Lauriston Sale Taylor papers
The Lauriston Sale Taylor papers, 1904-1999 (inclusive), 1928-1989 (bulk), are the product of Taylor’s activities as a radiation physicist, administrator, lecturer, consultant, and contributing member of national and international organizations, including the International Commission on Radiological Units (ICRU), the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP).
- 1904-1999 (inclusive),
- Majority of material found within 1928-1989 .
Language of Materials
Materials predominately in English. Some collected publications are in Chinese, French, German, and Japanese.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to certain organizational records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I, III, and IV. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I-VIII. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
The papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to consult Public Services for further information concerning retrieval of material.
Conditions Governing Use
The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.
Extent174 cubic feet (164 records center cartons, 4 letter size document boxes, 1 half size document box, 2 legal size document boxes, and 7 oversize flat storage boxes)
The Lauriston Sale Taylor papers (1904-1999) are the product of Taylor’s activities as a radiation physicist, lecturer, consultant, and contributing member and administrator of national and international radiological protection organizations. The bulk of the papers contain meeting minutes, drafts, correspondence, reports, and administrative records from Taylor’s tenure as President of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (1929-1977) and as a member of both the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements and the International Commission on Radiological Protection. Papers also include correspondence, drafts, lectures, speeches, photographs, audiovisual materials, newspaper clippings, court transcripts, articles, and writings that address various topics in radiation protection, including civil defense and the maximum dose of radiation an individual can receive, also known as the maximum permissible dose. Contained in the papers are: meeting minutes, committee reports, correspondence, agendas, and drafts from Taylor’s involvement with the professional organizations, such as National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements, and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (Series I); consultation reports and Congressional hearings transcripts (Series II); lectures, newspaper clippings, and reports about radiation protection history and radioactive waste storage (Series III); manuscript drafts of Radiation Protection Criteria and Taylor’s unpublished autobiography (Series IV); books, journals, and assorted United States government publications related to radiation, including those issued by the United States Department of Energy and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (Series V); correspondence with various members of Congress and colleagues Edith Quimby and Shields Warren (Series VI); videotapes containing interviews conducted by Taylor for the Bureau of Radiological Health series, Vignettes of Early Radiation Workers (Series VII); and photographs of Taylor with colleagues and family, as well as photographs and lantern slides of radiology-related instruments, including the guarded field ionization chamber (Series VIII).
Materials are predominately in English. Some collected publications are in Chinese, French, German, and Japanese.
Lauriston Sale Taylor (1902-2004), A.B., 1926, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was a radiation physicist, founder and President of the United States Advisory Committee on X-Ray and Radium Protection (later the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements or NCRP), and Associate Director of the National Bureau of Standards from 1962 to 1965. His research focused on ionizing radiation and radiation protection standards. Taylor developed the guarded field standard ionization chamber and studied radiation measurement and protection, ionization of liquids, and variable oscillators.
Lauriston Sale Taylor was born on 1 June 1902 in Brooklyn, New York to Charles Taylor and Nancy Bell Sale and grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. At a young age, Taylor became interested in physics and vacuum x-ray tubes. Taylor later attended the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, from 1920 to 1922 before transferring to Cornell University to study physics, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1926. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Taylor stayed at Cornell University, completing all doctorate requirements except for the necessary residency. In 1927, Taylor accepted a one year position to help organize an x-ray research program at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, Maryland (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology). While at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), Taylor held several positions, including Chief of Atomic and Radiation Physics, Chief of the Radiation Physics Division, and eventually, Associate Director of the National Bureau of Standards until his retirement in 1965. During several leaves of absence from the NBS, Taylor helped organize the Biophysics Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission and formed the Operations Research Program for the United States Army during World War II, eventually becoming the director of the Operations Research Division of the United States Air Command. For his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Medal of Freedom.
After leaving the NBS, Taylor accepted a position at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Washington, D.C., as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the Academy’s Advisory Committee to the Office of Emergency Preparedness, where he remained until 1972. In addition to his careers at the NBS and NAS, Taylor was the founder and President of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), for which he served as President of from 1929 until his retirement from the organization in 1977.
