Original material: The papers are extensive. There is a great deal of biographical material relating to his own career and interests (including music and sketching) and also family papers. Frisch's father was a successful printer in Vienna, briefly imprisoned at Dachau, who spent the war years in Stockholm and finally moved to Cambridge to be near his son. His mother was one of the large Meitner family several of whom suffered under Nazi persecution and, briefly, British internment. Other relatives included Lise Meitner and the photographer Lotte Meitner-Graf. The documents thus have historical interest as an example of the diaspora of the 1930s. In the case of Lise Meitner there is an additional specific scientific content usefully complementing the main Lise Meitner papers deposited in Churchill College Archives Centre, Cambridge.
The diaries and journals, laboratory notebooks, research folders and related notes and correspondence provide a full record for Frisch's early work at Hamburg and Copenhagen. Inevitably, the wartime work on the atomic bomb project is only scantily documented. For the later period at Cambridge, the paucity of material relating to the Cavendish Laboratory reflects Frisch's lack of interest in administrative and committee work and his preference for relatively small-scale experimental projects, and the various constructions and gadgets which he continued to design for his Laser Scan Company to the end of his life. In addition to the usual material on lectures, visits and conferences, there is substantial documentation of his contributions to radio, television and film, which indicates his special skills as a polyglot expositor of scientific concepts for a lay audience.
Supplementary material: New biographical material includes Frisch's famous caricature sketches of scientific colleagues, including those at Los Alamos, 1943-1945. Scientific research is represented by crucial documents relating to nuclear fission in the first half of 1939: correspondence between Frisch in Copenhagen and his aunt Lise Meitner in Sweden, correspondence between Frisch and N. Bohr at Princeton, two drafts of Bohr's papers on the disintegration of heavy nuclei ( Nature, Lond., 143) and correspondence between Frisch and Nature. There are also a few more drafts for Frisch's lectures, publications and broadcasts, and material relating to the commemoration meeting for Bohr held at Copenhagen in 1963.