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Carl Alfred Jacobson papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0449

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of diaries dating from 1899 to 1947 and reprints of publications dating from 1908 to 1930. The diaries form the bulk of the collection.

Although Jacobson makes occasional note of his scientific work, the mentions are brief. He instead chose to focus on the events of daily life, including during his studies in the U.S. and abroad and during his long career at West Virginia University.

The span of the journals, along with the nature of their contents, make them valuable for research into many aspects of early twentieth century social and family history.


  • Creation: 1899 - 1947


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

This collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Literary rights were not transferred to the university and are held by Robert Jacobson and his heirs.

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Carl Alfred Jacobson was born in Grantsburg, Wisconsin on January 25, 1876. He received in B.S. from Carlton College in 1903, and completed a masters (1907) and Ph.D. (1908) in chemistry at The Johns Hopkins University. He also studied in Scandinavia from 1911 to 1912.

In 1906, Jacobson married Mary Edna Metzger. From 1908 to 1909, he was a fellow and research chemist at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York; he followed this with a stint as professor of agricultural chemistry at the University of Nevada, and chief chemist for the Nevada Agricultural Experimental Station (1909-1918).

Jacobson returned to Hopkins briefly as a fellow in 1919; in 1920 he began his long association with West Virginia University. His research areas included chlorophylls, alfalfa constituents, silica black and silica fluff. He invented various lab apparatus, a calculating machine, and a new method for determining the solubility of solids at different temperatures. He was granted U.S. patents on processes for treating powdered coal and carburized silica.

Although Jacobson published 36 research papers between 1908 and 1930, he is best remembered as the chief editor of The Encyclopedia of Chemical Reactions (6 volumes, 1946-1956). Jacobson died in December 1952.


1.37 Cubic Feet (3 full-sized letter document boxes, 1 half-sized legal document box)

Language of Materials



Carl Alfred Jacobson (1876-1952) was a scientist and chief editor of The Encyclopedia of Chemical Reactions from 1946 to 1956. The collection consists of diaries dating from 1899 to 1947 and reprints of publications dating from 1908 to 1930. The diaries form the bulk of the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The diaries and reprints were donated to the university in 2001 by Robert S. Jacobson.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared on August 12, 2008.

Guide to the Carl Alfred Jacobson papers
2018 August 12
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA