Preferred Citation: Rocke, Alan J. The Quiet Revolution: Hermann Kolbe and the Science of Organic Chemistry. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1993 1993.



Every book is in a sense a collaborative venture. The debts that I have incurred during this project are more numerous than I can list and deeper than I can properly recognize. On the institutional level, grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ohio Board of Regents greatly eased my path, and I have been continually assisted by librarians, administrators, and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University. I thank staff at Freiberger and Sears Libraries, the Library of Congress, and Memorial Library of the University of Wisconsin. I have also been aided far beyond reasonable duty by William B. Jensen and the Oesper Collection in the History of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati.

Frederic L. Holmes, Elizabeth Knoll, and Kathryn Olesko each read the entire manuscript with care and gave me the benefit of their considerable expertise; the book is much better for their interest and advice. For helpful comments on chapter drafts, I wish to thank Evan Bukey, Theodore Hamerow, Susannah Heschel, Kenneth Ledford, Colin Russell, and Fritz Stern. Some of the themes of this work were presented in 1990 at a conference on Chemical Sciences in the Modern World sponsored by the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry; I have much benefited from conversations there (and elsewhere) with O. Theodor Benfey, Robert Fox, Roald Hoffmann, Seymour Mauskopf, Mary Jo Nye, Yakov Rabkin, Hans-Werner Schütt, and Arnold Thackray. Others who have given valuable counsel include Mathias Hartmann, Martin Helzle, Christoph Meinel, Peter Salm, Oliver Schwarz, and Stephen Weininger. I also thank Michelle Nordon and


Kathy Walker for professional assistance at the University of California Press.

I owe an immense debt to German scholars and archivists. The largest single component of the Kolbe Nachlass—524 important letters—is held by Vieweg Verlag in Wiesbaden, and staff members there have been extraordinarily generous in their help, both on and off site; I particularly thank Albrecht Weis, Michael Langfeld, and Ilse Dobslaw. Not far behind in importance for this project were the rich Sondersammlungen of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, and my work there over the course of several visits was much aided by the friendly ministrations of Otto Krätz and Margret Nida-Rümelin. I owe a particular debt to Elisabeth Vaupel, director of the Abteilung Chemie, who answered an immodestly long series of queries with unfailing patience and made a number of important suggestions. Lis Renner at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Inge Auerbach at the Hessisches Staatsarchiv, Günther Beer at the University of Göttingen, Gertrud Schwendler and Klaus Sühnel at the University of Leipzig, Helmut Rohlfing at the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, and Klaus Hafner and Susanna Priebe at the August-Kekulé-Sammlung in Darmstadt all assisted me in important ways. For details about Kolbe's family and early life, I am grateful to Pastors Karl Heinz Thiel, Peter Dortmund, and Hermann Charbonnier, of Elliehausen/Göttingen, Stöckheim, and Lutterhausen/Hardegsen, respectively; I also thank Karl Heinz Bielefeld of the Kirchenkreisarchiv Göttingen and Herr Leenders of the Landeskirchlichesarchiv Hannover. Eric, Otto, and Alexander yon Baeyer graciously made their grandfather's (resp. great-grandfather's) letters available to me, extending warm hospitality as well as professional courtesy.

I am particularly grateful to Professor Colin Russell and Mr. and Mrs. Raven Frankland, who granted me generous use of the microfilms of Edward Frankland's large correspondence. I also thank Professor Albert Menne and the Hugo-Dingler-Stiftung for permission to use the Erlenmeyer letters held in the Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg. Other institutions who permitted access and use of valuable materials include the Justus-Liebig-Museum in Giessen, the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek in Göttingen, the Zentrales Archiv der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR (recently renamed the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin Brandenburg), the library of the Freie Universität and the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz also in Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, the Universitätsbibliothek Marburg, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the British Library, the Royal Institution and University


College Archives in London, and the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Archives de l'Académie des Sciences in Paris.

A version of parts of chapters 5, 9, and 13 is appearing with permission concurrently as a paper in Osiris , [2] 8 (1993), 51-79. Some of the themes and the language in this book will also appear as an essay in S. Mauskopf, ed., The Chemical Sciences in the Modern World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993). A version of the material on chauvinism in chapter 14 will appear in the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry . Finally, the material on antisemitism, also in chapter 14, was first presented in a Festschrift session in 1989 in honor of O. T. Benfey and is to be published in a volume on the Intersection of Jewish and Scientific Cultures edited by Yakov Rabkin and Ira Bernstein.

Every author owes his greatest debt of gratitude to those who helped in the least tangible but most important ways: his family and close friends. I could not have gotten to the end of this road without them.


Note : Unless otherwise indicated, units of measurement and currencies, atomic weights, and chemical formulas are always reproduced as in the original sources. Readers are referred to the Glossary for assistance with German and chemical terminology.



Preferred Citation: Rocke, Alan J. The Quiet Revolution: Hermann Kolbe and the Science of Organic Chemistry. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1993 1993.