. Tanner Papers (Record Series 15/15/20): concerns research in bacteriology
  • Edward W. Voss, Jr. Papers (Record Series 15/15/21): includes Voss’ masters thesis, doctoral dissertation, and books “Anit-DNA Antibodies in SLE” (1988) and “Fluorescein Hapten: An Immunological Probe”
  • Carl Woese Papers (Record Series 15/15/22): concerns microbiology, evolution, the genetic code, bacteria, translation, ribosomes, ribosomal RNA sequencing, bacterial taxonomy, discovery of Archaea, trees of life, origin of life, exobiology, Charles Darwin, the MacArthur Award, the Leeuwenhoek Medal, the Crafoord Prize, NASA, the National Science Foundation , the Office of Naval Research, the Institute for Genomic Biology, and theMicrobiology Department
Social Media Archives:

Physiology and Biophysics

A complete list of records series from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics is available

College and Departmental Archives:
Faculty Papers:
  • Frederic R. Steggerda Papers (Record Series 15/17/20): research concerning stresses on the human gastrointestinal tract for USDA, USAF, and NASA and calcium metabolism
  • Govindjee Papers (Record Series 15/17/21): concerns photosynthesis, chlorophyll in photosynthesis, fluorescence induction and bacterial photosynthesis
  • Don C. DeVault Papers (Record Series 15/17/22): photosynthesis research and include material on conferences and meetings, protein structure, emigration of dissident Russian scientists, NSF grants, split beam spectra, DB spectra, porphyridium, chromatium, radiation safety, holography, oscillating electron tunneling, virtual state tunneling, electron transfer, energy gap, cytochromes, photooxidation, reduction oxidation, Britton Chance, cancer research, Linus Pauling and cancer research, the moon, statistics, quantum mechanics, high pressure work, filter design, solar cells, phonon deduction and quinanes
  • C. Ladd Prosser Papers (Record Series 15/17/23): concerns Prosser’s tenure as head of the Department of Physiology
  • William T. Greenough Papers (Record Series 15/19/30): relate to research on neurobiology of fragile X syndrome, brain development and maturation, cellular signaling in brain plasticity in learning and memory


Additional records related to Zoology can be found in the Department of Genetics and Development records series.

College and Departmental Archives:
Faculty Papers: