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Bolton Society Symposia: 2002 April

Named for Henry Carrington Bolton, the Bolton Society encourages and promotes the individual love for and collection of all types of printed material devoted to chemistry and related sciences.

Notable antiquarian chemistry book collectors and their public collections II

Organizers: Herbert T. Pratt

Legacies: notable contributions to the retention of chemical information / Kathleen A. C. Fleming

Samuel Cox Hooker was respected chemist in the United States in the late nineteenth century.  He is responsible for several advancements in sugar refining and was primarily responsible for informing citizens of Philadelphia, PA of the degree of contamination of their drinking water. During his life he built a chemistry library comprised of rare sources and important titles. His library was sold to Central College in Fayette, Missouri. Central college agreed to keep the “Hooker library” up-to-date and to make the collection useful to chemists worldwide, and “the Friends of the Hooker Scientific Library” was formed. In 1942, Dr. Gordon was hired at Wayne University in Detroit, MI and brought the collection with him. It became known as the Kresge-Hooker Scientific Library. Although the formal translating, abstracting, and literature reviewing services ended in 1970, in no way does this mean that the collection is unused.

Donald Othmer: The chemical engineer as bibliophile / Arnold Thackray

When Donald F. Othmer (1904-1995) chose to endow the Othmer Library of Chemical History of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, he was not expressing an interest acquired in later more reflective years. Indeed, our stereotype of the chemical engineer as a man of action does not include reading and reflection. But Don Othmer had behind him a life-long love of books – including rare books. In 1936 Othmer, the young assistant professor of chemical engineering recently arrived at Brooklyn Polytechnic, was already taking active steps to secure a small but high-quality collection of rare books. As he wrote that year to a Florentine rare book dealer, he was interested in three areas of collection: books about engineering, chemical manufacture, and atlases – the latter perhaps predictive of his globe-trotting days. The Othmer Library now holds some 50 rare books (published before 1851) from Don Othmer’s personal collection in the first two categories that he noted – as well as the rest of his personal library of chemical books. A few signal examples from among his rare book as the evidence of how he used those books as a teacher will give a better picture o the man and the collection.

Henry Carrington Bolton: Truly a Renaissance man / Herbert T. Pratt

Although Bolton was a chemist, teacher, world traveler, organizer of men, mountain climber, author, folk lorist and book collector, he is, by far, best known for his encyclopedic works in the bibliography of chemistry. The Bolton Society, a three-year-old organization of chemical bibliophiles sponsored by the Chemical Heritage Foundation, is named for him. This paper will first describe Bolton the man and then focus on his work in bibliography.

Sweetening the pot: the library of sugar chemist Charles A. Browne and its impact on the Edgar Fahs Smith Collection / James J. Bohning

When Charles A. Browne and Edgar Fahs Smith, cofounders of American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry, first met in 1921, they immediately discovered that each had an intense passion for collecting books and other ephemera related to the history of chemistry. After Smith’s death in 1928, his collection was preserved at the University of Pennsylvania. Browne’s collection, amassed during a lifetime of travel, filled his “charming” Washington, DC home. The study and living room were lined with shelves filled with books, and “even the attic and basement held their share.” In 1945, shortly before his death, Browne donated some 450 items to the Smith Collection, fulfilling a desire he had made earlier to Smith’s widow that he wished to see the Smith collection “become the outstanding center for historical research in chemistry not only in the United States but in the whole world.”

University of North Carolina's Venable Collection in the history of chemistry / Seymour Mauskopf

Abstract text not available.

Oesper Collections in the history of chemistry / William B. Jensen

The talk will describe the origins and contents of the various Oesper Collection in the History of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, including the Oesper Print and Portrait Collection (More than 1,000 images related to the history of chemistry); the Oesper Journal and Book Collection (over 10,000 journals and monographs spanning the 17th through the early 20th century); and the Oesper Apparatus Museum (over 2,000 artifacts related to the historical evolution of chemical apparatus, including a completely restored, circa 1900 laboratory). The relation of these collections to other history of science and technology resources in the Cincinnati area will also be review, including the Cincinnati Observatory Museum, the Historical Physics Apparatus Collection, the Radio Museum, and the History of Health Sciences Library.