Fonds MG3076 - Harold Hibbert Fonds

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Harold Hibbert Fonds

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  • 1877-1961 (Creation)
    Hibbert, Harold, 1877-1945

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Physical description

2.1 m of textual records.
20 photographs.

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Biographical history

Harold Hibbert was born in Manchester, England, and earned his B.Sc. (1897), M.Sc. (1900) and D.Sc. (1901) degrees from Victoria College in Manchester. In 1906 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig. From 1899 to 1904, Hibbert taught chemistry at the University College of Wales, and after 1906 became an instructor at Tufts College in Boston. Hibbert also worked as a research chemist at DuPont and Co. (1910-1914), the Mellon Institute (1914-1916) and at Yale University (1916-1919). He was Professor of Chemistry at Yale from 1919 until 1925, when he came to McGill as E.B. Eddy Professor of Cellulose Chemistry. Most of his research was conducted at the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada on cellulose and lignin but he held patents for a wide variety of products (e.g. explosives, antifreeze, organic solvents) and served as a consultant for many types of enterprises ranging from mines to flour mills. He was also McGill's representative to the Pulp and Paper Institute of Canada. He retired in 1943 and passed away two years later.

Custodial history

The material was donated to the McGill Archives by Hibbert’s widow, Beulah Hibbert, through Dr. R.V.V. Nicholls on September 15th, 1977.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of printed materials, architectural drawings, and photographs that are overwhelmingly concerned with Hibbert’s research activities and related areas of patents and consulting. His general correspondence files (1910-1945) are almost entirely devoted to research communications and the business of the Pulp and Paper Research Institute. There are a few files of correspondence with individuals on special topics, e.g. with Benno Borzykowski on the establishment of chemical industries in Peru (1940-1943), with the Nobel Institute on Hibbert's nomination of Colin Fink for the chemistry prize (1934-1935), as well as letters concerning German refugee scientists (1933). Hibbert's research subject files (1915-1943) contain notes, drafts of articles, printed materials and some correspondence on a large range of organic chemistry topics: wood cellulose, lignin, synthetic fibers, analysis and catalysis, and explosives. Closely related to these are papers on the administration and equipment of the Pulp and Paper Research Institute (1927-1942) and other bodies.

Hibbert's files on patents (1914-1941) contain some documentation on his own patents, but largely concern patents of interest to him in the area of solvents, synthetic fibers and vanilla, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol. His work as a consultant is illustrated by files of notes, reports and correspondence on Komppa's synthetic camphor (1919), the establishment of chemical companies producing synthetic fibers, pulp and paper products, machinery, etc.

Hibbert's teaching activities are documented by two files of lecture notes (1945) and two of correspondence with the Chemistry Department (1934-1943) and the Graduate Faculty (1934-1945) on student-related topics, theses and honorary degrees.

His involvement with the American Chemical Society is revealed by general correspondence, largely concerning meetings and papers, correspondence with the Division of Cellulose Chemistry on research problems, division reports, publications, and relations with industry, and finally by communications with the Society's Journal regarding the refereeing of papers (1920-1944). Personal and biographical materials comprise a scattering of papers about his marriage (1917), academic appointments (1922-1924), library (1926-1941), retirement (1943), hobbies, clubs and interests. There is also a small body of correspondence with his friends, wife and family (1928-1945), as well as communications with his broker about stock investments (continued by Mrs. Hibbert until 1961). Bibliographies and photographs are also included. Obituary material is supplemented by letters of condolence to Mrs. Hibbert, and by a file documenting a dispute concerning Hibbert's biography in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

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  • English

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