Skip to main content

Irving M. Klotz (1916-2005) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/8/7

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Irving M. Klotz Papers fill 76 boxes and span the years 1937-2005, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1940s-1970s. The papers document Klotz's career, covering a teaching career at Northwestern that spans over 40 years, as well as his impressive career as a professional scientist. His work during World War II with the NDRC and his life-long dedication to scientific research and discovery are all part of Klotz's successful professional career.

The papers include biographical materials, education, correspondence (general & subject), organizations and committees, Northwestern University, teaching files: Northwestern University, grant nominations, recommendations and evaluations: colleagues (restricted), grants and research projects, consulting, research notes, lectures, publications, unpublished manuscripts and student files (restricted).

The biographical materials date from 1949-2002 and include curriculum vitae, materials relating to his time at Northwestern, and obituaries, as well as a transcript of an interview from 1985 (“Seeking the Keys”, parts I & II), conducted by Ellen Wright, which appeared in Northwestern's Arts and Sciences magazine. Programs and flyers from events in which Klotz participated are arranged chronologically. The materials are arranged chronologically within each folder.

Materials found in the education portion relate to his classes at the University of Chicago, the files including notes from specific classes as well as exams, and also includes his 1940 Ph.D. dissertation, entitled “Spectrophotometric Method for Ionizations Constants.” The folders are arranged alphabetically by course subject. When there are repeated course subjects, files are arranged in ascending numerical order.

Correspondence is a large part of the collection, starting in 1940 and ending in 2004, including general as well as subject correspondence. The general correspondence files are made up of letters concerning the procurement of chemicals for Klotz's many experiments as well as conversations from colleague to colleague. The correspondence files also include requests from hopeful students for post-doctoral or graduate work in Klotz's lab, arriving even after Klotz's retirement, demonstrating the popularity of his lab as a work opportunity. Subject correspondence includes files regarding professional affiliations as well as personal documents. For all correspondence the folders are arranged chronologically and within each folder the materials are also arranged chronologically.

The organizations and committees section contains files dealing with his professional committee connections, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, which makes up the bulk of the files. The files are arranged alphabetically and then chronologically within each folder.

The section titled Northwestern University has files pertaining to Klotz's administrative duties during his time at Northwestern. His involvement in committees included dealing with Educational Policies and Promotion Procedures at Northwestern University, as well as Ph.D. Requirements Committee. The folders on the Special Committee to Recommend Presidential Candidates are restricted. Files are arranged alphabetically and then chronologically within each folder.

Klotz's teaching files include chemistry, biophysical chemistry and chemical thermodynamics courses Klotz taught, and are arranged alphabetically by course name, and within each folder they are arranged chronologically.

The files in the grant nominations, recommendations and evaluations: colleagues are restricted and include letters written on the behalf of many of Klotz's colleagues, including Laszlo Lorand, a fellow Northwestern professor, and T.F. Young, Klotz's mentor from the University of Chicago. It is possible that documents pertaining to these files are also included in the general correspondence files. The files are arranged alphabetically by the last name, the second grouping arranged alphabetically by title, and then chronologically within each folder.

The grants and research projects section give a look into Klotz's many years of scientific inquiry, files including his applications for grants to sponsor research, files from the Marine Biological Laboratory where he spent a lot of his time lecturing and researching, as well as his collection of files and bound research notebooks from his work with the National Defense Research Committee during World War II. Files also include folders focusing on his research grants from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. The files are arranged alphabetically by a larger grouping (i.e. Marine Biological Laboratory) and then arranged chronologically within each section and within each folder.

Klotz was many times called upon for consulting projects, working with companies like AMOCO, Abbott Research Laboratories, and the Toni Company, a branch of Gillette that manufactured home perm kits in the 1950s. Consulting projects are filed alphabetically, chronologically within each file.

