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Witco Stamp Collection


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

Richard M. Lawrence, an analytical chemist and market researcher, created the Witco stamp collection over a forty year period. He displayed the Witco Stamp collection at ACS national meetings from 1961 until 1983. Eventually, the Witco Chemical Corporation purchased the collection. In 1999, Witco Chemical Corporation merged with Crompton and Knowles and quickly became the Crompton Corporation. This collection is also known as "The World of Chemistry in Stamps."

Dating from 1910 through 1983, this collection consists of postage stamps, proofs, first day covers, commemorative envelopes and postmarked envelopes organized into seven binders. Arranged by subject, the collection includes stamps from over 90 countries, many of which include full color artwork with scientific imagery or portraits of featured scientists. Symbols of chemistry are depicted in the collection, such as molecules, the metric system and the Benzene Ring. Early Alchemy is also represented, including images of Avicenna the Alchemist, thought to be the first Alchemist. Additionally, the collection includes portraits of notable scientists, such as George Washington Carver and Louis Pasteur, as well as several Nobel Prize laureates including Marie and Pierre Curie and Albert Einstein. Also of note, several panels are dedicated to Senator Brien McMahon, an advocate for the safe use of atomic energy. Topics in related sciences are also covered, including atomic energy, education, chemical industries, energy conservation, the worldwide petroleum industry, botanical and mineral drugs. (For an inventory of all subjects included, please see Container List). The stamps and other media are organized on numbered panels with the original order of the collection maintained. The quantity of media on each panel varies and the collection includes some full sheets of stamps, which are treated as individual panels. All other media is mounted and affixed to album panels individually. Typewritten notes identifying individual stamps or subjects accompany many of the panels and it is assumed that the collection's creator, Richard M. Lawrence, provided this information.

Compiled by Richard M. Lawrence, an analytical chemist and market researcher for the Crompton Corporation, a former chemical research company headquartered in Connecticut

Selected items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in our Digital Collections:

Gift of the Crompton Corporation, 2003.

Processed by Peter Egolf in 2008. Object identification numbers were assigned to album panels not to individual stamps.

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Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.

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