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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot


The Life, Family, and Times of Henrietta Lacks

  1. Books
  2. Titles held by the Kingsborough Community College Library are indicated by call numbers in [brackets]. All other titles are held in other CUNY libraries and may be requested for loan by students, staff, and faculty, or accessed electronically through the library’s CUNY+ catalog (Select ALL CUNY Libraries option.)

    Olson, Karen. Wives of steel: Voices of women from the Sparrows Point steelmaking communities. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005.

    Pope, Tara. Cigarettes: Anatomy of an industry from seed to smoke. New York: New Press, 2001. [HD 9149 .C42 P37 2001]

    Rudacille, Deborah. Roots of steel: Boom and bust in an American mill town. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010.

  3. Articles
  4. Articles can be retrieved at the Kingsborough Library’s periodicals collection (3rd floor), through online library databases, or the URL in citation.

    Granton, E. Fannie. 1976. "Family Talks About Dead Mother Whose Cells Fight Cancer." Jet 50 (2): 15. Web. <>

    Griffin, Rachel. 2012. "Writing Henrietta Lacks Into Herstory." Ms. Magazine Blog. Web. <>

    "Henrietta Lacks -- an unsung hero." 1994. Emerge 6: 29. Ethnic Newswatch.

    Skloot, Rebecca. 2000. "Henrietta's Dance." Johns Hopkins Magazine. Web. <>

    Smith, Hazel. 1997. "Wonders Never Cease! Black Woman's Cells Help Science After 46 Years." New York Beacon: 22. Ethnic Newswatch.

    Smith, Van. 2002. "Wonder Woman: The Life, Death, and Life After Death of Henrietta Lacks, Unwitting Heroine of Modern Medical Science." City Paper. Web. <>

    "The Miracle of HeLa." 1976. Ebony 31 (8): 93 – 98. Web. <>

  5. Multimedia
  6. The Way of the Flesh. BBC. 1997. Web. <>

    University of Maryland. 2011. Henrietta Lacks Symposium. Web. <>

  7. Websites

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Blog." n.d. Web. <>


HeLa Cells, Cancer, and Cell Culture

  1. Books
  2. Gold, Michael. A conspiracy of cells: one woman's immortal legacy and the medical scandal it caused. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986.

    Katsuta, Hajim. Cancer cells in culture; proceedings. Baltimore: University Park Press, 1968.

    Landecker, Hannah. Culturing life: how cells became technologies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007. E-book.

    Larsson, Lars. Cell fusions regulation and control. Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2011. E-book.

    Pollack, Robert. Readings in mammalian cell culture. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1981.

    Willmer, E. N. Cells and tissues in culture: methods, biology, and physiology. London, UK: Academic Press, 1965.

  3. Articles

"Cell Culture: Animal Cells." 2010. Salem Health: Genetics & Inherited Conditions. Ed. Jeffrey A. Knight. Vol. 1. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 201-204. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Cherath, Lata, and Belinda Rowland. 2006. "Endometrial Cancer." The Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer. Ed. Jacqueline L. Longe. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 411-417. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Gey, George O., and Roland A. Patillo. 1968. "The establishment of a cell line of human hormone-synthesizing Trophoblastic Cells in Vitro." Cancer Research 28 (7): 1231 – 1236. Web. <>

Lucey, Brendan P., Walter A. Nelson-Rees, and Grover M. Hutchins. 2009. "Henrietta Lacks, Hela Cells, And Cell Culture Contamination." Archives Of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 133 (9): 1463-1467. Academic Search Complete.

Keiger, Dale. 2010. "Immortal cells, enduring issues." Johns Hopkins Magazine. Web. <>

Marcus, Amy D. 2012. "Lab Mistakes Hobble Cancer Studies but Scientists Slow to Take Remedies." Wall Street Journal. A1. The Wall Street Journal (ProQuest)

Masters, John R. 2002. "TIMELINE: Hela Cells 50 Years On: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly." Nature Reviews Cancer 2 (4): 315. Academic Search Complete.

