Abraham Savitzky Papers
Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Abraham Savitzky was an American analytical chemist. Savitzky was born on May 29, 1919 in New York, New York. He received his bachelor's degree from the New York State College for Teachers (now University at Albany, SUNY) in 1941. During World War II, Savitzky served in the United States Air Force. Following the war, he obtained his master's degree (1947) and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Columbia University respectively. In 1950, after working at Columbia for a year as a research associate in electron microscopy, he began a long career with Perkin-Elmer Corporation.
Savitzky started with Perkin-Elmer as a staff scientist who was chiefly concerned with design and development of infrared instruments. He rapidly moved up the ranks in the corporation. By 1956, he was named Perkin-Elmer's New Product Coordinator for the Instrument Division, and as the years passed, he continued to gain more and more recognition for his work in the company. Most of his work with Perkin-Elmer focused on computer-aided analytical chemistry, data reduction, infrared spectroscopy, time-sharing systems, and computer plotting. He retired from Perkin-Elmer in 1985.
While working a full-time job at Perkin-Elmer, Savitzky also managed to concurrently work on other committees and projects. He served on the National Resource Council Evaluation Panel on Atomic and Molecular Physics from 1970 to 1972. Savitzky was also the Director of the Time Share Peripherals Corporation from 1970 to 1977 and served as a representative for the Science Apparatus Makers Association from 1972 to 1980. Following his retirement from Perkin-Elmer Corporation, Savitzky became the President of Silvermine Resources, Incorporated, where he remained for several years.
Abraham Savitzky was awarded seven U.S. Patents pertaining to computerization and chemical apparatus. During his long career, he presented numerous papers, and wrote several manuscripts, including "Smoothing and Differentiation of Data by Simplified Least Squares Procedures". This paper, which is the collaborative effort of Savitzky and Marcel J. E. Golay, describes the Savitzky-Golay Smoothing Filter for digital filtering. Their paper was published in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 36, in July 1964. It is one of the most famous, respected, and heavily cited articles in its field.
In recognition of his many significant accomplishments in the field of analytical chemistry and computer science, Savitzky received the Society of Applied Spectroscopy Award in 1983, and the Williams-Wright Award from the Coblentz Society in 1986. Savitzky was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Physics Society, the Optical Society of America, and many other professional organizations. Abraham Savitzky died on February 5, 1999 in Naples, Florida.
Abraham Savitzky Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Abraham Savitzky Papers contain the personal papers of Abraham Savitzky. The collection is arranged into the following nine series:
The Abraham Savitzky Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Evelyn Savitzky in 1999.
The Abraham Savitzky Papers were processed by Kristen Clark in 2001 and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher in 2020.
- American Chemical Society
- Eastern Analytical Symposium
- European Congress on Molecular Spectroscopy
- Instrument Society of America
- ISA Conference (Instrument Society of America)
- Perkin-Elmer Corporation
- Pittsburgh Conference and Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy
- Quality Congress
- Society for Applied Spectroscopy
- Summer Symposium on Analytical Chemistry
- Chemical apparatus
- Chemistry -- Computer programs
- Chemistry, Analytic
- Chemistry, Analytic -- Congresses
- Chemistry, Analytic -- Data processing
- Chemistry, Analytic -- History
- Chemists -- United States
- Clinical chemistry
- Data reduction
- Data reduction -- Computer programs
- Digital filters (Mathematics)
- Gas chromatography
- Infrared spectra
- Infrared spectroscopy
- Molecular spectroscopy
- Optical rotatory dispersion
- Scientific apparatus and instruments
- Scientific apparatus and instruments industry
- Spectrum analysis
- Time-sharing computer systems
- Science History Institute Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid created by Kristen Clark and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher.
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
There are no access restrictions on the materials.
- Use Restrictions
The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Abraham Savitzky Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Honors files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of four files. These files contain newspaper clippings about Savitzky, his acceptance address for the Society of Applied Spectroscopy Award, his retirement party address, and his acceptance address for the Williams-Wright Award.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Presentations files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of two boxes of forty-six files. These files contain research papers written by Savitzky that he presented at numerous conferences. The topics primarily concern the development of computers in chemical analysis and processing as well as infrared spectroscopy.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Manuscripts files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of thirteen files. These files contain manuscripts written by Savitzky primarily concerning spectrophotometers, analytical chemistry, and data processing.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Patents files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of seven files. These files contain patents awarded to Savitzky for spectrometers, a radiation sample cell, a digital lever switch, electrical signal-generating equipment, a recorder using either a stationary or moving chart, and a method and apparatus for determining the nature of an unknown chemical substance.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Projects files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of four files. These files contain materials regarding Savitzky's projects like the Model 180 IR Spectrophotometer and the Savitzky Peakfinder.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Reports files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of eight files. These files contain Savitzky's reports, including a technical report on the Bichromator Analyzer, a preliminary survey on gas chromatography, as well as reports on optical rotatory dispersion, clinical chemistry instrumentation, the applications and impact of digital techniques in spectrophotometry, and the use of computers at Perkin-Elmer.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Research files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of five files. These files contain research notes created by Savitzky between 1959 and 1967.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Data files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of three files. These files contain collected research data including synthetic spectrum, a cassette recording, and a miscellany file of data.
This series contains Abraham Savitzky's Correspondence files. Arranged chronologically by date, this series consists of one box of five files. The contents of these files consist of general correspondence between Savitzky and other individuals between 1955 and 1983.