Guide to the Vladimir N. Ipatieff (1867-1952) Papers

Collection Title: Vladimir N. Ipatieff (1867-1952) Papers
Dates: 1867-1952
Identification: 11/3/8/2
Creator: Ipatieff, Vladimir N. (Vladimir Nikolaevich), 1867-1952
Extent: 12 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Russian chemist Vladimir Ipatieff's Papers fill twelve boxes, span the period 1867-1952, and are arranged in five major categories: personal correspondence; publications; diaries; miscellaneous manuscripts; and personal records and memorabilia. Two folders of biographical material (mainly clippings and articles about Ipatieff) precede the main body of records, while two boxes of additions follow it.
Acquisition Information: Portions of this collection were presented to the Northwestern University Library by Professor Ipatieff on October 12, 1945 and January 1, 1949, and subsequently transferred to the University Archives; the remainder was received from unknown sources prior to June 1, 1974.
Processing Information: Katherine Giese, ca. 1975; James G. Carson, August 20, 1985.
Separated Materials: Several photographs were removed to the Archives photograph collection.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Chemist Vladimir Nikolaevitch Ipatieff was born in Moscow on November 21, 1867 (according to the modern calendar; by the Julian calendar in use in Russia at the time of his birth, the date was November 9). At the outbreak of World War I, Ipatieff became chairman of the Czarist regime's Chemical Committee, and raised the country's explosives production from 60 to 3300 tons per month. In 1931, Ipatieff accepted invitations to head the research staff of the Universal Oil Products Company in Riverside, Illinois, and to assume an appointment as Lecturer in Chemistry at Northwestern University.

The son of a wealthy and prominent family, he was intended for a military career, and was graduated in 1884 from the Third Moscow Military Gymnasium, where he first discovered an interest in chemistry. He continued his chemical studies at Alexander Military School, from which he was graduated in 1887 with a commission as a lieutenant in the Russian army. During the next two years he served with an artillery brigade stationed near Moscow, while pursuing his scientific study independently; in 1889 he was admitted by competitive examination to the Mikhail Artillery Academy, from which he had been excluded in 1884 on grounds of inferior grades. In 1892 he was graduated from the Academy and was immediately appointed to its teaching staff as instructor of chemistry. In the same year, he published the first of some 350 scientific papers.

In 1896, Ipatieff studied in Munich under Adolph von Baeyer; in 1898 he was promoted to the rank of professor. In 1907, he presented a dissertation on “Catalytic Reactions Under High Pressure and Temperature” to the University of St. Petersburg, and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Chemistry. The subject of his dissertation had been the main focus of Ipatieff's research since 1900, and would continue to be for the rest of his career.

At the outbreak of World War I, Ipatieff was installed as chairman of the Czarist regime's Chemical Committee, and in short order raised the country's explosives production from 60 to 3300 tons per month. Ipatieff continued his government service under Lenin after the October Revlution of 1917, while resuming his own research, and was appointed to the presidium of the Supreme Council of National Economy in 1921. After Lenin's death in 1924, conditions for Soviet scientists and other intellectuals began to deteriorate; in 1927 Ipatieff was removed from the Supreme Council, and in 1930 he was secretly informed by a friend that he was about to be arrested in a purge which had already touched many of his friends and colleagues. In June of that year he was sent with his wife as a Russian representative to the Twelfth International Power Conference in Berlin, and he never returned to Russia.

In 1931, at the age of 63, Ipatieff accepted invitations to head the research staff of the Universal Oil Products Company in Riverside, Illinois, and to assume an appointment as Lecturer in Chemistry at Northwestern University. He taught for 11 years at Northwestern, and was awarded emeritus status in 1945; he continued to direct the research program at Universal, and the work of the University's High Pressure and Catalytic Laboratory (eventually named in his honor) until shortly before his death in 1952. His research in America led to the development of an economically feasible method of manufacturing high-octane aviation fuel, credited with giving a crucial edge to Allied fighter planes in World War II.