Oliwenstein, Lori. 1992. "No Longer Human." Discover 13 (12): 34-35. Web. <>

Oransky, Ivan. 2012. "The HeLa problem: What a retraction says about whether cancer researchers can trust their cell lines." Retraction Watch. Web. <>

Quigley, Ian. 2002. "Cancer." Animal Sciences. Ed. Allan B. Cobb. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 122-126. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Rogers, Michael. 1976. "The Double-Edged Helix." Rolling Stone. Web. <>

Witkowski, J.A. 1980. "Dr. Carrel’s Immortal Cells." Medical History 24 (2): 129–142. Web. <>

  1. Websites

Biba, Erin. 2010. "Henrietta Everlasting: 1950s Cells Still Alive, Helping Science." Wired Magazine. Web. <>

"Endometrial Cancer." n.d. National Cancer Institute. Web. <>


Racial Segregation and Medical Apartheid

  1. Books
  2. Barr, Donald A. Health disparities in the United States: Social class, race, ethnicity, and health. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. [RA418.3 .U6 B37 2008]

    Blakely, Robert L., and Judith M. Harrington. Bones in the basement: Postmortem racism in nineteenth-century medical training. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.

    Elliott, Carl. White coat, black hat: Adventures on the dark side of medicine. Boston: Beacon Press, 2010.

    Holloway, Karla F. C. Private bodies, public texts: race, gender, and a cultural bioethics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

    Ridlon, Florence. A black physician's struggle for civil rights: Edward C. Mazique, M.D. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

    Savitt, Todd L. Savitt. Race and medicine in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America. Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, 2007.

    Washington, Harriet A. Medical apartheid: The dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present. New York: Doubleday, 2006. [R853 .H8 W37 2006]

    Woodward, C. Vann. The strange career of Jim Crow. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. [E185.61 .W86 2002]

  3. Articles
  4. Bernard, Raymond S. J. 1949. "Consequences of Racial Segregation." The American Catholic Sociological Review 10 (2): 82-100. JStor.

    Dent, Albert W. 1949. "Hospital Services and Facilities Available to Negroes in the United States." The Journal of Negro Education. 18 (3): 326-332. JStor.

    Johnson, Charles S. 1949. "The Socio-Economic Background of Negro Health Status." The Journal of Negro Education. 18 (3): 429-435. JStor.

    "Not a black and white question." 2006. Economist. 378 (8473): 79-80. Academic Search Complete.

    "Researchers' Misconceptions Often Prevent Enrollment Of Minorities." 2011. Clinical Trials Administrator. 9 (12): 133-135. CINAHL Plus with Full Text.

    Reynolds, P. Preston. 1997. "Hospitals and civil rights, 1945-1963: The case of Simkins v Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital." Annals of Internal Medicine. 898. Academic Search Complete.

    Scheele, Leonard A. 1949. "The Health Status and Health Education of Negroes in the United States." The Journal of Negro Education. 18 (3): 200-208. JStor.

    Wald, Priscilla. 2012. "American Studies and the Politics of Life." American Quarterly. 64(2): 185-204. Project MUSE.

    Weasel, Lisa H. 2004. "Feminist Intersections In Science: Race, Gender And Sexuality Through The Microscope." Hypatia. 19 (1): 183-193. Academic Search Complete.

  5. Websites
  6. National Institutes of Health. 2008. "Culture, Diversity & Health Disparities in Medicine." Bioethics Resources on the Web. Web. <>

    Randall, Vernellia R. 2008. " African American Bioethic Perspective." Race, Healthcare, and Law. Web. <>

    Randall, Vernellia R. 2008. "Basis of Distrust." Race, Healthcare, and Law. Web. <>

  7. Multimedia

Title available through the library’s CUNY+ catalog (Select ALL CUNY Libraries option.)

Sargent, Joseph, dir. Something the Lord made. HBO, 2004. Film.


Tuskegee, Night Doctors, and Human Experimentation

  1. Books
  2. Abadie, Roberto. The professional guinea pig: Big Pharma and the risky world of human subjects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

    Bookchin, Debbie, and Jim Schumacher. The virus and the vaccine: the true story of a cancer-causing monkey virus, contaminated polio vaccine, and the millions of Americans exposed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004. [QR406.2 .S56 B66 2004]

    Fry, Gladys. Night riders in Black folk history. 1977. Reprint. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2001.

    Gray, Fred D. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study: the real story and beyond. Montgomery, AL: New South Books, 1998. E-book.

    Hornblum, Allen M. Acres of skin: human experiments at Holmesburg Prison : a story of abuse and exploitation in the name of medical science. New York: Routledge, 1998. E-book.

    Katz, Jay, and Alexander Morgan Capron. Experimentation with human beings; the authority of the investigator, subject, professions, and state in the human experimentation process. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1972.

