The C.H. Waddington collection contains a folder of correspondence with J.B.S. Haldane, who died 50 years ago this year, concerning the Journal of Genetics. The correspondence, which covers 1956 to 1957, expresses Waddington’s concern at the decision made by Haldane to take the Journal, of which he was editor, out to India with him when he retired.
The Journal of Genetics had a long-standing, although somewhat fraught, relationship with Edinburgh’s Institute of Animal Genetics. Established in 1910 by two men who could be called the ‘founding fathers’ of the science in Britain, William Bateson (who coined the term ‘genetics’ to encompass its present scientific meaning), and Reginald Punnett (who held the first Chair of Genetics in Britain), it is the oldest English language journal in that field of science. However, in its first few decades it was felt to be inaccessible and somewhat limited in its publication remit by certain more experimental scientists, including those at the Institute of Animal Genetics. This was so much the case that the Institute’s director, F.A.E. Crew and his colleagues at the Institute, Julian Huxley, Lancelot Hogben and others, teamed together in 1923 to establish the Journal of Experimental Biology along with an associated Society of Experimental Biology. As hinted at in its title, the new Journal aimed to publish papers of a more experimental nature covering a wider range of genetical and evolutionary biology theories and hypotheses than covered by the Journal of Genetics at that time.
However, when editorship later passed to physiologist, geneticist, mathematician and general polymath J.B.S. Haldane, his remarkable breadth of interest and abilities and sharp, colourful personality transformed the Journal’s remit and potential (although Waddington claimed he was ‘a rather niggling editor about details and notoriously bad at answering letters’ [part of GB 237 Coll-41/5/2/9 ]).
However, when Haldane decided to retire to India in the late 1950s, where he would become a naturalised citizen, his decision to take the Journal with him caused some consternation in Britain. Waddington, who was Crew’s successor as director of the Institute of Animal Genetics, felt that the editorship should pass over to him and his colleagues and that for Haldane to continue in India would be ‘chaotic’. But Haldane would not be dissuaded, writing with characteristic wryness to Waddington on 19 January 1957:
You can, of course reply that I am an old man and may soon die or lose such intellectual powers as I still possess. I may. But my systolic pressure is 120-130mm Hg. And I have not lost a day’s university teaching through illness since 1930. And meanwhile a thermonuclear bomb or a major economic crisis may affect British publication. When I die or become too senile to edit, there need be no more difficulty in transferring the Journal back to Britain than in transferring it to India.
(part of GB 237 Coll-41/5/2/9).
Following Haldane’s death in 1964, his widow Helen Spurway continued publication in India with Madhav Gadgil, H. Sharat Chandra and Suresh Jayakar until she died in 1977. In 1985, the Indian Academy of Sciences resumed publication of the Journal, which still continues to this day in association with Springer publishing.
Look out for a longer piece here on J.B.S. Haldane late this year!
When you use Searcher, you’ll usually return a large amount of results. The limiters on the right of the screen make it easy for you to refine your search results. As part of the ongoing Searcher review, and to make it easier to understand what you’re searching, we‘ve changed the wording of the limiters on the results screen.
New limiter labels:
What does this mean?
Limit to Library Catalogue: more or less the same as doing a search on the Classic Catalogue. You search books, ebooks, print journal titles and ejournal titles but NOT ejournal content. Books (both print and e-books) are weighted to appear at the top of a results list.
Limit to All Library Resources (print and e-content): this searches the Library Catalogue (as described above) PLUS the e-content (ejournals and databases) to which we subscribe. Again, books and ebooks are weighted to appear at the top of the results list.
Limit to Full Text: Check this box to find results for which the Library provides full text access. This includes ejournal and database content as well as e-books, but NOT print books.
Checking this box DOES NOT search the full text of an article or e-book. To search full text use the expander, ‘Also search within the full text of the articles’ which you’ll find in ‘Search Options’, under the search box on the Searcher homepage, or by clicking ‘Show More’ under the ‘Limit to box’ on the results page.
