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Bioethics Research Library Archives

This guide serves as an introduction to the Bioethics Research Library Archives and how researchers can access and utilize our resources.

BRL Archives Collections

The BRL Archives holds a variety of collections related to bioethics and the history of the field. Below you will find summaries of our major collecting areas, which include U.S. bioethics commissions, bioethics at Georgetown University, and the Human Genome Project. Guides to these collections, including inventories, are available online.

U.S. Bioethics Commissions
Our holdings on bioethics commissions date back to 1974, with the establishment of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Over the years federal and state governments established various bioethical commissions to provide recommendations on policy issues related to health care and medical ethics. Our holdings include reports, meeting transcripts and related materials, correspondence, and commission websites. Portions of these collections have been digitized and are available via DigitalGeorgetown.

Bioethics at Georgetown University
Since the founding of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics (KIE) in 1971, Georgetown University has been a leader in the field of bioethics. Our holdings include records documenting the history of the KIE. We also hold the papers of KIE staff and scholars, including Edmund D. Pellegrino, Robert Veatch, and LeRoy Walters.

Our collection includes recordings of numerous lectures and courses sponsored by the KIE, including its annual Intensive Bioethics Course. Additionally, we hold oral histories that document the  foundation of the field of bioethics. These include many KIE scholars and associates such as Robert Veatch, LeRoy Walters, Ruth Faden, Patricia King, and others.

We are currently collecting the work of Georgetown faculty on bioethical issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

History of the Human Genome Project
Our holdings include documentation of the Human Genome Project, which were primarily collected by scholar Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan. Records include correspondence, reports, meeting materials, and oral histories that document the early stages of the HGP.

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