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Bolton Society Symposia: 2003 March

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 IV

Organizers: Herbert T. Pratt

Duveen and Cole Collections at the University of Wisconsin-Madison / Robin E. Rider

Two of the outstanding collections in the Department of Special Collections of the general Library System, University of Wisconsin-Madison, speak volumes to the history of chemistry. The Duveen Collection on Chemistry and Alchemy, containing more than 3,000 separate works and spanning some 475 years, resulted from the ambitious book collecting of Denis Duveen (1910-1996?), chemist and chemical manufacturer. Purchased by the University of Wisconsin-Madison nearly a half-century ago, the Duveen Collection is noted for its depth and balance; and remains a touchstone for scholars of early chemistry. The Cole Collection is the product of decades of careful collecting by William A. Cole, who taught high school chemistry in southern California, and his wife Nora. As of this writing the last installment of the Cole Collection is on its way to Madison. This gift of valuable manuscripts and rare books further enriches the Cole Collection, notable for it large number of editions of individual works, both in their original language and in various translations. The Duveen and Cole collections serve multiple scholarly constituencies, even through they are primarily know to historians of chemistry; and they permit comparison of concepts, practices, technologies, tools, and illustrative techniques across types of publication (textbooks, research treatises and articles, popular works, catalogs and advertisements for scientific instruments), editions, publishers, national and linguistic boundaries, and centuries. They also speak to the development of experimental science, as well as issues of material culture. Cole's Chemical literature, 1700-1860: A bibliography (London, 1988) and Dueens' Bibliotheca alchemica et chemica (London, 1949) serve both as guides to the collections and as valuable reference works for librarians, book collectors, and historians.
 
William A. Cole Collection of Chemistry at the Huntington Library / Dan Lewis
 
The largest collection of historical chemistry books west of Wisconsin is located at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Although best-known for its immense holdings in history and literature generally, the Huntington's chemistry collection is also very important. The bulk of it consists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries' collection of William A. Cole, a chemistry teacher in Southern California. Over several years in the mid-1980s, the Huntington purchased 550 titles in the history of chemistry from Cole. This talk will detail some of the high points of the collection and provide information about the Huntington's rare book on chemistry generally.
 
James Young and John Ferguson: Alchemy collectors extraordinaire / Herbert T. Pratt
 
This essay will discuss the intertwined but unlike careers of James Young (1811-1883) and John Ferguson (1834-1916). Young, a self-made British chemical manufacturer, amassed a sizable fortune in the paraffin industry. Ferguson was Regius Professor of Chemistry at Glasgow University, an inveterate scholar and an export bibliographer. Both men widely collected works on alchemy. Ferguson is best know for his detailed bibliography of Young's collection, published in 1906. Ferguson also published extensive scholarly works on the history of witchcraft, gypsies, sleight of hand, and books of "secrets." Statistics will be presented as to both the size and scope of the Young and Ferguson collections. 
 
Portraits and papers: The historical chemistry collection of Lyman C. Newell / Katherine Kominis
 
This paper describes both the resources of the Lyman C. Newell Collection at Boston University's Special Collections, and Professor Newell's work as a historian of chemistry. The Newell Collection contains numerous types of materials, from 18th century (and earlier) manuscripts of well-known chemists, to a notable group of engraved portraits of chemists; secondary sources compiled by Newell for his own extensive writing on historical chemistry; and some rare books, as well as Newell's own manuscripts, offprints, and books.
 
Growing up to be a chemist: A young boy's memories / Laird G.L. Ward
 
In which a young New Zealand teenager in his second year of college (1945-high-school) "discovers" the wet plate photographic process. An August three-week school holiday, working with a local lithographic firm, rapidly advances skills in the practice of the negative collodion method with a quarter plate camera. 
 
Whose book? Provenance: The paper trail of ownership / Elizabeth Swan
 
Provenance, a record of previous ownership, is an important facet of book collecting that is of interest to collectors, dealers, librarian, and researchers. Provenance may be apparent through one or more of the following attributes: bookplate, inscription, signature, motto, manuscript date, and style of binding. Identification of previous owners, whether individuals or organizations, often requires considerable detective work. While some research uncovers valuable association copies, not all paper trials lead to a tidy answer to the puzzling question, whose book was this? The presentation will be illustrated with examples from the Othmer Library.