Othmer Library of Chemical History
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Monday - Friday
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The collection consists of over 6,000 volumes of rare books dealing with all aspects of chemistry and related subjects from the 15th century on. Readers will find all of the landmark works of the history of chemistry, often in multiple editions. In addition, hundreds of other lesser-known works of equal interest can be found.
The rare-book collection also contains significant concentrations of works on the early chemical industry and commerce, including distillation, bleaching and dyeing, the study and use of mineral waters, the early gas-lighting industry and its critics, perfumery, and a host of productive processes ranging from the extraction and treatment of sugar to the procurement and purification of saltpeter, to the manufacture of steel, glass, alum, vitriol, and porcelain as well as that of beer and wine.
Allied fields that deploy chemical knowledge form further important clusters of materials, such as mining and metallurgy, assaying, gunnery, pyrotechnics, and books of secrets. The related subjects of medicine, pharmacy, crystallography, geology, mineralogy, balneology, physics, and botany are also well represented.
(a) you fill out the Personal Camera Permission Form;
(b) you may not use tripods, artificial lights or any intrusive equipment;
(c) on the understanding that photographs are allowed only for research purposes and not for publication.