Taylor is widely known for helping establish the first national standard for x-ray exposure and for his contributions to radiation protection guidelines. While at the NBS, Taylor developed the first guarded-field free-air ionization chamber which he used to compare international x-ray standards. Taylor was also the Secretary of the International Commission on Radiological Protection from 1937 to 1950, as well as the Secretary and Chairman of the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements, 1934 to 1950 and 1953 to 1969, respectively.
During the course of his career, Taylor authored over 160 scientific papers and wrote or contributed to twenty books, including Organization for Radiation Protection: The Operations of the ICRP and NCRP, 1928-1974 (published 1979). He also collaborated with the Bureau of Radiological Health to produce the videotape series, Vignettes of Early Radiation Workers. In his later years, Taylor served as a consultant and testified as an expert witness in several court cases related to radiation exposure.
Lauriston Taylor married Azulah Walker Taylor (died 1972) in 1925. They had two sons: Lauriston S. Taylor, Jr. and Nelson Taylor. In 1973, Taylor married Robena Harper Taylor, mother of Christine O’Shiell, Carolyn Arthur, Cynthia Nagle, and Constance Taylor. Taylor died in 2004.
Please note: Information for this biography was extracted from Taylor's unpublished autobiography, as found in this collection.
Series and Subseries in the Collection
- I. Committee and Professional Organization Records, 1904-1993, undated
- ___ A. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Records, 1928-1993, undated
- ___ B. International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Records, 1928-1992
- ___ C. International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) Records, 1925-1993
- ___ D. Other Committee and Professional Records, 1904-1983, undated
- II. Expert Witness Testimonies, 1919-1992
- III. Research Records and Subject Files, 1905-1993, undated
- IV. Unpublished Manuscripts of Articles and Books, 1916-1989, undated
- V. Publications and Grey Material, 1912-1999, undated
- VI. General Correspondence, 1951-1990, undated
- ___ A. Chronological Correspondence, 1951-1990
- ___ B. Subject Correspondence, 1958-1985, undated
- VII. Audiovisual Records, 1954-1982, undated
- VIII. Photographs and Slides, circa 1920s-1970s, undated
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Lauriston Sale Taylor papers were gifted to Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Lauriston Sale Taylor between 1981 and 1999.
Radiology instruments, including personal dosimeters, the Wilson Tilted Electroscope, and a capacitance compensator were transferred to the Warren Anatomical Museum. Related instrument manuals, brochures, and related correspondence were also transferred to the Warren Anatomical Museum.
- Taylor, Lauriston Sale, 1902-
- Quimby, Edith H. (Edith Hinkley), 1891-1982
- Warren, Shields, 1898-1980
- United States. National Bureau of Standards
- Federal Radiation Council (U.S.)
- International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements
- International Commission on Radiological Protection
- National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
- National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements
- National Research Council (U.S.)
- Radiological Society of North America
- Radiation dosimetry
- Radiation--Health aspects
- Radiation--Safety measures
- Radiation workers
- Radiation Protection
Genres and Forms of Materials
Processed by Meghan Bannon, June 2011, with four additional cubic feet (now boxes 181-184) of Lauriston Sale Taylor records found with the papers of Lloyd E. Hawes (H MS c207) processed to the folder level by Hanna Clutterbuck, July 2012.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access. Items were removed from three ring binders and, where necessary, photocopied to acid-free paper. When possible, folder titles were transcribed from the originals; titles supplied by the archivist are in brackets. Ninety-three cubic feet of this collection was processed to the folder level; eighty cubic feet has been described at the box level.
- Taylor, Lauriston Sale, 1902-. Papers, 1904-1999 (inclusive), 1928-1989 (bulk): Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- Language of description
- Processing of the Lauriston Sale Taylor papers was funded by the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine's Lloyd E. Hawes Fund for Radiology.
- EAD ID
Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository
The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.
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