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Wayne State University Kresge-Hooker Science Library Associates Records

Identifier: WSR000194
The records of the Kresge-Hooker Science Library Associates reflect the major activities of the Associates and its predecessors, namely acquiring; library materials, translating material, helping to sponsor the Frontiers in Chemistry Lecture Series and published the, "Record of Chemical Progress". The Samuel Cox Hooker material reflects Hooker's research interests and involvement with his library.

Series Description: Series 1: Kresge-Hooker Science Library Associates and Predessors, 1928-1938, 1942-1971 Series 2: Samuel Cox Hooker, 1881-1936


  • 1881 - 1971
  • Majority of material found within 1943 - 1960


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


3.5 Linear Feet (5 MB, 1 OS)


First organized as the Friends of the Hooker Scientific Library at Fayette, Missouri in 1938. In 1942 the Hooker Library was transferred to Wayne University and enlarged. It initially consisted of books and journals focusing on the subject of chemistry. Lectures given at the Frontiers in Chemistry Lecture series are contained in the collection from 1948-1967.


The Kresge-Hooker Science Library Associates was the successor organization to the Friends of the Hooker Scientific Library first started by Dr. Neil E. Gordon at Central College, Fayette, Missouri about 1938. The Associates ceased operations in 1970. The Hooker Library was begun by Samuel Cox Hooker (1864-1935).

In 1942 Dr. Gordon accepted the chairmanship of Wayne's Chemistry Department. At the urging of Dr. Gordon, he and William Whitehouse, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, collaborated with a committee of scientists and industrial leaders to bring the Hooker Scientific Library to Wayne and to enlarge it. The local committee, sponsored by the Detroit Section of the American Chemical Society, was chaired by Dr. Harvey Milton Merker of Parke, Davis and Company. Local industry matched the $100,000 grant of the Kresge Foundation and the Library was purchased from Central College. In June of 1944 it was transferred to Wayne.

The Hooker Library was built upon the collection of Samuel Cox Hooker and according to Dean Whitehouse recognized "as one of the world's most complete collections of books and journals on chemistry". It was widely used by research scientists throughout the United States who utilized the reference and translation services supported by the Friends of the Hooker Scientific Library. Once at Wayne, the Library became known as the Kresge-Hooker Science Library; the Friends became known as the Friends of the Kresge-Hooker Science Library. In 1954 the Friends adopted the name of Kresge-Hooker Science Library Associates.

Neil E. Gordon was the first Director of the Friends and served until his death in 1949. Wendell Powers then became Acting Director for one year. George H. Coleman was appointed Director in 1950 and served until 1953 when Powers again became Acting Director. Powers was the Executive Secretary of the Associates from 1956 until the organization dissolved in 1970.

The Associates operated a scientific translation service, purchased items for the Library, helped to sponsor the Frontiers in Chemistry Lecture Series at Wayne and published the Record of Chemical Progress. The entire publishing costs for the Record, a quarterly chemical review journal, was borne by the society from 1939 to 1956. In 1956 the Wayne State University Press agreed to publish the journal and share costs. The agreement was modified in 1959 and terminated at the end of 1969. The "Frontiers in Chemistry Lecture Series" featured nationally and internationally known scientists.

The Hooker Library was begun by Samuel Cox Hooker (1864-1935) who was born in England, obtained his Ph.D. degree at Munich and immigrated to the United States in 1885. Hooker began his career as chief chemist with the Franklin Sugar Refining Company in Philadelphia in 1885. In 1909 he was appointed to the board of directors of the American Sugar Refining Company and retired in 1915. His research includes Philadelphia municipal water, lapachol and papachol. Hooker was responsible for many improvements in sugar technology and, because of his business ability, is often recognized as the individual responsible for the high level of efficiency in the American beet sugar industry.

After his retirement Hooker spent much time enlarging his library. His objective was to make it the most complete chemical library in the world. At his death in 1935 the collection comprised over 21,000 volumes, 18,820 of which were volumes of periodicals. In 1936 the library was acquired by Central College, Fayette, Missouri and three of Hooker's children presented to the college their father's private research laboratory and his study to also serve as a permanent memorial to Hooker.


Arranged in 2 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-5), and Series 2 (Boxes 5-6). Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject or chronologically.


The records of the Kresge-Hooker Science Library Associates and the papers of Samuel Cox Hooker were placed in the University Archives in 1970 and 1972. In 1979 another shipment was added.

Related Materials

Wayne State University collections


A small collection of photographs, half-tone printing plates and other objects were placed in the Archives Audiovisual collections.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Wayne State University Kresge-Hooker Science Library Associates Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA