The David Bohm Papers

The Catalogues

The material in the archive was gathered and catalogued at different times. Click the catalogues below to see a description of each one

Main Catalogue - material from 1933-1996, received in 1997

  • Provenance
    This material was received from Professor B.J. Hiley, via Birkbeck, University of London, in 1997.We would also like to thanks Dr Olival Freire Jr for his advice and making available photocopies of material held in Brazil
  • Description of the material
    The material is presented in the order given in the list of contents. It spans 1933-1996.
    Section A, Biographical, contains considerable material relating to the impact of Bohm's ideas on others. There are obituaries of and tributes to Bohm, transcripts and published versions of interviews, discussions and Dialogues with Bohm, including those at Ojai, Califomia. In his later life. Bohm's ideas attracted much interest and there are significant number of articles and papers inspired by him. Material directly recording his life and career is comparatively slight but there are papers relating to Bohm's difficulties with the House Committee on Un-American Activities 1949-1951. There is a list of Bohm's publications at A.130.
    Section B, Drafts, publications and lectures, includes drafts by Bohm of mostly unpublished papers and lectures. There are some drafts on quantum theory although the bulk are of a philosophical nature. The section also includes copies of a few of his published works and book reviews by others of Bohm's work. In addition there are drafts by F.D. Peat drawing on Bohm's work which were found with the papers.
    Section C, Correspondence, is divided into two. There is a sequence of general correspondence, including photocopied correspondence with Einstein ca.1950-1954. The letters include discussion of quantum theory as well as Einstein's advice on Bohm's career. Other significant correspondents are R. Karnette, H.M. Loewy and M. Phillips. The section also includes a set of photocopies of the voluminous correspondence on a wide range of philosophical and scientific subjects with the American artist and theorist Charles J. Biederman, spanning 1960-1969.
  • There is also an index of correspondents.

Supplementary catalogue - material from 1933 - 2005, received in 2006

  • Provenance
    This material was received from Professor B.J. Hiley, via Birkbeck College London, in November 2006.
  • Description of the collection
    This material, which spans 1933-2005, forms a valuable additional resource for the study of Bohm's life and thought. There are some documents that directly relate to material presented in the 1997 catalogue, and this is indicated in the catalogue entries by reference to the original catalogue, but the bulk is new.
    The catalogue entries in this volume have been numbered to follow on from the earlier catalogue.
    Section A, Biographical, includes a copy of the Royal Society biographical memoir of Bohm, additional interviews and dialogues material, including a series of contributions to the magazine Revision, and some additional material relating to the Ojai Dialogues of 1989. There are further articles about Bohm showing the continuing interest his life and ideas inspired. Life and career material includes documentation of his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society including letters of congratulation. The original catalogue contained a solitary letter of congratulation, from Brian Josephson, which reinforced the picture of him as a loner shunned by the mainstream scientific establishment. The addition to this of congratulations from figures such as Lord Flowers, Sir Roger Penrose and Abdus Salam indicates the high regard in which he was widely held. The section also has a little personal correspondence, which includes documentation of visits to North America in the 1970s and 1980s, and material relating to his wife Saral Bohm that shows her promoting her husband's ideas after his death
    Section B, Drafts, publications and lectures, is the largest in this catalogue. It covers the period 1951 to 1998. Of particular note is the further material presented on the themes of wholeness and fragmentation and the implicate order. The section also presents significant documentation of Bohm's ideas in quantum theory. Drafts by Bohm include series of lectures 'On plasma physics', delivered at the University of Rome in May 1958 and on 'General theory of collective coordinates', University of Bristol, about the same date. Bohm's wider vision is documented in papers delivered at various meetings, such as 'An inquiry into the function of language and thought' (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, March, 1971), 'Insight, imagination, reason and the nature of knowledge' and 'Consciousness' (Syracuse University, September 1982), and 'Fragmentation and wholeness' (Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, Zurich, Switzerland, 1986). The coverage of Bohm's published output in the original catalogue was rather thin; this catalogue presents significantly more material documenting his publications. It includes articles on quantum theory from the 1950s onwards, drafts of Causality and Chance in Modern Physics (1957) and the final chapter of Wholeness and the lmplicate Order (1980), and a posthumously published work 'Cosmos, Matter, Life and Consciousness', in The Spirit of Science. From Experiment to Experience, 1998 from a lecture originally given in 1983.
    Section C, Correspondence, presents important new material on Bohm's life and ideas. It includes a bound volume of correspondence with the philosopher J.G. Bennett (1962-1964) largely arising from ideas put forward in Bennett's book The Dramatic Universe, much influenced by G.I. Gurdjieff. There is correspondence with A. Kahler and her daughter H.M. Loewy 1950-1951, in which Bohm discusses his difficulties with the Un-American Activities Committee, his move to Brazil and future plans. There are exchanges with D.L. Schindler, editor of Communio, a Roman Catholic journal, arising from Schindler's review of Bohm's Wholeness and the Implicate Order. Correspondence with F. Wilhelm includes discussion of the thought and personality of J. Krishnamurti, who was a profound influence on the thought of both men, and further discussion of Krishnamurti is to be found in the typescript transcripts of correspondence with Yitzhak ('Isidore') Woolfson, Bohm's brother-in-law. This correspondence also discusses individuality, the nature of understanding, memory and the Arab- Israeli conflict. There is an extensive set of photocopies of manuscript letters from Bohm to the mathematician Miriam Yevick. The letters cover the early 1950s after Bohm's move to Brazil and cover his experiences there, his future plans, and the state of the world, as well as the development of his ideas in quantum theory.
  • There is also an index of correspondents.

Second Supplementary Catalogue - material from the late 1940s to early 1950, received 2008

  • Provenance
    The material was received from Dr Richard F. Post via the American Institute of Physics in January2008
  • Description of the collection
    This material is papers of David Bohm that were passed to Dr Post, then of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, possibly via R.K. Wakerling in 1954.
    The original folder (1954) is retained at B.193. Subsequently the notes were divided into eight numbered folders and this arrangement has been retained as the basis for the organisation of the material, as it may bear the vestige of a previous, original arrangement.
    The material is chiefly manuscript drafts on aspects of nuclear physics by Bohm. The great bulk is undated but a few items can be assigned to the late 1940s, prior to his departure from the USA in 1951. The material may have been assembled by Bohm for his lectures in physics as assistant professor at Princeton University andlor in drafting his 1951 book Quantum Theory. It thus predates the drafts and papers listed in the first two catalogues. The material has been assigned to section B of the Bohm archive, Drafts, Publications and Lectures, and numbered to carry on in sequence.

Audio-Visual Listing

  • Section D, Non-textual material. Contains cassette tapes, CDS and DVDs. Of particular note are the audio cassette tapes of broadcasts on Radio France in 1982 and the proceedings of the memorial meeting to Bohm held at Birkbeck College London in May 1993. The Library is grateful to Lee Nichol for making the Ojai Dialogues available on CD.