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Collection Number: 04540

Collection Title: A.S. Wheeler Papers, 1896-1932

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 300 items)
Abstract A.S. Wheeler was an internationally recognized expert on dyes and Kenan professor of organic chemistry at the University of North Carolina. The collection contains professional correspondence, 1916-1932, and school notebooks, 1896-1899, of A.S. Wheeler. Letters are chiefly related to the synthesis and testing of organic chemicals, especially those used in dyes. There are also a few letters from or about Wheeler's students at the University of North Carolina. The school notebooks are from Wheeler's days at Harvard and relate to organic chemistry classes he took there.
Creator Wheeler, A. S. (Alvin Sawyer), 1866-1940.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the A.S. Wheeler papers #4540, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Transferred from University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in October 1989.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Alvin Sawyer Wheeler was born in 1866 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. He was an 1890 graduate of Beloit College. After three years in the lumber business in Tacoma, Washington, and two years teaching in a Tacoma high school, Wheeler enrolled at Harvard, earning an M.A. in 1897 and a doctorate in organic chemistry in 1900. In that same year, he joined the chemistry faculty at the University of North Carolina, where he remained for the next forty years, rising to full professor in 1912 and, in the 1930s, becoming Kenan professor of organic chemistry.

While serving as mentor for young organic chemists, Wheeler was also an important member of the chemical community. He and his lab held numerous contracts with industry to conduct analyses on various substances used in manufacturing processes. Over the years, Wheeler came to be recognized as an international authority on dyes, publishing widely in chemical journals in this country and in Europe. One of the dyes he developed, known as "Wheeler brown," was used as a shade for women's hosiery in the 1940s.

Wheeler was a member of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society and the North Carolina section of the American Chemical Society, serving both organizations as president. He also had interests apart from organic chemistry. Wheeler organized the Faculty Club at UNC, was a charter member of the Carolina Playmakers, and was active in the Presbyterian Church. He was married to Edith James and had two sons. Wheeler died in 1940.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection contains professional correspondence, 1916-1932, and school notebooks, 1896-1899, of A.S. Wheeler. Letters are chiefly related to the synthesis and testing of organic chemicals, especially those used in dyes. There are also a few letters from or about Wheeler's students at the University of North Carolina. The school notebooks are from Wheeler's days at Harvard and relate to organic chemistry classes he took there.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1916-1932.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence between Wheeler and members of the chemical community. Correspondents include representatives of major chemical companies, suppliers of chemicals, and colleagues at other institutions. These letters chiefly relate to the production and/or analyses of various chemicals, particularly those used in dyes. Also included are letters from Wheeler's former students, either inquiring about positions at the University of North Carolina or requesting letters of recommendation. A small number of letters relate to research grants available through the Chemistry Department. There is no personal correspondence.

Folder 1

1916-1920 #04540, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1916-1932." Folder 1

Folder 2

1921-1923 #04540, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1916-1932." Folder 2

Folder 3

1924-1926 #04540, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1916-1932." Folder 3

Folder 4

1927-1928 #04540, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1916-1932." Folder 4

Folder 5

1929 #04540, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1916-1932." Folder 5

Folder 6

1930-1932 #04540, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1916-1932." Folder 6

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. School Notebooks, 1896-1899.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, December 1989

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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