There will be further changes to Searcher over the next few weeks. If you’ve any feedback or suggestions please get in touch: email@example.com
To celebrate the University’s first-ever Seachdain na Gàidhlig, or Gaelic Week, yesterday CRC displayed a number of treasures from the rare book and manuscript collections. These included notebooks of folklorist Alexander Carmichael, the 11th-century manuscript known as the “Celtic Psalter”, and the first book printed in any Gaelic language – the 1567 liturgy Foirm na nurrnuidheadh agas freasdal na sacramuinteadh, agas foirceadul an chreidimh Christuidhe andso sios. We are the only library in Scotland to have a copy of this little book; only two other copies are known to survive.
Student recommendations are in at New College Library! New in this month is Newman and his family, by Edward Short, available as an ebook via the library catalogue. Also new is The Oxford guide to the historical reception of Augustine, by Karla Pollmann, at Folio BR65.A9 Oxf.
Students are encouraged to recommend books for the library using the online form at http://www.ed.ac.uk/is/RAB.
You can see an regularly updated list of new books for New College Library on the Library Catalogue – choose the New Books Search and limit your search to New College Library. Here’s a quick link to new books arriving in the last few weeks. A word of caution – some of the books listed here may still be in transit between the Main Library (where they are catalogued) and New College Library, so not on the shelf just yet.
Do you want to read about history in the making? University of Edinburgh users have access to large collections of online newspaper archives, going back to the nineteenth century and beyond.
UK broadsheet titles include the Times, Sunday Times, Scotsman, Guardian and Observer. We also now have access to UK Press Online, an archive of popular press newspapers including the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Worker.
For worldwide coverage, you will find the New York Times, Pravda, Asahi Shimbun, People’s Daily and more.
Our newest Library Assistant at the Library Annexe is Marko Mlakar, who joins us at Edinburgh from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Marko worked at the University of Edinburgh last year as an intern within the Scholarly Communications team and brings a wealth of experience to the Collections Management team. Marko settled into his new role just in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and with enough Olympic spirit still in the air, reflects on the competition in his first blog entry.
Carl Jones, Library Annexe Supervisor
With the Olympic Games now behind us, it’s time to reflect a little on the fun we had at the Annexe over these past few weeks. Honestly, we could not hold our excitement about the Games so we got involved with every single Olympic day – falling short of watching TV during our work hours, of course! Since that super Olympic spirit hadn’t really left us we wanted to track down the oldest item about the Olympics in our collection for the Annexe blog… but it turned out to be neither that interesting nor that old – a bit of an anti-climax, for sure! Our advice is if you really want to know more about the Games, Moray House Library seems to be the place to visit.
We did, however, manage to introduce a bit of playful competition to the office during the games! Cheering for our united athletes of “Team Annexe” the Olympic spirit was running high from the get go, to the extent that we even created our Annexe Team Olympic medal board, which we put up to follow the achievements of our Olympians. Our united Team of Australia, United Kingdom and Slovenia won no less than 15 medals altogether (3 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze) beating China and some other great winter sporting nations such as Finland, Italy and Sweden. WOW! That is without a doubt an extraordinary achievement for such a small team. And as every story has to have a moral at the end, we would like to make sure you get this one right – never underestimate the power of team effort, no matter how small the team.
Marko Mlakar, Library Annexe Assistant
It’s a bit like BBC iPlayer but can offer you much, much more.
BoB (Box of Broadcasts) National is an online off-air recording and media archive service for UK higher and further education institutions. The University of Edinburgh subscribes to BoB so all staff and students at the University can get access to this fantastic service when working anywhere on the UK mainland.
BoB makes the finding and use of important TV and radio content for education simple and instant. It allows you to choose and record any broadcast programme from 60+ TV and radio channels, including over 10 foreign language channels. Recorded programmes are kept indefinitely and added to a media archive, with content shared by users across all subscribing institutions.
With BoB you can:
For more information on the service and how to access and use it see Box of Broadcasts (BoB).
