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Department of Chemistry Records

Identifier: UA 213

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The records of the Department of Chemistry include committee, student and faculty meeting records, correspondence, photographs and various publications from 1940 to the present. Meeting records include minutes, agendas, as well as correspondence from departmental and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences meetings.  The correspondence, which dates from 1978 to 1995, includes both internal and external memos, as well as memos to various institutions outside of the William and Mary community.  The publications, from 1940 to 1987, consist of announcements, annual reports of the department, and a paper documenting three centuries of chemistry at the College. The paper includes  a list of faculty of the Department of Chemistry as well as scholarly publications and newspaper articles about department. Portions of this accession are restricted.


  • Creation: 1968-1998


Conditions Governing Access:

Faculty search files are restricted. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Historical Note:

The first references to the teaching of chemistry at William & Mary occured near the end of the 18th century. James Madison, president of the College from 1777 to 1812 and the first Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, included lectures on chemistry in his Natural Philosophy curriculum as early as 1772. In 1779 a Professorship of Anatomy, Medicine, and Chemistry was established and held by James McClurg until 1800. No record exists of what McClurg taught as chemistry. Since this professorship was not renewed after 1800, it appears that chemistry as we generally think of it was taught under Natural Philosophy and that McClurg emphasized anatomy and medicine.

Chemistry continued as part of the curriculum through the nineteenth century under the professorship of natural philosophy. The most prominent of these 19th century professors was William Barton Rogers, who spent seventeen years in Virginia before leaving for Boston as a founder and first president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1927, William and Mary dedicated its new chemistry and physics building to Rogers, and the present chemistry building, completed in 1975, also bears his name.

In 1905 chemistry became an autonomous department with its own professor. Physics and biology also became departments at this time. The traditional rubric of natural philosophy was abandoned. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the


2.40 Linear Feet (5 boxes)



Arrangement of Materials:

This collection is organized into three series: committee and meeting records, 1968-1998; correspondence, 1978-1995; and publications, 1940-1987.

Custodial History:

A portion of this collection was formerly part of the University Archives Publications Collection.

Acquisition Information:

Acc. 1987.086 received 10/09/1987; Acc. 2008.009 transferred from department on 01/28/2008 by Pat Hilger, and an additional cubic foot of related material was transferred via Pat Hilger on 02/26/2008.


Future accruals are expected.

Related Materials:

Theta Chi Delta (UA 7.014) is a chemistry fraternity at William and Mary; John Millington Collection (UA 6.015); University Archives Bound Volume Collection (UA 15) contains notebooks, textbooks, and lecture notes from chemistry courses at William and Mary; William George and Gladys Bennett Guy Papers (UA 6.037).

Processing Information:

David Bassett processed this collection and Steven Bookman added this collection to the Archon database in March 2008.

Guide to the Department of Chemistry records
Special Collections Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository