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Raquel Rotman Sussman Collection

Identifier: RRS

Scope and Content

The Dr. Raquel Rotman Sussman Collection is comprised of materials accrued by Dr. Sussman throughout her scientific life. In addition to 40 years of reprints spanning her entire career in both Spanish and English, the collection also contains correspondence with Alfred D. Hershey at the start of Dr. Sussman's career in the United States. The Laboratory Notebooks correspond to her tenure at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, where she worked with François Jacob and Jacques Monod; her time working in husband Maurice Sussman's laboratory at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts; her tenure as Associate Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Department of Molecular Biology at Hadassah Medical School; at the University of Pittsburgh; and her tenure as Associate Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The date range of the collection is 1944-2007, and also includes a few photographs of the Sussmans and their scientific colleagues, including A.D. Hershey at the 1976 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory bacteriophage meeting.

The collection is ordered into five series:

  1. Correspondence, 1948
  2. Subject Files, 1976-2001
  3. Laboratory Notebooks, 1961-2000
  4. Photographs, 1967-1988
  5. Reprints, 1944-2007


  • Creation: 1944-2007

Language of Materials

Bulk language of the materials is English; some items in Spanish, French.

Access Restrictions

Some resrictions apply, see Archivist for details. Access is given only by appointment, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Use Restriction

Archival materials must remain in the archival reading area. Item duplication is to be done by archivists. Fees are applied to copies made. Digital photography is permitted by users.


Dr. Raquel (Rotman) Sussman was born in Santiago, Chile on October 22, 1921. She earned an undergraduate degree in science in 1944 from the Department of Viruses at the Instituto Bacteriologico de Chile replicating W.M. Stanley's work on the crystallization of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). In 1946, she applied to the Institute of International Education for a scholarship to continue her studies on the chemical nature of viruses in the United States. Sussman went to Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, studying and working as a research assistant with Alfred D. Hershey. She met Maurice Sussman, Sol Spiegelman's graduate student, in the same year. She returned to the United States to become Spiegelman's graduate student, and to marry Maurice in 1948. Both Sussmans followed Spiegelman to Minneapolis in 1948.

In 1950, the Sussmans moved to Evanston, Illinois. Maurice had accepted an appointment as an instructor and established a laboratory in the Biology Department at Northwestern University.

In 1958, the family movied to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Maurice was able to secure another professorship, Sussman received no academic appointment.

In 1961, the Sussmans took a sabbatical year to work at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Sussman worked with François Jacob studying repressors of lysogenic viruses. Sussman co-wrote the paper "Sur la nature du represseur assuran l’immunite des bacteries lysogenes" (1962) with Jacques Monod and Jacob prior to their Nobel Prize win in 1965.

In 1973, Sussman accepted an invitation position as Martze Bahir (equivalent to Associate Professor) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Department of Molecular Biology at Hadassah Medical School. She studied the phenomenon of SOS repair in bacteria in her own laboratory, citing Evelyn Witkin as an inspiration for this work.

Two and a half years later, in 1975, the Sussmans moved their labs to the University of Pittsburgh. Sussman continued her work with lambda repressors in Larry Grossman's laboratory. Sussman retired early from the University of Pittsburgh at the age of 66 in 1987 and moved with her husband to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Sussman became an Associate Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in the same year, working until 1997.

Maurice died on July 12, 2016. Sussman passed away on January 29th, 2020.


1 Boxes ; 0.5 linear feet.


The Dr. Raquel Sussman Collection (1944-2007) consists of material collected throughout her scientific career, including correspondence, subject files, laboratory notebooks, photographs, and reprints spanning a 40 year period in both Spanish and English.

Arrangement Note

The material was received in an unorganized state with no obvious arrangement. The Archivist arranged them chronologically into five series.


The collection was donated by Dr. Raquel Rotman Sussman in April 2012 (Accession No 2012-017).

Related Collections

Related collections in the CSHL Library and Archives include the Alfred Day Hershey Collection and the Evelyn Witkin Collection.

Related collections in other repositories include the Salvador E. Luria Papers, 1923-1992 at the American Philosophical Society.

Raquel Rotman Sussman Collection
Under Revision
Finding Aid Prepared by Clare Clark. Finding Aid Updated by Em Longan, June 2022.
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 15 June 2022: All notes updated: Biography expanded and corrected; Scope and Contents expanded; Related Materials expanded. Line edits for standardization of finding aid organization.

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