All of history seems to be contained in the letters of ordinary people living in extraordinary times. We may know what backdrop will emerge, but there are seldom enough traces to discover the fate of the individual. The following letter, sent by a Dr Friedrich M Urban of Brünn a short while after the Nuremberg rally of 1938 to Professor Godfrey Thomson, is a fascinating example:
It is not clear from Thomson’s papers how he knew Urban – quite possibly he had met him while studying in Strasburg, during which time he undertook a tour of Europe.
Urban’s letter shows a great deal of affection for Thomson and his wife, referring to the kindness of the Thomsons to their girls. Speaking to Thomson as an old friend, Urban thanks him for the suggestion of medicinal honey to help with his gallbladder, and reports on the method’s success! But the mood in the letter quickly turns:
Much has happened since we met and took those pleasant walks in the parc [sic] of the Spielberg. Our country was involved in a catastrophe which is bound to have the most serious consequences for its citizens. The old conditions cannot continue and some new form of political and economic existence must be found.
The first consequence was that we had to separate from our children. When we listened to Hitler’s speech at Nurenberg [sic] – for who did not? – we understood that he contemplated violent measures against our country. We wished to have the girls out of the way and asked Mr and Mrs Sanderson and Dr Fernberger for hospitality for our children. We got positive answers at once and managed to get the girls across the German frontiers. It was in the nick of time, for three weeks later the frontiers were closed.
There is much about the letter that is perplexing – initially, I thought Urban might have been writing from Brunn in Austria, but for the addition of the umlaut (both Germany and Austria have regions called Spielberg to confuse matters further). He could also have been writing from Brno in the Czech Republic, which does not seem an unlikely option considering Brno is home to Spielberg castle and was captured by Germany in 1939. However, it does seem rather unlikely that Urban would use the German spelling of his town in that instance.
If we are to assume that Urban is writing from Germany, his phrase ‘our country was involved in a catastrophe’ is an interesting one. The ‘catastrophe’ he refers to is likely the annexation of Austria by Germany, which took place earlier in the year. It was a catastrophe caused by Germany’s actions rather than their involvement, but he makes a clear distinction between the activities of the Nazis in this instance and ‘our’ country, his country, refusing to identify one with the other.
Urban tells how the girls stayed in London with the Sandersons for a few weeks, before sailing to New York where they remained in the custody of the Fernbergers in Philadelphia. He mentions how they are waiting for a letter describing the girls’ travels, but can’t hide quite how much they are missed:
We miss the girls tremendously, but inspite [sic] of this we thank God every day that they are not here and that we have friends who look after them.
He talks about how life at Brunn will likely become ‘rather difficult’, and asks for Thomson’s help in finding teaching work in Britain. While he accepts that this may be impossible, and admits his chances of securing work in Britain are ‘very small’, Urban remains optimistic nonetheless – thankful even – that his daughters are safe, and his health good. I can find no trace of Urban – whether he and his wife were ever reunited with their daughters remains a mystery. For me, this serves to make the letter, which describes the plight of millions throughout Europe from the perspective of one individual to another, all the more touching.
If you have any information regarding Dr Urban, do please comment.
The Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Journal of Lithic Studies. The Journal of Lithic Studies is published online by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and is hosted by the University of Edinburgh Journal Hosting Service. All articles in JLS are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 UK: Scotland License.
JLS is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that focuses on archaeological research into the manufacture and use of stone tools, as well as the origin and properties of the raw materials used in their production. Coverage will include all geographic regions and time periods. Issues will be published twice a year in March and September, starting with March of this year.
JLS will publish research articles, short reports, and methodology demonstrations, as well as editorials, summary or synthesis articles, interviews, and reviews of books and events. As an electronic publication, authors can take advantage of the wide variety of media available in this format in addition to those available in the traditional paper format. At the moment, the journal is published in English but we are open to publishing issues in other languages in the future.
To receive future updates from JLS, please register on the journal’s website at http://journals.ed.ac.uk/lithicstudies/ .
For more information about the Journal Hosting Service, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org