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Demerec Family Collection

Identifier: DFC

Scope and Contents

The Demerec Family Collection consists of awards (1935-1962) belonging to Milislav Demerec, as well as clippings and publications (1980-1994) collected by Zlata Demerec Hartman related to Dr. Barbara McClintock. There is also two letters of correspondence (1998) between Zlata Demerec Hartman and Dr. Lee Kass regarding Dr. Barbara McClintock.


  • Bulk 1980s-1990s


Biographical / Historical

Milislav Demerec (1895-1966) was recruited to come to the Carnegie Institution of Washington Station Department of Genetics in 1923 to study Drosophila (fruit fly) genetics. His research was characterized by turning to new organisms and tools if they offered him better opportunities for genetic analysis. From 1936 to 1941, Demerec served as Assistant Director of the CIW Department of Genetics. In 1941 he became director of both the CIW Department of Genetics and the LIBA Biological Laboratory During his directorship, which lasted until 1960, he established genetics as a major research focus at CSH. He also enthusiastically supported the bacteriophage courses taught by Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria. Demerec recruited future Nobel Laureates Alfred Day Hershey and Barbara to Cold Spring Harbor during his tenure.

Zlata Demerec Hartman came to Cold Spring Harbor in 1941 as her father Milislav Demerec took over reins of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Genetics, as well as the Long Island Biological Laboratory Biological Laboratory. She took the 1953 Bacterial Genetics Course with instructors Vernon Bryson, her father Milislav Demerec and Evelyn Witkin. Her father began a research project with her related to using transduction to map genes involved in tryptophan synthesis. Parallel work on this was being done by Philip Hartman who had come to the Lab as a Research Fellow of the U.S. Public Health Service. The first progress report on this work was published in the C.I.W. in 1953, but by the time the paper was published Zlata Demerec and Phil Hartman had married . This paper was an early hint of the operon concept which would be developed in full by Jacob and Monod, who cited the 1956 paper in their classic paper. Zlata resigned from the Biological Laboratory in 1956.

Source: Jan Witkowski, The Road to Discovery: A Short History of CSHL. CSH Press, 2016.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was donated by Susan Hartman [granddaughter-in-law of Milislav Demerec, [wife of Paul Hartman, grandson]] in August 2022.

Demerec Family Collection
Stephanie Satalino
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives Repository

Library & Archives
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
One Bungtown Rd
Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724 USA