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Chemistry and Biochemistry: History of Chemistry

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Collections Elsewhere

Oesper Collections

Dr. William B. Jensen, curator of the Oesper collections, has composed a series of museum booklets on the History of the Chemical Apparatus, including spectroscopes, refractometers, and colorimeters. The full set of booklets can be accessed at

Several of these booklets are expansions of short articles which have previously appeared in either the bimonthly series Museum Notes, which is posted on the Oesper website, or the series "Ask the Historian," which appeared in the Journal of Chemical Education between 2003 and 2012.

Unidel History of Chemistry Collection

In 1968, with support from the Unidel Foundation, the University of Delaware Library acquired a collection of nearly 2,000 primary sources in the history of chemistry. The collection, formed over a thirty-year period by an Italian chemist, contained landmark works of chemical literature, often in many editions, in-depth holdings by less well-known figures, and extensive runs of early chemical journals. It included several manuscripts and incunabula, and many works in alchemy, natural philosophy, pharmacy, and related fields of physics, medicine and the occult sciences.

The collection, now called the Unidel History of Chemistry Collection, provides comprehensive documentation of the development of chemical crafts and industries, with well over half of the titles published prior to the chemical revolution of the 1780s. Close to 500 works from the seventeenth century, including extensive holdings of Johann Glauber, Robert Boyle, Andreas Libavius and Philippus Ulstadius, reflect the growth of chemical technology, in particular metallurgical chemistry.  More...

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Sabine Lanteri
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