The research notes cover a range of topics, including folders set aside for specific scientific functions, as well as a large amount of unidentified notes. These files are arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Much of Klotz's career was spent traveling to give lectures on various topics, the most popular of which was “The Clouded Crystal Ball”. The files include lecture texts and notes, as well as folders containing a combination of both. Files are arranged with unidentified texts first, followed by general notes, and then alphabetically by lecture title.

Publications, after correspondence, are the second largest portion of Klotz's collection of papers, owing to his long and prolific career as a publishing academic. The files contain re-prints of his published research papers, and sometimes notes pertaining to those papers are included as well. The publication titles, if not in italics, are research articles. Titles in italics are books. There are also two patent files within the publications, including his patent applications and correspondence. The files are arranged chronologically, and follow Klotz's list of publications found in his CVs.

Klotz's unpublished manuscripts are arranged alphabetically, and are a mixture of scientific research articles and letters to the editor, along with his foray into non-scientific writing. Manuscript reviews is a subseries, and includes restricted materials dealing with peer reviews written for the Biochemistry Journal and McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, as well as reviews written on behalf of Klotz.

The Student Files are restricted, and include confidential information concerning students of Klotz, correspondence, CVs, etc., many of whom he continued to have a relationship with after their tenure at Northwestern. The files are arranged alphabetically by last name and then chronologically within each folder.


  • 1937-2005
  • Agreement Received: 2002-10-22


Conditions Governing Access

Files relating to Klotz's Student Files, Grant Nominations, Recommendations and Evaluations: Colleagues, Faculty Searches for Northwestern University, and Manuscript Reviews contain sensitive materials and are restricted; consultation with University Archivist is required prior to use.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


76.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



Irving M. Klotz (born 1916) taught biochemistry, biology and chemistry at Northwestern University from 1940-1986. His papers fill 76 boxes and consist largely of correspondence between Klotz and colleagues, students, and businesses, as well as a large collection of his research notes and publications.

Arrangement Note

The Klotz papers include biographical materials, education, correspondence, organizations and committees, Northwestern University, teaching files, grant nominations, recommendations and evaluations, grants and research projects, consulting, research notes, lectures, publications, unpublished manuscripts and student files. The files are primarily arranged chronologically and alphabetically.

Method of Acquisition

The Irving Klotz Papers were donated to the University Archives as the following accessions: Accession No. 94-95, No. 94-100, No. 95-191, No. 96-2, No. 02-136, and No. 02-149, donated by Irving M. Klotz; Accession No. 97-126 was donated by Alexis Duncan; Accession No. 03-169 was donated by Bob Michaelson, and Accession Nos. 05-89 and No. 06-10 were donated by Mary Sue Klotz. Materials from the University Archives Faculty Biographical file (Accession Nos. 86-9, 88-157) have been integrated into this collection.

Separated Materials

Three cubic feet of duplicate and extraneous material was discarded. The following audio materials were separated and added to the University Archives' Cassette and Audiotape Collections:

Cassette Tapes

The Clouded Crystal Ball. Klotz Seminar. 1977 (1 tape)
Interview with Klotz for Arts & Sciences article. Spring & Fall 1985 (4 tapes, accession #86-116)
Kaleidoscope: The World of Science. Chemistry & Life. Columbia College Radio. (1 tape)
Kaleidoscope: The World of Science. Science & Culture. Columbia College. (1 tape)
One Culture. Studs Terkel/Klotz. WFMT. Undated. (1 tape)
Who Will Guard the Guardians? Responsible Science Seminar. University of California, Berkeley. 1992 (1 tape)
AC #1620 (Accession #03-169)

Audio Tapes

Seminar: Concepts in biophysics Course; Thermodynamics of Biochemical Reactions. University of Rochester. (side 1 - Feb. 11, 1964; side 2 - Feb. 10, 1964) (1 tape reel)
Seminar: Some Solvent Effects on Protein Conformation. 1965 (1 tape reel)

Processing Information

Russell Johnson & Regina Gorham, Summer 2008.

Guide to the Irving M. Klotz (1916-2005) Papers
Russell Johnson & Regina Gorham
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US