Department of Genetics notebooks and papers

Scope and Content

* This is an interim catalogue description. Only series 1, Bateson and Punnett notebooks, has been catalogued (and only to 1910) as part of the William Bateson Digitisation Project, funded by the Wellcome Trust. The digitised volumes can be accessed on Cambridge Digital Library.*

Laboratory notebooks and papers from the Department of Genetics recording experiments in genetics conducted between 1898 and 1950. There are two sets of notebooks.
The first set is of work done by William Bateson in collaboration with Reginald Punnett, concerned mainly with experiments in poultry breeding and sweet pea genetics, but also on rabbits and on other plant species.
The second set is of work carried out by Ronald Aylmer Fisher at Cambridge and either at Rothamstead Experimental Station or at the Galton Labs in London. Fisher worked in both these locations before moving to be Professor in Cambridge in 1943, and he brought his notebooks with him. There are notebooks covering work on banded snails (Cepea nemoralis and Cepea hortensis) and dogs, but the main series of notebooks (some 760 volumes) contains records of mouse breeding experiments.

Access Information

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection can be found on ArchiveSearch.