Among Ipatieff's numerous awards and honors were his appointment as Commander of the French Legion of Honor (1916); the Berthelot Medal of the French Society of Industrial Chemistry (1928); the Willard Gibbs Medal of the American Chemical Society (1940); and the rank of Chevalier of the Cross of Lorraine and Companion of the Resistance (1952). Ipatieff was also the only person elected to both the Russian and United States National Academies of Sciences. He was elected to the Russian Academy in 1916, expelled in 1937, and posthumously reinstated in 1965; he was elected to the United States Academy in 1939. He held honorary doctor's degrees from the Universities of Munich (1928) and Strasbourg (1929), as well as Northwestern (1938).

In addition to some 350 scientific papers, Ipatieff was the author of several widely used Russian chemistry tests, and of two books published after his immigration to the United States, Catalytic Reactions at High Temperature and Pressure (1936) and The Life of a Chemist (1946). In 1939, he donated to Northwestern the funds to establish the laboratory which now bears his name; in the same year he endowed the Ipatieff Prize, conferred every three years by the American Chemical Society.

Ipatieff was married in 1892 to Varvara (otherwise Barbara or Barbe) Ermakova; the couple had three sons and one daughter. Ipatieff died at his Chicago home on November 29, 1952, at the age of 85.

Scope and Content

The Vladimir Ipatieff Papers fill ten boxes, span the period 1867-1952, and are arranged in five major categories: personal correspondence; publications; diaries; miscellaneous manuscripts; and personal records and memorabilia. Two folders of biographical material (mainly clippings and articles about Ipatieff) precede the main body of records.

The personal correspondence fills nearly two boxes and is arranged alphabetically by surname; it consists mainly of incoming letters, in both English and Russian. The publications fill approximately two boxes; they include two bound volumes containing the English manuscript of The Life of a Chemist, and one folder containing reprints of a few short articles and papers by Ipatieff.

The diaries comprise four volumes, filling about one and one-half boxes, and are written in both English and Russian. Three volumes are carbon copies of typescripts; the fourth is in longhand, with typed documents tipped in at frequent intervals. The miscellaneous manuscript material fills approximately two boxes; it consists chiefly of carbon copies of Russian typescripts, with letters and other documents inserted periodically in English. (This material may be a preliminary manuscript of the Russian version of The Life of a Chemist.)

The personal records and memorabilia occupy about two and one-half boxes and include several folders of newspaper clippings, and two testimonial books presented to Ipatieff in 1929 (recognizing the 35th anniversary of his scientific career) and 1942 (commemorating his 75th birthday, 50th wedding anniversary, and the 50th anniversary of his first publication). Also in this section are copies of Mr. and Mrs. Ipatieff's wills, leaving an endowment for the support of the Ipatieff Catalysis and High Pressure Laboratory at Northwestern.

Addition, Box 11

This addition to the Vladmir N. Ipatieff Papers fills one half-size box, spanning the years of 1931-1968. It comprises one folder of clippings and articles about Ipatieff and his contribution to the scientific world and two folders of correspondence, one relating to the university's effort to bring Ipatieff to Northwestern and the other to funds donated to construct the Ipatieff High Pressure Laboratory.

Also included are a few other materals: lectures given by Ipatieff at Northwestern, an article written by Ipatieff about high pressure research done at Northwestern, and the wills of Proffessor and Mrs. Ipatieff.

Addition, Box 12

One half-size archival box containing four folders, divided as follows: Biographical materials, including essays on Ipatieff's life, book and magazine articles by or about him, a report from the executors of his will, a copy of the Power of Attorney for his will, and his crematory records.

Correspondence dating between 1931 and 1952, primarily to Ipatieff, but also including correspondence from or about him. Of particular note are letters regarding Ipatieff's controversial connection with Universal Oil Products Company and his threats of resignation over having that relationship questioned.

Brochures and papers from the Centenary celebration held in Ipatieff's honor at the Orrington Hotel, September 6-9, 1967.

