Guide to the Solly Zuckerman / Julian Huxley letters, 1931-1967
Julian Sorell Huxley (b. June 22, 1887, d. February 14, 1975) was a lecturer in Zoology at Oxford (1910-1912), Research Associate and later Assistant Professor of Biology at Rice Institute (1913-1916), and fought in World War I before returning to Oxford in 1919, where he conducted the famous axolotl experiments and participated in the university's expedition to Spitsbergen. He became Professor of Zoology at King's College, University of London in 1925, but resigned his position in 1927 to collaborate on what would become The Science of Life with H.G. Wells. He was Fullerian Professor of Physiology in the Royal Institution (1927-1929) while working with Wells, however after 1929 he held no academic position. For ten years he was a private person working to advance his ideas about the biological sciences not as a researcher nor as a teacher, but as a writer on scientific developments and their relationship to contemporary social issues.
From 1935-1942 he served as Secretary of the Zoological Society of London, allowing him to encourage solid research on animal behavior while introducing innovative methods for implementing his vision of the zoo as an educational institution. He continued his work as a writer and lecturer and was known throughout war-time Britain for his participation as a panel member of the BBC Brains Trust program. After World War II he helped form Unesco, serving as the organization’s first Director-General (1946-1948). Here he set out a program cosmopolitan in vision, one concerned with mankind in relationship with nature and with its past, one in which art and science were equally valued. He also began to articulate fully the concerns which would occupy the later years of his life: the relation of overpopulation to poverty and ignorance, the necessity for the conservation of wilderness and wildlife, and the importance of the renunciation of parochial views on religion and politics. The remainder of his life was spent traveling, lecturing and writing in support of the causes to which he was devoted. Throughout his long career, he contributed significantly to the fields of ethology, ecology and cancer research, and acted as a powerful proponent of neo-Darwinism.
Solly Zuckerman (b. May 30, 1904, d. April 1, 1993) was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He became a research anatomist at London Zoological Society in 1928, and worked there until 1932. From 1939 to 1946 and from 1960 to 1966 he served at scientific advisor and military strategist with the British Defense Ministry, and as chief scientific advisor to the British government from 1964 to 1971. Among his various published works are The Social Life and Functional Affinities mentioned below, as well as Scientists and War (1966). He was an opponent of the nuclear arms race beginning with his experiences during World War II and throughout the rest of his life. He taught at Oxford from 1934 to 1945, at Birmingham from 1946-1968, and at the University of East Anglia 1969-1974. Zuckerman was associated with the Zoological Society of London throughout his life, but served as its secretary from 1955 to 1977 and as its President from 1977 to 1984.
Photocopies of correspondence between Sir Julian Huxley and Solly Zuckerman from 1931-1967. Topics include Zuckerman’s books The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes (1931) and Functional Affinities of Man, Monkeys, and Apes (1933) and his Lysenko work, Huxley’s work on morphism in birds and on relative growth, the termination of major evolution/ the course of evolution in relation to A.C. Hardy’s work, Revolutionary humanism, the Lunar Society, social responsibilities of scientists, Bronowski’s work on Australopithecine teeth, the Zoological Society of London, P.C. Mitchell’s commemoration at Whipsnade Park, Zuckerman’s proposal and organization of an honorary degree for Huxley from the University of Birmingham (including Huxley’s biographical sketch and Zuckerman’s speech from the ceremony in 1958), population and population controls (including birth control), Cass Canfield (President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America), the Royal Society Dining Club, Jane Goodall and her work on chimpanzees, the British Humanist Society, and personal letters.
This material is open for research.
Permission to publish material from the Solly Zuckerman/Julian Huxley letters must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
Solly Zuckerman/Julian Huxley letters, 1931-1967, MS 56, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
This collection was donated to the archives by Solly Zuckerman in 1987.
Detailed Description of the Collection