    Kluger, Jeffrey. Splendid solution: Jonas Salk and the conquest of polio. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2004. [QR31 .S25 K58 2004]

    Kutcher, Gerald. Contested medicine: Cancer research and the military. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. E-book.

    Lederer, Susan E. Subjected to science: human experimentation in America before the Second World War. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

    Menikoff, Jerry, and Edward P. Richards. What the doctor didn't say: the hidden truth about medical research. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2006. E-book.

    Oshinsky, David M. Polio: An American Story. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books LLC, 2007. [RC181 .U5 O83 2005 ]

    Reverby, Susan. Examining Tuskegee: the infamous syphilis study and its legacy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009. [R853 .H8 R48 2009]

  3. Articles
  4. Berlinger, N. 2010. "Difficult Doctors And Rational Fears." Hastings Center Report 40 (4): 25-29. CINAHL Plus with Full Text.

    Elliott, Carl. 2010. "Making a Killing." Mother Jones 35 (5): 54-63. Academic Search Complete.

    Maschke, K. J. 2010. "Wanted: Human Biospecimens." Hastings Center Report 40 (5): 21-23. CINAHL Plus with Full Text.

    Savitt, Todd L. 1982. "The Use of Blacks for Medical Experimentation and Demonstration in the Old South." Journal of Southern History. 48 (3): 331-348. JStor.

  5. Multimedia

Titles available through the library’s CUNY+ catalog (Select ALL CUNY Libraries option.)

Sargent, Joseph, dir. Miss Evers’ Boys. HBO, 1997. Film.

Moxey, John L, dir. The Deadly deception. CBS, 1993. Film.


Patient Rights and Research Ethics

  1. Books
  2. Annas, George J., Leonard H. Glantz, and Barbara F. Katz. Informed consent to human experimentation: The subject's dilemma. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger Pub. Co., 1977. [KF3827.I5 A95]

    Annas, George J., and Michael A. Grodin. The Nazi doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human rights in human experimentation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

    Jones, D. Gareth, and Maja I Whitaker. Speaking for the dead the human body in biology and medicine. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hants, UK: Ashgate, 2008. E-book.

    Jonsen, Albert R.. The birth of bioethics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. E-book.

    Post, Linda Farber, Jeffrey Blustein, and Nancy N. Dubler. Handbook for health care ethics committees. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. E-book.

    Shamoo, Adil E., and David B. Resnik. Responsible conduct of research. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003. E-book.

    Wilkins, Lee, and Renita Coleman. The moral media: How journalists reason about ethics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.

  3. Articles

Brown, Susan. 2007. "Existence of Long-Lived Cell Lines Has Changed How We Think About Life." The Chronicle of Higher Education 53 (26): A12. Web. <>

David L. Eng. 2012. "The Civil and the Human." American Quarterly 64 (2): 205-212. Project MUSE.

Hansen, Brian. 2004. "Cloning Debate." CQ Researcher. 877-900. CQ Researcher.

Jonathan M. Metzl. 2012. "Structural Competency." American Quarterly 64 (2): 213-218. Project MUSE.

Jost, Kenneth. 1998. "Patients' Rights." CQ Researcher. 97-120. CQ Researcher.

Klitzman, Robert, and Paul S. Appelbaum. 2012. "To Protect Human Subjects, Review What Was Done, Not Proposed." Science 335 (6076): 1576-1577. Web. <>

Mavromatis, Juliet. 2010. "Henrietta Lacks, Ethical Dilemmas Then and Now." Dr. Dialogue: A Medical Blog. Web. <>

Melvin, Christina S. 2001. "Organ Donation: Moral Imperative Or Outrage?" Nursing Forum 36 (4): 5. Academic Search Complete.

Moros, DA, and R Rhodes. 2010. "Privacy Overkill." American Journal Of Bioethics 10 (9): 12-15. CINAHL Plus with Full Text.

Nelkin, Dorothy, and Lori Andrews. 1998. "Do The Dead Have Interests? Policy Issues For Research After Life." American Journal Of Law & Medicine 24 (2/3): 261-291. Academic Search Complete.

Paradise, Jordan, and Lori Andrews. 2007. "Tales From The Crypt: Scientific, Ethical, And Legal Considerations For Biohistorical Analysis Of Deceased Historical Figures." Temple Journal Of Science, Technology & Environmental Law 26 (2): 223-299. Academic Search Complete.

