Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is perhaps the most famous scientific figure in the history of science. He was instrumental in creating three major fields of science: crystallography, microbiology, and immunology. This established him as one of the most remarkable individuals of his day and thereafter.

As with many great figures in science, Pasteur’s library is a reflection of his person, his scholarship, and his accomplishments. The Blocker Collections is proud to house a significant portion of Pasteur’s library as well as several handwritten letters and unpublished papers. The Blocker Collections’ holdings of Louis Pasteur materials has been called “easily the most significant in the United States and most likely the entire world outside of the material held by l’Institiut Pasteur in France.”

Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822 in Dôle, a small village in Eastern France. Although Pasteur’s parents (Jean Joseph Pasteur and Jeanne Etiennette Roqui) were of modest means and not well educated, they recognized the exceptional intelligence of their son and encouraged him to seek a higher education. During his childhood, Pasteur displayed little interest in science or in other fields except portrait painting. He floundered in his studies until his late teens, when he suddenly awakened to an interest in the physical sciences.

Pasteur carried out pioneering work in microbiology and immunology and because of his success, he was asked by the French government to examine the cause of wine spoilage that endangered a major industry in France. Pasteur used microscopy to discover that germs were responsible for the souring of wine and beer rather than a chemical process. To remedy this problem, he developed the process of “pasteurization” where the bacteria are removed by boiling and then cooling the liquid.

Pasteur was approached to solve another important commercial problem, the cause of the decline in the silk worms that was wrecking the silk industry in the south of France. Tedious microscopic observations proved that the silkworm disease was due to a number of infectious agents. These findings indicated that different pathogens might cause similar pathogenic events. Pasteur’s experiments with germs and infections resulted in a concern with preventing infections that were of major public concern. His investigations of chicken cholera, anthrax in sheep, and human rabies were important milestones in the history of microbiology and immunology.

Beginning in 1868, Pasteur suffered a series of strokes that gradually incapacitated him with the final, fatal stroke occurring on September 28, 1895, when he was 73 years old. Pasteur was instrumental in creating three major fields of science (crystallography, microbiology, and immunology) and admiration for his scientific achievements continues to the present day. His tomb in l’Institut Pasteur en Paris remains one of the most frequently visited memorials in France.


This project has been funded in whole or part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN-276-2011-00007-C with the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library.

Recent Submissions

  • Louis Pasteur Bibliography 

    Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collections. (2013-05-21)
    Bibliography created by the Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collection for use by Elementary (English and Spanish), Middle School, High School, and Higher Education.
  • Notice sur les titres et travaux scientifiques 

    Baillet, Casimir Célestin, 1820-1900. (Corbeil typ. Crété, 1872)
  • Théorie des germes et ses applications à la médecine et à la chirurgie. 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895.; Chamberland, Ch., 1851-1908.; Joubert, J. (Jules), 1834-1910. (G. Masson., 1878-04-30)
    Lecture faite a l'Académie de médecine par M. Pasteur en son nom et au nom de MM. Joubert et Chamberland.
  • Séance publique annuelle :Presidee Par M. Ch. Lévèque. 

    Lévêque, Charles, 1818-1900. (Typogr. Firmin Didot frères, fils et Cie, 2013-05-21)
    Séance publique annuelle du samedi 5 décembre 1874.
  • Réponse de M. Pasteur au Discours de M.J. Bertrand 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. ([Firmin-Didot et cie.], 2013-05-21)
    Prononce dans la seance du jeudi 10 decembre 1885.
  • Finding Aid to the Louis Pasteur Collection 

    Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collections. (2013-05-21)
    Finding Aid for the Louis Pasteur Collection held by the Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collection.
  • Nouvelle note sur la maladie des vers a soie : presentee a la Commission Imperiale de Sericiculture. 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-05-21)
    Proof of a presentation by Pasteur to the Commission Imperiale de Sériciculture in January 1867.
  • Discours prononcés sur la tombe de M. Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 

    Milne-Edwards, Alphonse, 1835-1900; Quatrefages, A. de (Armand), 1810-1892; Delaunay, Charles, 1816-1872; Robinet, Stéphane, 1796-1869; Drouyn de Lhuys, Édouard, 1805-1881; Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895; Auzias-Turenne, Alexandre, 1812-1870 (Impr. de L. Martinet, 1861-11-13)
    Speeches at the grave of Mr. Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Includes one by M. Pasteur.
  • Inauguration de la statue de J. B. Dumas, à Alais, le lundi 21 octobre 1889 : Discours de M. Pastuer. 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. ([impr. F. Didot et Cie], 1889-10-21)
    Speech by M. Pasteur at the Inaguration of the statue of J. B. Dumas.
  • Discours du Professeur Pasteur : International Medical Congress [Lundi 8 Aout, 1891] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (International Medical Congress (7th : 1881 : London, England), 1881-08-08)
    A speech given by Professor Pasteur to the International Medical Congress relative to the germ theory in connection with the inocultion of animals as a means of protecting them against virulent diseases.
  • Recherches sur la densité de l'ozone 

    Soret, Jacques Louis, 1827-1890. (Imprimerie Ramboz et Schuchardt, 1867)
    Research on the density of the ozone.
  • Budget de la science 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (Gauthier-Villars, 1868)
  • Dear Inspector General [Letter 3] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-04-08)
    Minutes of a report on the foundation project for a scientific collection specific to the Ecole Normale which could be called "Annales scientifiques de l'École normale." Includes a typed translation into English and audio ...
  • My Dear Architect [Letter 7] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-04-08)
    Letter from L. Pasteur to Mr. J {Bouchoir] thanking him for his friendly letter and letting him know it would be fine to plant a few bushes in the squares. Also, that Pasteur would take over the extension of the laboratory ...
  • Pasteur [Letter 10] 

    Priestley, Eliza (Chambers), Lady.
    French translation (translated by Mrs. Baroness Le Fin) of Eliza Priestley's article titled "Pastuer." The translation has Pastuer's autograph and his occasional corrections in text.
  • Considered in the ratio of their forms and their identical parts [Letter 11] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-04-08)
    Manuscript in Pasteur's hand of a lecture which he gave at the Société chimique de France giving the results of his researches on molecular dissymmetry. This manuscript was probably given to the Abbe F. Moigno who directed ...
  • On the 12... [Letter 12] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-04-04)
    Note written by Pasteur, at top of page describing his request from the Emperor and to the Minister of Public Instruction for the creation of a laboratory, that he has spoken to a number of people to ask for the request ...
  • Sir, [Letter 2] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-04-04)
    Letter to Sir (unknown) by Pasteur requesting to check for memos of invoices that can be given to Mr. De Cardaillac who has accepted to cover expenses for the laboratory. Written on Ecole normale supérieure (France) ...
  • Dear Minister [Victor Duruy][Letter 5] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-04-04)
    Letter from Pasteur to the Minister for Public Instruction requesting funding for the annual expense of his laboratory. Written on Ecole normale supérieure (France) letterhead. Includes a typed translation into English and ...
  • Producing acetic acid [Letter 4] 

    Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. (2013-04-04)
    Letter stating that Pasteur is taking a patent for the production of vinegar and explains the process. Includes a typed translation into English and audio of the translation.

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