Papers, correspondence and newspaper articles focused on the construction and/or usage of Ipatieff's laboratory.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Ipatieff Catalytic Laboratory--History

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of Chemistry--History

Personal Name

Ipatieff, Vladimir N. (Vladimir Nikolaevich), 1867-1952

Subjects

Chemistry--Study and teaching


Container List / Contents

  • Personal Correspondence
    • Alther, J.G. (re: Ipatieff's book "Catalytic Reactions at High Temperatures and Pressures"), 1937-38Box 1, Folder 3
    • Alther, J.G., 1938-44Box 1, Folder 4
    • Babkin, B., n.d.Box 1, Folder 5
    • Ball, Ralph, n.d.Box 1, Folder 6
    • Belgayev, N.T., n.d.Box 1, Folder 7
    • Bogoyavlenski, B., n.d.Box 1, Folder 8
    • Brooks, Ben, n.d.Box 1, Folder 9
    • Corson, Ben B., n.d.Box 1, Folder 10
    • Du Pont, George, 1938-1950Box 1, Folder 11
    • Emery, Alden, 1946-1947Box 1, Folder 12
    • Frank, F., 1927-1940Box 1, Folder 13
    • Freitag, Carl, n.d.Box 1, Folder 14
    • Goldberg, Z., n.d.Box 1, Folder 15
    • Gomberg, M., 1930-1938Box 1, Folder 16
    • Grebenstchikoff, G., n.d.Box 1, Folder 17
    • Grosse, A., n.d.Box 1, Folder 18
    • Halle, H.J., n.d.Box 1, Folder 19
    • Harris, David W., n.d.Box 1, Folder 20
    • Ipatieff, Anna (daughter), n.d.Box 1, Folder 21
    • Ipatieff, V.N., n.d.Box 1, Folder 22
    • Ipatieff, V.V., n.d.Box 1, Folder 23
    • Konstantinoff, P.F., n.d.Box 1, Folder 24
    • Lamb, Arthur B., n.d.Box 1, Folder 25
    • Lisovsky, M., n.d.Box 1, Folder 26
    • Lougovoy, N., n.d.Box 1, Folder 27
    • Markovitch, L., n.d.Box 2, Folder 1
    • Martynoff; Kapnist etc., n.d.Box 2, Folder 2
    • Matignon, C., n.d.Box 2, Folder 3
    • Pushin, N., n.d.Box 2, Folder 4
    • Schmitz, P.M.E., n.d.Box 2, Folder 5
    • Shubersky, A., n.d.Box 2, Folder 6
    • Snyder, F.B., n.d.Box 2, Folder 7
    • Summerbell, R.K., n.d.Box 2, Folder 8
    • Tchitchibabine, A., n.d.Box 2, Folder 9
    • Titov, A.A., n.d.Box 2, Folder 10
    • Walden, P., n.d.Box 2, Folder 11
    • Miscellaneous letters (one letter per correspondent)Box 2, Folder 12
    • Miscellaneous correspondence, n.d.Box 2, Folder 13
    • Miscellaneous correspondence, n.dBox 2, Folder 14
    • Miscellaneous notes, memos, n.d.Box 2, Folder 15
    • Miscellaneous letters re: Ipatieff, n.d.Box 2, Folder 16
    • Letters of condolence, n.d.Box 2, Folder 17
  • Publications
    • Ipatieff articles, bibliographies of his publications, n.d.Box 3, Folder 1
    • Address on the occasion of publication of memoirs "The Life of a Chemist: Memoirs 1867-1930" Part I, 1945Box 3, Folder 2
  • Diaries
    • Ipatieff Diary: Life in America (in English) Vol. 1, 1932-36Box 5
    • Ipatieff Diary: Life in America (in English) Vol. 2, 1937-33Box 5
    • Ipatieff Diary: Life in America (in English) Vol. 3, 1939-42Box 5
  • Miscellaneous Manuscripts
    • Miscellaneous writings by Ipatieff, n.d.Box 6, Folder 1
    • Miscellaneous memoir materials, n.d.Box 7, Folder 1
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 7, Folder 2
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 7, Folder 3
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 7, Folder 4
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 7, Folder 5
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 7, Folder 6
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 8, Folder 1
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 8, Folder 2
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 8, Folder 3
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 8, Folder 4
