Skip to main content

Robert Clark MacDonald (1938- ) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/6/2

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Robert C. MacDonald Papers fill one and one-half boxes and span the years 1961 to 2004. The papers document MacDonald’s research, publications, and teaching, along with his role in the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology Department, Northwestern's Institute on Neuroscience (NUIN), and the College of Arts and Sciences. Papers are organized into the following subseries: biographical material, correspondence, patents, general department documents, NUIN documents, teaching files, abstracts, and publications.

Biographical materials, spanning the years approximately 1972 to 1992, include MacDonald’s Faculty Biographical Record, Biographical Sketch, his curriculum vitae (plus an addition to it).

MacDonald’s correspondence files include both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Many letters concern a planned leave for the 1991/1992 school year. Other letters cover such topics as academic paper presentations and a joint appointment with the Department of Molecular Biology.

Items contained in the patents file document MacDonald’s Northwestern-related invention notifications, the application for patents, and copies of two received patents.

General department documents span the years 1990-95. These items contain documentation pertaining to the Undergraduate Program in Biological Sciences, including space planning needs, MacDonald’s service to their Advisory Council, and a draft of the Hughes Institute Proposal for Undergraduate Initiatives. This file also documents MacDonald’s role as a mentor for the Minority High School Summer Research Apprentice Program, a course proposal, and a copy of a presentation on a joint initiative between NU and Chicago State University.

The folder for Northwestern's Institute on Neurosciences includes documents outlining course offerings, discussing departmental teaching practices, and in regards to the Curriculum Committee. The majority of the items relate to documenting teaching practices, and include drafts and responses to MacDonald’s "Teaching and Learning in the Undergraduate Program in the Biological Sciences: Discussion Paper. Items in this file span the years 1991 to 2001.

MacDonald’s teaching files, spanning the years 1983 to 1999, include course packets and notes, exams, problem sets, syllabi, and suggestions for paper and presentation topics.

The abstracts file includes both applications and abstracts for publication and conference presentations (both oral and poster), many undated. These files were left in their original order and include applications spanning the years 1988 to 1992.

The publications files, spanning from 1961 to 2004, contain articles and reprints largely from scientific scholarly sources. The publications cover MacDonald’s research in such topics as phospholipids, and mono- and bilayer membranes, and lipid mediated transection. A single book review from 1984 and a page containing instructions for a lab experiment are also included.


  • 1961 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


2 Boxes

Language of Materials



Biochemist Robert Clark MacDonald joined the faculty of Northwestern University's Department of Biological Sciences (later Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology) in 1970, was named associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1992, and held a second appointment in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry from 1998-2001. He retired in 2007. His research focused on phospholipids, and mono- and bilayer membranes, and lipid-mediated transaction.


The Robert C. MacDonald papers are organized into the following subseries: biographical material (arranged by date); correspondence (arranged by date); patents (arranged by date); general department documents (arranged by date): NUIN documents (arranged by date); teaching files (arranged by course number, and date); abstracts; publications (arranged by date).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Robert Clark MacDonald Papers are comprised of files transferred to the University Archives by the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology (BMBCB) Department on August 19, 2008, as Accession # 08-117.

Separated Materials

Approximately three inches of duplicate and extraneous material was discarded. Two articles written by MacDonald’s wife, Ruby MacDonald, have been added to her biographical file in the University Archives.

Guide to the Robert Clark MacDonald (1938- ) Papers
Amanda Robillard
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US