You may know Google News Archive Search. I enjoy using it to search for old, historical stories. Soon I noticed that the oldest (free) stories came from the archives of Time Magazine, which are fully available for searching and reading (don't miss the covers!). Looking for articles containing the words "Streptomyces" or "actinomycete" in the complete Time archive, I got only five hits. Remarkably, they were written on 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1963. (So sad, it seems nothing related to these terms has happened in almost 50 years!)
The Time articles, which deal with the discovery of antibiotics from actinomycetes, are:
- Antibiotic for Plants (Nov. 22, 1948). Actidione, now better known as cycloheximide, a product of Streptomyces griseus.
- Man of the Soil (April 4, 1949). Neomycin. You may have guessed that the "man" refers to Selman Waksman, the Father of Antibiotics.
- The Healing Soil (Nov. 7, 1949). Entertaining, long article about antibiotics (actinomycin, streptomycin, etc) and Waksman*.
- New Antibiotic (Feb. 6, 1950). Terramycin (oxytetracycline), produced by Streptomyces rimosus.
- Another Whisper, Another Wait (May 31, 1963). A brief piece on the discovery of a mysterious antitumor substance from Streptomyces. The active compound was later called anthramycin.
(Concerning the discovery of streptomycin, I very much recommend an article by Veronique Mistiaen: Time, and the great healer, The Guardian, Nov. 2, 2002)