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Gordon Alles Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 10095-MS

Scope and Contents

These papers relate mostly to a long-standing patent dispute between Gordon Alles, George Piness, and Smith, Kline and French Laboratories over the manufacturing rights to medical agents, including benzedrine salts and phenyl-isopropylamine salts. There is also a small amount of Caltech-related material on the Gordon A. Alles Laboratory of Molecular Biology, biographical and bibliographical material, miscellaneous correspondence, material related to wartime research, and a complete set of Alles reprints.

Series 1, Patents and Litigation, includes documentation on Alles’ patents, products and publications, and the lawsuit between him and the SKF Laboratories. Series 2, Miscellaneous, includes documentation on the dispute Alles had with Piness and their following agreements and miscellaneous business correspondence.


  • Creation: 1927 - 1974


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has not been digitized, and is available only in the reading room of the Caltech Archives. Access is available to anyone conducting research for which it is necessary; please contact the Caltech Archives to make an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to this collection is not held by Caltech. Copyright to works may be held by their respective creators, those creators’ heirs, or their publishers. If you wish to quote or reproduce an item beyond the extent of fair use, please contact the copyright holder to request permission.

Biographical / Historical

Gordon Alles’ major research interest was the relation between the chemical constitution and physiological actions of compounds acting as stimulants or inhibitors of the central or peripheral nervous systems. This included a 1939 study in conjunction with Arie Haagen-Smit of Caltech on the physiological effects of cannabis. During the 1940s Alles worked in the field of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-amebic agents. He is best known for discovering the physiological properties of benzedrine and helping to isolate insulin. In addition to maintaining his academic affiliations, Alles served as a research associate to Smith, Kline & French Laboratories from 1934-1952, and he established his own research laboratories in Pasadena in 1940.

Lecturer in Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of California, San Francisco; Research Professor of Pharmacology, UCLA; Caltech Research Associate in Biology, 1939-1963; Caltech alumnus (BS, 1922; MS, 1924; PhD, 1926).


7 linear feet

Language of Materials


Finding Aid to the Gordon Alles Papers
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

1200 East California Blvd.
MC B215-74
Pasadena California 91125 United States of America
(626) 395-2704