J.H. van 't Hoff papers
Scope and Contents note
This collection of papers is almost entirely in Dutch and has not been translated. This note is based on fragmentary notes left by Aleida van 't Hoff Snyder while she was organizing the papers.
The majority of the papers are those reflecting family affairs or honors accorded van 't Hoff for his work. This collection does not contain his scientific or working papers except for notes of two lectures and copies of his published papers.
The family papers are correspondence among van 't Hoff his wife Johanna (Jenny) Francina [Mees] van 't Hoff, and their daughter Aleida. The letters (1879-1910) have not been translated or organized. Mrs. Snyder placed the papers in order by date, and this arrangement has been retained.
Van 't Hoff kept a journal (labeled daybook) in which he made daily entries for the years 1905-1910. There is poetry by van 't Hoff and a [play?] written in 1878, also included are some embroidered and painted autograph cards dated 1837-38. These may have belonged to a girl in the Mees family.
There is a series of incoming letters from individuals outside van 't Hoff's immediate family. Although untranslated, many appear to be congratulatory, sent to van 't Hoff on special occasions. The letters for 1887 (approximately 100 items) probably deal with van 't Hoff's refusal of the newly created chair of Physical Chemistry at Leipzig. The letters of 1895 (approximately 30 items) discuss van 't Hoff's decision to move to Berlin, and the letters of 1899 (approximately 100 items) appear to be congratulatory on the occasion of van 't Hoff's twenty- fifth anniversary [of teaching?]. These letters are supplemented by a bound vellum certificate and a large photo album labeled "Magisto Discipuli 1874-1899." This has photographs of many [chemists], presumably those who worked with van 't Hoff.
The letters for 1901 (approximately 50 items) detail van 't Hoff's trip to the United States to give lectures in Chicago and St. Louis. In addition there are lecture notes, a journal of his trip labeled "Amerika I", newspaper clippings, and other printed material from this trip.
This series of incoming letters was sorted in several ways by Mrs. Snyder. Until the letters are translated, these arrangements have been retained. One group of letters was sorted into notebooks labeled I, II, III, and V. Notebook I spans the years 1871-94 and correspondents include A. Basaraw, J. Cohen, Louis Fleury, F. Herrmann, W. Spring, Joseph Torrey, Jr. and W. Wurz. Notebooks II and III deal with the years 1886-88 and frequent correspondents are M. Berthelot, Max Conrat, R. Engelmann, H. LeChatelier, W. Ostwald, and J. Place. Another grouping of letters (1895-1896) includes letters from Emil Fischer and M. Planck.
Van 't Hoff's accomplishments and honors have been well documented in three separate series. Diplomas, certificates, awards, and letters of congratulation have been arranged and labeled probably by Mrs. Snyder. The earliest series (1852-1871) of van 't Hoff's accomplishments begins when he was an infant and is labeled a - y. This includes early drawings as well as school diplomas. The second series runs from 1873 until 1886 and is numbered 1 through 38. The third and largest series of awards and honors spans the period 1887-1911 and is numbered 2 through 218.
The collection also includes a photograph of all the medals awarded to van 't Hoff as well as 5 photographs of van 't Hoff. The bound vellum certificate awarding the Nobel prize for chemistry is part of the collection, and there are also lithographs of the four Nobel winners of 1901 (Van 't Hoff, Henri Dunant, Emil von Behring, and Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen).
The overall collection spans from 1837 to 1924
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use note
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.
Jacobus Henricus (Henry) van 't Hoff (1852-1911) was born in Rotterdam. He was a chemist who is credited with founding the science of stereochemistry, and in 1901 he was awarded the first Nobel Prize in chemistry. His career was spent entirely in Europe. He received his doctorate from the University of Utrecht in 1874, taught at the University of Amsterdam from 1877 until 1895, and moved to the University of Berlin in 1896 where he remained until his death.
3.79 Cubic Feet (1 letter size document box, 1 letter half-size document box, 4 legal size document boxes, 1 flat box (21 x 17 x 3.5 inches), 1 flat box (21 x 17 x 3 inches))
Language of Materials
Jacobus Henricus (Henry) van 't Hoff (1852-1911) was a chemist credited with founding the science of stereochemistry, and in 1901 he was awarded the first Nobel Prize in chemistry. The majority of the papers are those reflecting family affairs or honors accorded van 't Hoff for his work. This collection does not contain his scientific or working papers except for notes of two lectures and copies of his published papers. The papers are mostly in Dutch. The papers span from 1837 to 1924.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The papers were donated by van 't Hoff's daughter Aleida sometime before her death in 1971. Aleida van 't Hoff was the wife of Dr. Charles D. Snyder, a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Processing Information note
Finding aid prepared by Cynthia H. Requardt and encoded by Diwakar Bhandari in 1986, with additional processing in April 2016 by Annie Tang. Arrangement and description was determined by the donor, Aleida van 't Hoff.
- Behring, Emil von, 1854-1917
- Berthelot, M. (Marcellin), 1827-1907
- Dunant, Henry, 1828-1910
- Fischer, Emil, 1852-1919
- Hoff, J.H. van 't (Jacobus Henricus), 1852-1911
- Le Chatelier, Henri, 1850-1936
- Nobel Prizes
- Ostwald, Wolfgang, 1883-1943
- Planck, Max, 1858-1947
- Rontgen, Wilhelm Conrad, 1845-1923
- clippings (information artifacts)
- drawings (visual works)
- letters (correspondence)
- publications (documents)
- J.H. van 't Hoff papers
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Repository
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