After the death of Wolfgang Pauli on 15 December 1958 in Zurich, his widow, Mrs Franca Pauli started to sort and administer Pauli's scientific legacy, including important scientific correspondence. This was done with the advice of Victor F. Weisskopf, one of Pauli's former assistants and Director-General of CERN from 1961 to 1965.
On 25 August 1960 Mrs Pauli made a first Deed of Gift of part of her late husband's estate to CERN, represented by the Director-General. Decisions on the use and access, etc. were taken by Mrs Pauli and Prof. Weisskopf. A second Deed of Gift took place on 5 November 1971.
In 1965, at the end of his mandate as Director-General of CERN, Prof. Weisskopf returned to MIT/USA but continued to be an advisor to Mrs Pauli. The new Director-General of CERN, Bernard P. Gregory, became an ex officio member of the "Pauli Committee". The mandate to look after the Collection was entrusted to Alfred Günther, Head of the Scientific Information Service at that time.
The Pauli Committee was re-organised in 1985 and again in 2013. Past Chairmen have included Léon Van Hove, Maurice Jacob and Gabriele Veneziano.
From 1 April 2013 the members of the Pauli Committee are:
- Wolfgang Lerche CERN, Chairman and representative of the Director-General
- Ruth Durrer, University of Geneva
- Anita Hollier, CERN, Secretary
- Karl Von Meÿenn
Many books have been published under the auspices of the Pauli Committee.