The pursuit of multiple agendas by presumptive heirs, such as Watson and Monod, under the guise of a commemorative effort includes not only the production of totemic memories and the alignment of various ordinary memories, but also strategies to exclude historical witnesses who might offer countermemories. Excluding strategies may focus on individuals -- often personal rivals of the organizers -- or on groups deemed capable of counteracting the "official" or consensual collective memory assembled for publication.
For reasons of space, the process of excluding various categories of memories cannot be elaborated on here, beyond noting that the names and topics that failed to materialize were often more significant scientifically than many that were included. Still, it is of special interest to consider the "taboo memories," or the memories of those excluded en bloc by virtue of a common attribute, e.g., gender.
Although women were not the only potential authors to be excluded from the final text of the American and French collective memories, their total absence is an amazing phenomenon. First, the complete invisibility of women scientists at the level of public memory raises the question of whether they were also absent from history. In view of the fact that the number of women mentioned by various authors in each collective memory is comparable to the total number of authors, or almost three dozen in each case, women scientists appear to have been present in history but absent from memory. The question then persists whether their exclusion from public memory occurred because their work was not so important. After all, many men were excluded for this very reason, since the orchestrators of the collective memories selected authors who were both associated with "crucial experiments" and who maintained a close, disciple-like rapport with the honoree. 1
Still, some women scientists did fit this dual, stringent criterion. Indeed, bibliographic references to various crucial experiments done in the American and the French groups invariably include women coauthors. For example, the discovery of the induction of lysogeny by the French honoree was coauthored with Antoinette Guttman; the discovery that phage DNA was responsible for phage multiplication in 1952 was coauthored by Alfred Hershey (a founder and would-be Nobelist of the Phage Group) and Martha Chase; the plaque technique in animal virology was perfected in the mid-1950s by Renato Culbecco (a future Nobelist who contributed to both the American and the French collective memories) and his long-term collaborator, Marguerite Vogt; Greta Kellenberger collaborated with Jean Weigle on the genetics of the phage lambda, among other examples of crossgender collaboration. 2
On the whole, the visibility of women in the collective memories is low. For example, only Esther Lederberg and Martha Chase were mentioned more than twice in the American collective memory; while only Annamaria Torriani and Germaine Stanier, who worked in Lwoff's department at the Institut Pasteur for several years in the early 1950s and later continued their careers in the United States (the former at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [M.I.T.] and the latter at the University of California [UC]-Berkeley); as well as Marguerite Lwoff, the honoree's long-term collaborator and spouse, were mentioned more than twice in the French collective memory. Another point of interest is that the memories of native male scientists, whether in the United States or France, were more exclusive of laboratory women than the memories of foreign scientists. For example, Niels Ole Knelgaard, a Danish visiting microbiologist who collaborated with the French honoree on the crucial papers on the induction of lysogeny, noticed seven women working in the laboratory, both scientists and technicians, while the majority of authors noticed none....
1 The final number of authors was 32 (out of an initial list of 60 in the French case and 41 in the American case). Though a token woman scientist was included in each initial list of invited contributors, those women declined (in the French case, she cited her lack of a distinguished career; in the American case she gave no reason, although similar circumstances in the case of the American [male] organizers did not deter them). ironically, the two token women who were invited were not the most accomplished among those available, but were known to the organizers and apparently fit their image of women scientists as helpmeets or followers of men. On the link between gender and collective memory see Joy Harvey, "A Focal Point for Feminism, Politics, and Science: The Centennial of Clemence Royer in 1931," in this volume of Osiris ; see also Abir-Am, "Introduction," this volume of Osiris .
2 For further information on collaborative couples in science see Creative Couples in the Sciences, eds. Helena M. Pycior, Nancy G. Slack, and Pnina G. Abir-Am (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1996) ...