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Charles Weiner papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0553

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the activities of Charles Weiner, a professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Materials include: patents, correspondence, course materials.

The Digital Materials series contains writing drafts, talks and lectures, oral history transcripts, and professional correspondence, as well as a wide range of research materials assembled by Weiner. Topics of research materials, which include articles, news clippings, websites, and audiovisual recordings, include genetic engineering, the history of nuclear testing, weapons, and power, synthetic biology, and environmentalism. Materials in this series span the years of 1976 to 2012.


  • 1955 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Biographical Note

Charles Weiner (1932-2012) was professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

from the MIT News Office Febuary 2012 obituary:

"...Weiner was the pre-eminent historian of his generation focusing on the political, social and ethical dimensions of contemporary science and the responses of scientists to public controversies arising from their work. Educated at the Case Institute of Technology first in metallurgy (BS 1960) and then in the history of science and technology (PhD 1965), he had a strong generational attachment to the cultural currents of the American working class. He worked for a time as an autoworker, traveled the country, and sought out and knew singers such as Woody Guthrie. He served briefly in the U.S. Army both in Korea and Japan.

Upon receiving his PhD, Weiner became director of the Center for the History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics from 1965 to 1974, and then moved to MIT, serving from 1975 to 1986 as director of the MIT Oral History Program.

When an STS graduate program was established, Weiner taught a key graduate seminar, often with historian of science Lily Kay, on the history of molecular biology with a strong emphasis on ethical questions over patenting, eugenics, privacy, insurance and health policy. A central topic in the course was the self-regulation of molecular biology that had been initiated by the Asilomar Conference in 1975 as part of the debate over recombinant DNA. ..."


141.6 Cubic Feet (141 record cartons, 2 manuscript boxes)

1.26 Gigabytes (11,268 digital files)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Related Materials

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Distinctive Collections, MIT Oral History Program records, AC 502

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Transfer List to the Papers of Charles Weiner
Preliminary Inventory
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 July 12: Edited by Lana Mason for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements.
  • 2022 May 6: Edited by Lana Mason to reflect addition of Digital Materials accession.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US