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H MS c476

Amos, Harold. Papers, 1949-2003: Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

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Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


The Harold Amos Papers were processed as part of the Center's Maximizing Microbiology project, with funding from a Hidden Collections grant from the Harvard University Library.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c476
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Amos, Harold
Title: Harold Amos papers
Date(s): 1949-2003 (inclusive)
Quantity: 19 cubic feet (19 records center cartons, 1 letter size document box and 1 flat oversize box)
Quantity: 0.01 gigabytes* (1 3.5 inch floppy disk)
Language of materials: Papers are predominantly in English. Some papers are in French..
Abstract: The Harold Amos papers, 1951-2003, are the product of Amos's professional, research, and teaching activities throughout his career. Amos is known for his research into bacterial metabolism and animal and bacterial virology, including the use of bacterial RNA to program higher cell protein synthesis, enzyme inductions, insulin, serum, temperature effects, ribosomes, phosphoproteins, RNA metabolism, as well as glucose starvation and glycerol and hexose metabolism. The papers are arranged in four series: I. Correspondence files, 1967-2003, undated; II. Minority Faculty Development Program records, 1983-2002, undated; III. Harvard Medical School records, 1949-2002, undated; and IV. Research records, 1968-2001, undated.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The Harold Amos papers were gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine by Hsueh-Cheng Chang in 2004.
  • Accession number 2004-025. Hsueh-Cheng Chang. 2003 October 01.
  • Processing Information:

    Processed by Elizabeth Coup, 2016 March.
    Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access. Items were removed from three ring binders and, where necessary, photocopied to acid-free paper. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals when present. Processing staff discarded duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine. All electronic media (as found in Series II) were imaged using Access Data's FTK and Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device. Records were then transferred to secure storage. Files that could be opened were sampled for content; however, researchers should be aware that not every file in the collection could be opened and assessed. Files for which specific software was needed, but not available to staff at the time of processing, were not reviewed. Regardless of copy status, all original media have been retained.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I, II, and III. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, II, III, and IV. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
    Access to electronic records in this collection (as found in Series I) is also subject to the above restrictions. Additionally, access is premised on the availability of a computer station, requisite software, and/or the ability of Public Services staff to review and/or print out records of interest in advance of an on-site visit.
    The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact Public Services for more information concerning retrieval of material.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to Public Services. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from Public Services are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

    Preferred Citation:

    Harold Amos papers, 1949-2003. HMS c476. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

    Related Papers in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

    Biographical Notes

    Harold Amos (1918-2003), was the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, as well as the Chair, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Chair, Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. He was the first African American doctoral graduate of the Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, in 1952, and the first African American to serve as the chair of a department at Harvard Medical School. Amos is known for his research into bacterial metabolism and animal and bacterial virology, including the use of bacterial RNA to program higher cell protein synthesis, enzyme inductions, insulin, serum, temperature effects, ribosomes, phosphoproteins, RNA metabolism, as well as glucose starvation and glycerol and hexose metabolism.
    Harold Amos was born on 7 September 1918 in Pennsauken, New Jersey, the second of nine children of Howard R. Amos, Sr. and Iola Johnson. He graduated first in his class from Camden High School in New Jersey in 1936, and completed his undergraduate studies at Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts, graduating summa cum laude in 1941 with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Amos was a graduate assistant in the Biology Department of Springfield College, until he was drafted into the Quartermaster Corps of the United States Army (1942). He served during World War II as a warrant officer in a battalion that supplied gasoline to troops; he spent two years in England before serving in France and the former Czechoslovakia until his discharge in 1946. Amos enrolled in the Biological Sciences' graduate program in the Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, after his 1946 discharge, and completed his Master's degree in 1947. He became the first African American to earn a doctoral degree from the Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, in 1952. Amos received a Fulbright fellowship and worked in the laboratory of Georges Cohen at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, working with the threonine mutants of Escherichia coli (1951-1952). Amos then returned to Harvard Medical School in 1954 as an Instructor in the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology. He advanced to the position of full Professor in 1969. He was the first African American to head a department at Harvard Medical School when he became the Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, a role he held from 1968-1971 and again from 1975-1978. He twice served as the Chair of the Division of Medical Sciences (1971-1975, 1978-1988). In 1975, he became the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and held this role until he became a Professor Emeritus in 1988. After his retirement, he became an active member of the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and continued to work in the laboratory of Jack Murphy at Boston University up until his death.
    Much of Amos's research focuses on bacterial metabolism and animal and bacterial virology, though his initial focus was on Escherichia coli and its phages, including the 1958 finding of 5-methyl cytosine in Escherichia coli, which was only confirmed decades later. During his time at Harvard Medical School, Amos studied the use of bacterial RNA to program higher cell protein synthesis, enzyme inductions, insulin, serum, temperature effects, ribosomes, phosphoproteins, RNA metabolism, as well as glucose starvation and glycerol and hexose metabolism.
    Amos was professionally active in a variety of organizations with an special interest in minority students and faculty members. He was on the Board of Directors, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, and on the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program Advisory Committee, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He was on the National Cancer Society Advisory Board and the President's Cancer Panel. He was a President of the Massachusetts Division, American Cancer Society, and a lifetime delegate to the National American Cancer Society Assembly, the volunteer governing body of the American Cancer Society. Throughout his career, Amos was an advocate for the National Institutes of Health and the Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology programs for minority college students.
    For his scholarly work, Amos received numerous awards. He received the Honoris Causa doctoral degree, Harvard University (1996), and the Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2000). Amos was awarded the first Charles Drew World Medical Prize from Howard University (1989), and received the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences (1995). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1974) and was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1991) and the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (1991). Additionally, Amos received the first annual Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award for his contributions to diversity efforts at Harvard Medical School.

    Resources

    Series and Subseries in the Collection

    Scope and Content

    The Harold Amos papers, 1951-2003, are the product of Amos's professional, research, and teaching activities throughout his career as the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and as the Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Chair of the Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; a founder and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Medical Faculty Development Program; and a scientific researcher. The papers are arranged are arranged in four series: I. Correspondence files, 1967-2003, undated; II. Minority Faculty Development Program records, 1983-2002, undated; III. Harvard Medical School records, 1949-2002, undated; and IV. Research records, 1968-2001, undated.
    Correspondence files (series I) contains letters relating to Amos's professional career and activities as a researcher, professor, and advisor to various boards. This includes correspondence related to meetings and conferences, and related travels plans, scientific research, as well as payments for Amos and his employees. The files also contain related drafts of papers and presentations, reprinted journal articles, newspaper clippings, photographs, curriculum vitae, and related materials, sent from peers, colleagues, former students, as well as individuals outside the medical community, including minority high school students interested in the medical or scientific fields. The records further relate to a number of professional organizations with which Amos was closely involved as an advisor or board member, and includes tapes and videocassettes.
    Minority Faculty Development Program records (series II) relate to the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation, which was renamed the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program in January 2004. Amos was a founding member of the National Advisory Committee of the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program in 1983, and served as National Program Director between 1989-1993. He remained active with the program until his death. Records include application materials and interviews, meeting minutes, collected fellows' biographies and curriculum vitae, as well as articles and correspondence relating to the program and similar programs focused on minority medical education and professional development. The series also contains recorded interviews with former fellows on videocassette.
    Harvard Medical School records (series III) relate to Amos's career as an instructor and then Professor and Chair in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Papers include correspondence, meeting minutes, memos, expense reports and vouchers, newspaper and magazine articles and scientific journal article reprints relating to the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, the Division of Medical Sciences, and Amos's teaching and administrative duties.
    Research records (series IV) contains materials resulting from Amos's research completed in his laboratories at Harvard Medical School and Boston University, including laboratory notebooks; raw research data; photographs, radiographs, reel-to-reel tapes, and prints depicting research data and experiments; as well as drafts of papers by Amos and peers and scientific journal article reprints used for research purposes. Research files relate to the study of bacterial metabolism and animal and bacterial virology, including experiments relating to glucose transport, enzyme inductions, NIL cell growth and aminooxyacetate, and cell metabolism.
    Papers are predominantly in English. Some papers are in French.

    Container List

    Additional Index Terms

    Enzyme induction
    Glucose
    Glycerin--Metabolism
    Hexose phosphates--Metabolism
    Insulin
    Microbial metabolism
    Microbiology--Education
    Microbiology--Study and teaching
    Minority college administrators--United States
    Proteins—Synthesis
    Ribosomes
    Virology
    Enzyme induction
    Glucose
    Glycerol
    Hexoses
    Insulin
    Protein biosynthesis
    Ribosomes
    Virology
    Articles
    Audiocassettes
    Audiotapes
    Correspondence
    Photographic prints
    Radiographs
    Videocassettes
    Microbiologists
    Virologists
    Amos, Harold
    Harvard Medical School
    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Minority Medical Faculty Development Program
    Springfield College

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