Science History Institute

NUC Symbol: C8F (OCLC)
Catalog: Midon

Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library
of Chemical History

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-873-8205 voice


Monday–Friday, 10:00 A.M.–4:00 P.M.

The Othmer Library functions as an independent research library; it is open to all users but the collections and services are designed for scholars and experienced researchers who are working on specific topics and have a research strategy in place.

Researchers are encouraged to make an appointment in advance of a visit. All researchers must provide a photo ID upon arrival.

The Othmer Library's online catalog -- Midon -- is available via CHF's website.  Researchers are encouraged to consult the online catalog and request materials in advance of their visit.   


The Science History Institute's Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History, created in 1988, encompasses the history of the chemical sciences and industries. The library is a product of the vision and generosity of Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer. The Othmer Library's holdings include more than 140,000 volumes of monographs, reference works, rare books, and professional journals published from 1478 to the present.

The Institute's archives include an image archives collection comprises some 200 framed pieces of artwork ranging from oil portraits to lithographs, plus over 10,000 images in all photographic formats. CHF holds the personal papers of such innovators as Paul Flory, Carl Marvel, and Donald Othmer, and the unpublished records of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Chemists’ Club, and several other organizations. The instrument and artifacts collection features hundreds of 20th-century chemical instruments. Artifacts range from awards, scrapbooks, and some of the first preproduction nylon stockings to early batteries, glassware, and apparatus.