Harvey Itano Personal Correspondence and Memorabilia, 1937 - 2010 (bulk 1941-1945) (MSS 0755)

Extent: 2.8 Linear feet (3 archives boxes, 1 records carton, 1 card file, 3 oversize folders and 1 art bin item)

Personal papers and memorabilia of Harvey Itano, American biochemist and pioneer in the study of sickle cell anemia hematology. During World War II, Itano, along with his parents and siblings were sent to an internment camp; of particular interest in the collection are letters written to and from Itano during his internment.

Harvey Akio Itano was born on November 3, 1920, in Sacramento, California, the eldest son of Masao and Sumako (Nakahara) Itano. Itano attended University of California, Berkeley, and graduated in 1942 with highest honors in chemistry. Due to President Roosevelt's anti-Japanese campaign following Pearl Harbor, Itano with his family was sent to the desolate Tule Lake camp. While in the camp, Itano kept applying to medical schools throughout the country. With assistance from the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, Itano was released from the camp to attend St. Louis School of Medicine. In 1945, Itano received his M.D. and continued Ph.D. studies at the California Institute of Technology in biochemistry where he studied and worked with Linus Pauling.

Itano is known for his pioneering work with sickle cell anemia disease, the topic assigned to him as a Ph.D. thesis topic by Linus Pauling. Sickle cell anemia disease is a hereditary disease commonly found among people of African descent. Itano tried several different physical and chemical methods to distinguish normal hemoglobin from sickle cell hemoglobin and finally he was able to demonstrate the difference by using electrophoresis. At that time, electrophoresis was a new technique that allowed researchers to separate molecules according to their electrical charge and Itano found a slight difference in electrophoretic mobility between normal and sickle cell hemoglobins. That led to understanding that patients with sickle cell anemia have a different type of hemoglobin than healthy individuals and thus a cause of a disease was traced to a molecule. Later, this inspired Vernon Ingram's seminal discovery of a single amino acid difference between normal and sickle cell hemoglobin and allowed him to explain a hemoglobin abnormality by an alteration in genes. After completing the project, Itano continued to work in the field of molecular medicine and published extensively about genetic and molecular basis of other blood pathologies and hereditary diseases.

Itano was awarded Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (1954) and Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Achievement Award (1972) for his pioneering work on sickle cell anemia disease. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1979), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998), American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry Society (London), Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Omega Alpha.

Itano passed away in La Jolla, California in 2010.

Personal papers and memorabilia of Harvey Itano, American biochemist and pioneer in the study of sickle cell anemia hematology. During World War II, Itano, along with his parents and siblings were sent to an internment camp; of particular interest in the collection are letters written to and from Itano during his internment.

Arranged in three series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) MEMORABILIA, and 3) REALIA.

Harvey Itano Papers, MSS 226. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Container List

CORRESPONDENCE

Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 1) CORRESPONDENCE. Arranged in two subseries: A) Family Correspondence and B) General Correspondence. The Family Correspondence contains letters from Itano's father, mother, sister Edith and younger brother Masashi. The bulk of the letters were written while the family resided in an internment camp and describe daily life, as well as offer advice and encouragement to Itano. The General Correspondence contains letters from professors, classmates and friends. Several letters detail attempts to have Itano return to school.

Family Correspondence

Box: 1 Folder: 1
Itano, Edith (sister), 1942 - 1943
Box: 1 Folder: 2
Itano, Masao (father), 1939 - 1979 & undated
Box: 1 Folder: 3
Itano, Masashi (brother), 1942 - 1943
Box: 1 Folder: 4
Itano, Sumako (mother), ca. 1942 - 1944

General Correspondence

Box: 1 Folder: 5
1938, 1941
Box: 1 Folder: 6-9
1942 - 1946
Box: 1 Folder: 10
Letters congratulating Itano on his election to the National Academy of Science, 1979 - 1980
Box: 1 Folder: 11
1985 - 2009
Box: 1 Folder: 12
undated

MEMORABILIA

Box: 1 Folder: 13
Clippings about Itano, 1954 - 2010
Box: 1 Folder: 14
Awards & appointments, 1940 - 1987
Oversize: FB-520 Folder: 9
Awards & appointments
Box: 2 Folder: 1
Educational materials - Diplomas, graduation programs, grades & internship information, 1935 - 1946
Oversize: FB-520 Folder: 10
Oversize educational materials
Ephemera
Box: 3 Folder: 1
Varsity letter, Lincoln Jr. High
Box: 2 Folder: 2
War relocation & internment camps, 1943 - 1944 & undated
Box: 2 Folder: 3
Miscellaneous personal ephemera, 1940 - 1963 & undated
Oversize: FB-520 Folder: 11
Oversize ephemera
Box: 2 Folder: 4
Family history, written by Masao Itano, 1971, 1978-1979
Box: 2 Folder: 5
First Annual Sickle Cell Anemia Race for Life Awards Banquet, 1972
Box: 4 Folder: 1-8
Medals - Includes eight medals of honor or award, 1942 - 1983 & undated
Plaques
Box: 5 Folder: 6
Japanese American of the Biennium, 1978-1980
Box: 5 Folder: 7
Alumni Merit Award of Saint Louis University, 1970
Oversize: AB-04-E04
Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Achievement Award, 1972
Box: 2 Folder: 6
Selective Service forms, 1943 - 1944
Yearbooks
Box: 3 Folder: 2-3
Sacramento Senior High, 1937, 1938
Box: 3 Folder: 4-5
University of California, Berkeley, 1941, 1942

REALIA

Box: 5 Folder: 1
U.S. Public Health Service cap
Box: 5 Folder: 2-3
Two unidentified military berets
Box: 5 Folder: 4
Academic hood
Box: 5 Folder: 5
Lei made of paper cranes for commencement ceremony, UC Berkeley, 2009
Box: 4 Folder: 9
Wax seal and wax
Box: 4 Folder: 10
House marker from Japan, ca. 1961
Box: 4 Folder: 11
Otoscope
Box: 4 Folder: 12
Name stamp and ink
Box: 4 Folder: 13
Itano's baby cup
Box: 4 Folder: 14
Itano's slide rule