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Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA)

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In 1935 the Society of American Bacteriologists (now ASM) established a Committee on Archives, whose charge was to acquire and maintain the records of the Society, and to collect materials relating to the history of microbiology. These materials remained in the possession of the committee chair (Barnett Cohen, 1935-1952; Leland S. McClung, 1952-1982) until an agreement was struck with the University of Maryland Baltimore County to house the ASM Archives. The Book Collection was transferred to UMBC in 1978, and the remainder of the materials arrived in 1982.Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)


The establishment of a Center for the History of Microbiology was proposed and supported by Leland McClung and Donald Shay.  The idea behind the Center was based on existing centers for the history of chemistry and physics. After two years of planning, the Center for the History of Microbiology was established at a ceremony at UMBC on 4 June 1985 (ASM NEWS Vol. 51 No. 8 1985.)  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery Picture Courtesy of Tim Ford)

ASM's Center for the History of Microbiology and Archives Collection includes records of the Society from its founding in 1899 to the present, including journals and proceedings of meetings; 9,000 volumes on microbiology and related topics; photographs of scientists and microbes; topical files on various aspects of microbiology, including biographical materials; instructional materials, including slides and motion pictures; and several collections of personal papers.


For further information, or to make an appointment to visit the Archives, please contact the Archivist, Colleen Puterbaugh at 410-455-3601 or

ASM Microbe 2023

Houston, TX

June 15-19, 2023

ASM Microbe | Overview |