Rothstein, M.A. 2010. "Is Deidentification Sufficient To Protect Health Privacy In Research?" American Journal Of Bioethics 10 (9): 3-11. CINAHL Plus with Full Text.

Saha, Krishanu, and J. Benjamin Hurlbut. 2011. "Research ethics: Treat donors as partners in biobank research." Nature 478: 312-313. Web. <>

Trog, Robert D., Aaron S. Kesselheim, and Steven Joffe. 2012. "Paying Patients for Their Tissue: The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks." Science 337 (6090): 37-38. Web. <>

Zielinski, Sarah. 2012. "Fair use of our ‘Cells’." Surprising Science Blog. Web. <>


About Rebecca Skloot

  1. Articles
  2. Dobbs, David. 2011. "Rebecca Skloot on Writing HeLa, Structure, & Her Own Younger Self." Wired. Web. <>

  3. Websites
  4. Random House, Inc. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks written by Rebecca Skloot." Bertelsmann. n.d. Web. <>

    Skloot, Rebecca. 2010. "HeLa slideshow." Flicker. Web. <>

    Skloot, Rebecca. 2010. "Rebecca Skloot: Journalist, Teacher, Author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Web. <>

    Skloot, Rebecca. 2005. "Culture Dish: Rebecca Skloot's blog on Science, Writing, and Life." Web. <>

    The College of Saint Scholastica. 2012. "Centennial Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Skloot." Web. <>

  5. Multimedia

CBS Sunday Morning. 2010. Henrietta Lacks: Interview with Rebecca Skloot. Web. <>

PBS Tavis Smiley. 2010. Interview with Rebecca Skloot. Web. <>


 Johns Hopkins: Institutional History

I. Books

Harvey, A. McGehee. Adventures in medical research: a century of discovery at Johns Hopkins: Supplement to the Johns Hopkins medical journal. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. [R747 .J62 H37]

II. Articles

Cavagnaro, Louise. 2004. "The way we were: In the mid-20th century, segregation prevailed across America. A retired administrator recalls what those years were like at Hopkins Hospital." Dome 55 (7). Web. <>

"The Racial Record of Johns Hopkins University." 1999. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 25: 42-43. JStor.

King, Alan. 2009. "Johns Hopkins Project in East Baltimore Contentious." Afro-American: A1. Ethnic NewsWatch.

III. Websites

"Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives." Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. n.d. Web. <>

"About Johns Hopkins Medicine." Johns Hopkins Medicine, n.d. Web. <>




Book Reviews

  1. Articles

Littlefield, Melissa M., and Anne Pollock. 2011. "Troubling with ‘the ethics of the thing’ in Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Social Studies of Science 41 (4): 609-618. ILLIAD

Margonelli, Lisa. 2010. "Eternal Life." The New York Times February 7, 2010 Sunday. LexisNexis Academic.

Neikrie, Jesse. 2011. "Henrietta Lacks: Living on across Multiple Disciplines." Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures 14 (2): 19. Association of American Colleges and Universities. Web. <>

Seitz, Phillip. 2011. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Curator: The Museum Journal 54 (4): 473–475. ILLIAD


Additional Resources: Reference Books 

Titles are held in the Kingsborough Library’s reference section (2nd floor), indicated by call numbers in [brackets].

Hedges, Richard. Bioethics, health care, and the law: a dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. [Ref R725.5 .H44 1999]

Kuhse, Helga, and Peter Singer. A companion to bioethics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1998. [Ref R724 .C616 1998]

Post, Stephen G. Bioethics for students: How do we know what's right? Issues in medicine, animal rights, and the environment. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1999. [Ref 724 .B4825 1999]

Post, Stephen G. Encyclopedia of bioethics. 3rd. ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. [Ref QH332 .E52 2004]


Suggested Subject Search Terms

Listed below are the subject terms or keywords recommended for title searching on the CUNY+ catalog.

African Americans -- Medical care

Bioethics -- History -- Sources

Cancer cells

Cell hybridization

HeLa cells

Human experimentation in medicine

Informed Consent

Lacks, Henrietta, 1920-1951 -- Health

Medical ethics -- History -- Sources

Medical policy and Right of Privacy

Medicine -- History -- Sources

Medicine -- Research

Research -- Moral & ethical aspects

Tuskegee Syphilis Study






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