Dr. Orville J. and Ellina Marx Golub

Dr. Orville J. Golub (24 Aug 1915–28 Sept 2015) came to the University of California, Berkeley in 1937 as a graduate student and teaching assistant in the Department of Bacteriology. As a Navy officer during World War II, he was a scientist for the U.S. Navy Medical Research Unit #1 stationed in the Life Sciences Building (now the Valley Life Sciences Building) on the UC Berkeley campus. Following the war, Dr. Golub spent two years in government service in Maryland. There he formed a partnership with three others in the field of laboratory science to form Bio-Science Laboratories specializing in scientific and medical diagnostics. Bio-Science Laboratories was initially based in Los Angeles, but eventually expanded to perform specialized clinical analyses for hospitals and physicians throughout the country.

In the early 1960s Dr. Golub began collecting antique microscopes, books, and other items of interest in the field of clinical laboratory science. These were initially entered into the Bio-Sciences company collection, but he soon expanded his focus and began acquiring antique microscopes for his personal collection. Thus began Dr. Golub's love affair with antique microscopes. From the early 1960s through the 80s* Dr. Golub purchased microscopes from sellers in Europe and the United States. His acquisitions ranged from individual instruments to entire collections, and resulted in a personal collection of nearly 300 instruments. Within his collection were historically important microscopes from the late 17th Century through the 20th Century. What distinguishes the Golub Collection is the preponderance of 18th Century microscopes.

In 1994, Dr. Golub donated 32 antique microscopes and an endowment to establish the Golub Collection at the University of California, Berkeley. He continued his committment to UCB through three additional donations (2003, 2005, 2010). In subsequent years, the Golub family has donated additional microscopes as well as important antique books: Micrographia (1664) by Robert Hooke, Micrographia Illustrata: or the Microscope Explained (1746) by George Adams, and Essays on Dioptrics by Nicolas Hartsoeker (1694).

At the present time the Golub Collection consists of over 160 Microscopes and Books pertaining to the early history of microscopy. It is on permanent display in the Onderdonk Lobby (East end, 2nd floor) of the Valley Life Sciences Building at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2011 Dr. Orville J. Golub was recognized as one of the Builders of Berkeley for his generous donations to the Campus.

The Golub Collection is the largest public collection of antique microscopes in the world.

See the displays

Locate Valley Life Sciences on the Berkeley Campus

*Orv Golub's last microscope purchase (No. 287) was in 2013. He wanted to buy one more microscope for the thrill of it. He was 98 years old.

Curator: Dr. Steven E. Ruzin