About this Collection

Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920-1958) was a British chemist and crystallographer who is best known for her role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. It was her x-ray diffraction photos of DNA and her analysis of that data--provided to Francis Crick and James Watson without her knowledge--that gave them clues crucial to building their correct theoretical model of the molecule in 1953. While best known for this work, Franklin also did important research into the micro-structure and properties of coals and other carbons, and spent the last five years of her career elucidating the structure of plant viruses, notably tobacco mosaic virus.

The Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge, England is the repository for the Rosalind Franklin Papers, which range from 1920 to 1975. The collection contains photographs, correspondence, diaries, published articles, lectures, laboratory notebooks, and research notes.

As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has made available online, in collaboration with the Churchill Archives Centre, a digitized selection of the Rosalind Franklin Papers. This website provides access to the portions of the Rosalind Franklin Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research using the full collection of Rosalind Franklin Papers should contact the Churchill Archives Centre.

This Profile is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Franklin's scientific career and professional life. Narrative sections available from the navigation bar under "The Story" focus on Franklin's life and major scientific contributions.

Researchers can search the digitized items using the Search box or browse all Documents and Visuals in the collection by selecting "Collection Items" from the navigation bar.