    • Russian manuscript materials, n.d.Box 8, Folder 5
  • Personal Records And Memorabilia
    • Newspaper and magazine clippings, n.d.Box 9, Folder 1
    • "Life of a Chemist", Part III; miscellaneous memos and newsclippings, n.d.Box 9, Folder 2
    • Russian newsclippings re: Ipatieff, chemistry, n.d.Box 9, Folder 3
    • lpatieff's legal documents, n.d.Box 9, Folder 4
    • Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1943-1950Box 9, Folder 5
    • Tributes to Ipatieff, n.d.Box 10, Folder 1
    • Articles about Ipatieff, n.d.Box 10, Folder 2
  • Addition
      Separated Material:  Two books in Russian written by Ipatieff were separated and added to the faculty publications collection in the University Archives reading room. Three books were discarded. Scope and Contents: This addition to the Vladmir N. Ipatieff Papers fills one half-size box, spanning the years of 1931-1968. It comprises one folder of clippings and articles about Ipatieff and his contribution to the scientific world and two folders of correspondence, one relating to the university's effort to bring Ipatieff to Northwestern and the other to funds donated to construct the Ipatieff High Pressure Laboratory. Also included are a few other materals: lectures given by Ipatieff at Northwestern, an article written by Ipatieff about high pressure research done at Northwestern, and the wills of Proffessor and Mrs. Ipatieff.
    • Articles and Clippings about Ipatieff, 1953-1967Box 11, Folder 1
    • Correspondence, General, 1933-1966Box 11, Folder 2
    • Correspondence, Northwestern University's efforts to bring Ipatieff to the United States, 1931-1932Box 11, Folder 3
    • Correspondence, concerning funds for the Ipatieff High Pressure Laboratory, 1939-1943Box 11, Folder 4
    • Lectures, on catalysts, n.d.Box 11, Folder 5
    • Lectures, on catalysts, n.d.Box 11, Folder 6
    • Article, “High Pressure Research at Northwestern University”, n.d.Box 11, Folder 7
    • Wills of Mr. and Mrs. Ipatieff, 1943, 1948Box 11, Folder 8
  • Addition
      Separated Material:  Less than one linear inch of duplicate materials was discarded. Scope and Contents: One half-size archival box containing four folders, divided as follows: Biographical materials, including essays on Ipatieff's life, book and magazine articles by or about him, a report from the executors of his will, a copy of the Power of Attorney for his will, and his crematory records. Correspondence dating between 1931 and 1952, primarily to Ipatieff, but also including correspondence from or about him. Of particular note are letters regarding Ipatieff's controversial connection with Universal Oil Products Company and his threats of resignation over having that relationship questioned. Brochures and papers from the Centenary celebration held in Ipatieff's honor at the Orrington Hotel, September 6-9, 1967. Papers, correspondence and newspaper articles focused on the construction and/or usage of Ipatieff's laboratory.
    • Biographical Materials, 1932-1955Box 12, Folder 1
    • Correspondence, 1931-1952Box 12, Folder 2
    • Centenary, 1967Box 12, Folder 3
    • Ipatieff Laboratory, 1938-1953Box 12, Folder 4
  • Other Items
    • Memorabilia
      • Passport – Barbe Feodorovna IpatieffItem 1
      • Two copies of dinner program, 1942
      • Block for printing facsimile of first page of first article published by Ipatieff, 1942
    • Testimonial in Honor of Three Milestones in His Career, 1942Volume 1
    • On the 35th anniversary of academician VN Ipatieff's scientific activity, Leningrad, 1929Volume 2
  • Biographical Materials, n.d.Box 1, Folder 1
  • Biographical Materials, n.d.Box 1, Folder 2