‘Miss Crowfoot is one of the most interesting undergraduates who have been in the College whilst I have been Prinicipal. Her mind is both mature and imaginative. Her interests are so varied that it is extraordinary that she should be able to keep her special work at so consistently high a level. She has a real passion for science, has studied crystallography and played at astronomy alongside her own subject…Miss Crowfoot … has a nature of great charm and sincerity, with a special flavour which is very much her own. I believe that all my colleagues would agree with me in thinking it waste of a rare personality if Miss Crowfoot does not follow her strong natural bent for research beyond the bounds of a degree examination’
This glowing recommendation from Margery Fry, the Principal of Somerville College was written in March 1931, as Dorothy Crowfoot (later Hodgkin) came towards the end of the third year of her chemistry degree at Oxford. As suggested she pursued a research career and went on to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964 for her work on the determination of the structure of biochemical substances such as penicillin and vitamin B12.
Dorothy Hodgkin donated her archive to the Bodleian Library in 1994. On-going work over many months by the Saving Oxford Medicine team, means that the catalogue of the papers is now available directly from the Bodleian Library’s website, making it easier for researchers to access and search:
Full Bodleian shelfmarks have been added to the catalogue for the first time, which will streamline the ordering of manuscripts. We hope that the enhanced catalogue will increase research use of the Hodgkin papers.
The catalogue of the additional papers of Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994), chemist and x-ray crystallographer, has been made available online for the first time. The papers were catalogued by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists in 2004 but the paper catalogue was only available to researchers in the Special Collections Reading Room at the Bodleian Library. As part of the ‘Saving Oxford Medicine’ project, the catalogue has now been converted into an xml file and mounted online, making it much more accessible to researchers.
The additional papers cover all aspects of Hodgkin’s life but are particularly rich in biographical material and family correspondence, and give an insight into her wide-ranging interests. There is extensive correspondence with her husband, Thomas, who was often absent from the family home, due to his work commitments. Hodgkin aimed to write to him every day, despite her heavy workload and busy family life and the letters give a personal view of her scientific work, her political interests and her domestic life.
The catalogue can now be viewed online at:
Video interviews with Dorothy Hodgkin can be viewed online through the Web of Stories website: http://www.webofstories.com/play/17310?srId=223575&o=S