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Collection Level Description: Papers of Donald Devereux Woods

Reference: MSS. Eng. misc. b. 230-238
Title: Papers of Donald Devereux Woods
Dates of Creation: 1926-1965
Extent: 9 boxes
Language of Material: English

Administrative/Biographical History

Donald Devereux Woods was born in Ipswich in 1912. He was educated at Northgate School, Ipswich. He became a Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1933 with first class honours in both parts of the Natural Science Tripos.

After graduating, he moved to the Sir William Dunn School of Biochemistry, Cambridge, where he worked with Dr. Marjory Stephenson. Their research focused primarily on indole production and bacterial metabolism. He took his Ph.D. in 1937. From 1936-1939 he was the Beit Memorial Research Fellow.

In 1939, Woods was the Halley-Stewart Research Fellow at the Medical Research Council Unit for Bacterial Chemistry (Director: Sir Paul Fildes) at the Bland-Sutton Institute, part of Middlesex Hospital. There his research focused primarily on the determination of p-aminobenzoic acid (PAB) as an antisulphanilamide factor. This research was interrupted by the outbreak of war. He served as a member of the scientific staff at the Medical Research Council. He was seconded to the Biology Section, Chemical Defence Research Establishment, Ministry of Supply (Porton Down).

After the war, Woods moved to Oxford University, first as a Demonstrator in the Department of Biochemistry, and from 1946-1955 as Reader in Microbiology in the same department. His research here was on folic acid and the metabolism of PAB. In 1951 he became Guinness Research Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford. In 1952 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

From 1955 until his death in 1964, Woods was the Iveagh Professor of Chemical Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, the first holder of this Chair.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of:

The collection includes a full set of Woods's laboratory notebooks for his work in Cambridge, 1933-1939, on bacterial metabolism (MSS. Eng. misc. b. 231-233), and less complete but still useful material documenting his later research at Oxford on folic acid and B12 (MS. Eng. misc. b. 235). There is very little correspondence, most of which was destroyed after Woods's death in 1964.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the material was received from Mrs. Alison Woods (widow), and from Woods's colleagues and secretary at Oxford.

The letters from Paul Erlich to Sir Paul Fildes (MS. Eng. misc. b. 238, folder D.1) were received from Miss A. Pearce-Gervis.

A small amount of supplementary material was received from the Librarian, Biochemistry Department, Oxford, in 1980. This material has been incorporated into the earlier papers.

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Finding Aids

A fuller description and detailed index are available in the Library and at The National Archives.

Access Points


Woods | Donald Devereux | 1912-1964 | Microbiologist

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