The papers provide a very full record of Dorothy Hodgkin's career, research and wider professional and public responsibilities. Biographical material includes records of Hodgkin's career, honours and awards, 1928-1990, including documentation of the award of the Nobel Prize, family and personal correspondence and drafts of an unfinished autobiography. Research material forms by far the largest component in the collection and comprises very extensive documentation of the major topics of insulin, penicillin and vitamin B12 covering a period of sixty years from about 1928 to 1988. Most of the material was found in Hodgkin's box folders whose contents included correspondence, drafts for reports and publications, notebooks, notes and data. J.D. Bernal, with whom Hodgkin worked in Cambridge 1932-1934, and very many of her later collaborators including C.W. Bunn (penicillin) and E.L. Smith (vitamin B12) are represented in the papers by correspondence, drafts, notes and data.
Although not extensive there is useful documentation of Hodgkin's Oxford University career including teaching in the 1940s and 1950s, her tenure of the Wolfson Research Professorship of the Royal Society, 1960-1977, the funding and administration of her research and the provision of equipment and supplies including the use of computer facilities at other institutions in the UK and USA and their development at Oxford. There are chronological sequences of material relating to Hodgkin's scientific publications and public lectures and substantial assemblages of material relating to her Royal Society memoirs of J.D. Bernal and Kathleen Lonsdale. There is documentation of Hodgkin's involvement with 16 British and international societies and organisations including Bristol University, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Physics, especially its X-ray Analysis Group established 1943, the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) and the Royal Society. Her major commitments to Bristol University, where she was Chancellor for nearly twenty years, and to the International Union, which she served as President and whose congresses she attended 1948-1993, are particularly well documented. There is a chronological sequence of material relating to Hodgkin's scientific visits and conferences, 1936-1993, though the great bulk of the material is from the period after the award of the Nobel Prize in 1964. There is evidence for example of her interest in maintaining scientific contacts with the USSR and China during the Cold War and of visa difficulties in respect of visiting the USA during the same period.
There is also documentation of the wide range of peace and humanitarian causes with which Hodgkin was involved. Represented are her major commitments to the Medical Aid Committee for Vietnam and the Pugwash movement and other organisations and topics including the J.D. Bernal Peace Library, Palestine, Russian dissidents and the Scientists Against Nuclear Arms (SANA) organisation. There is an extensive scientific correspondence in which many of her distinguished mentors and contemporaries are represented such as J.D. Bernal, W.L. Bragg, J.W. Cornforth, P.P. Ewald, I. Fankuchen, H. Lipson, Kathleen Lonsdale, A.L. Patterson, Linus Pauling, M.F. Perutz, Robert Robinson, R.L.M. Synge and Dorothy Wrinch, and very many of the younger scientists from Britain and overseas who researched in various capacities in her laboratory. The sequence is also noteworthy for the significant number of women scientists who trained in Hodgkin's laboratory. Non-textual material in the collection includes photographs, photographic slides and sound recordings. There are photographs of Hodgkin and scientific colleagues including J.D. Bernal, I. Fankuchen, H.M. Powell and colleagues from Oxford laboratory, P.L. Kapitza and F.H.C. Crick, a photograph album recording Pugwash occasions, 1969-88, photographic slides for Hodgkin's lectures especially on insulin and vitamin B12 and sound recordings including the 1973 Nobel Guest Lecture and her Chancellor's Address to the Bristol University Education Department in 1974.