Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a private, not-for-profit research and education institution at the forefront of molecular biology and genetics. CHSL is organized into six divisions:

  • Research: Generates knowledge that will yield better diagnostics and treatments for cancer, neurological diseases and other major diseases, and that will lead to improved and more diverse food resources and more efficient biofuels
  • Watson School of Biological Sciences: Trains the next generation of scientists through an innovative Ph.D. program and other educational offerings
  • Meetings and Courses: Brings together more than 12,500 scientists each year from around the world to present and evaluate new data and ideas in biological research
  • Banbury Center: Provides a crossroads where scientists discuss important topics in molecular biology, human genetics and science policy, among others
  • DNA Learning Centers: Educates the public about genetics through the nation’s first science centers dedicated to this purpose
  • CSHL Press: Publishes invaluable materials for the worldwide scientific community and the public


History of molecular biology, genetics, and biotechnology


The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives was created in 1972 and houses a rich repository of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and scientific reprints documenting genetic research, and the work of the Laboratory faculty, since 1890. The Archives makes its collection available to scholars, graduate students and writers interested in the history of molecular biology and genetics. The Archives' mission is to gather and preserve information and materials related to the history of molecular biology and genetics and the development of the Laboratory, and to make this documentation available worldwide. Access to Archives materials is by appointment only, please contact Archives staff at: archives at

Personal Collections

CSHL Archives’ mission is to collect and document both the history of science at Cold Spring Harbor, and the history of molecular biology and genetics in general. We are home to the personal collections of numerous notable scientists, including Nobel laureates James D. Watson, Barbara McClintock, Alfred Hershey, Walter Gilbert, and Hermann Muller. Our collections date back to the early days of scientific research at Cold Spring Harbor, including Charles Davenport (first director of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Genetics), Reginald Harris (first director of Long Island Biological Association), and Hugo Fricke (radiation scientist at CSH from 1928-1955). The Archives also contains the personal collections of recent CSHL scientists, such as yeast geneticists Amar Klar, James Hicks, and Jeffrey Strathern, as well history of science scholars, such Elof Carlson and Errol Friedberg. Our collections generally consist of correspondence, photographs, laboratory notebooks, administrative files, memorabilia, and audiovisual media. 

Special Collections

CSHL Archives is dedicated to documenting the history of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and its predecessor institutions. These institutions include the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (1890-1924), Carnegie Institution of Washington (including the Eugenics Record Office and the Department of Genetics) (1904-1971), and the Long Island Biological Association (1924-1962). In 1962, the various scientific institutions at Cold Spring Harbor merged to form the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory of Quantitative Biology. Today CSHL is a world renowned research center dedicated to the study of cancer, neuroscience, quantitative biology, plant biology, and genomics. Our special collections include the administrative files for CSHL and its predecessor institutions, photographs of the annual CSH Symposium of Quantitative Biology, and documentation of the many meetings, courses, and special events held at CSHL. It also includes our extensive Oral History Collection, Reprint Collection, Maps and Blueprints Collection, and our collection of Rare Books.

CSHL offers multiple fellowships and grants, including the Sydney Brenner Research Scholarship and Research Travel Grants.

Collections URL

Holding Highlights

  • Genentech Center for the History of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
  • Archival collections of James D. Watson, Sydney Brenner, Barbara McClintock, Hermann Muller, Wally Gilbert, Charles Weissmann, and others
  • Reprint collection assembled by Charles Davenport and Milislav Demerec totaling over 90,000 items
  • Rare book collection assembled by Charles Davenport, Milislav Demerec, and amplified by gifts from Sydney Brenner, Elof Carlson and James Watson
  • Photograph archive containing over 100,000 photographs of preeminent CSHL geneticists from 1890 to present when they attended meetings at Cold Spring Harbor
  • CSHL international meetings and courses bring together more than 12,500 scientists each year from around the world to present and evaluate new data and ideas in biological research
  • Abstracts from all CSHL scientific meetings covering the period from 1950 - present.

Fellowship Name

Sydney Brenner Research Scholarship

Fellowship URL

Link to Calendar of Events