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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.
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Myron S. Simon
Myron S. Simon (1926-2022) was an American chemist and a specialist in instant color photography processes. Born in Burlington, Vermont in 1926, Simon was educated at Harvard University, where he earned his bachelor's degree (1946), master's degree (1948), and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (1949). At Harvard, he studied with many notable chemists, including Paul D. Bartlett and Gilbert Stork. He completed his Ph.D. research under Robert Burns Woodward.
Upon completing his studies at Harvard, Simon went to work as a research scientist at Polaroid Corporation in 1949, where he went on to enjoy a distinguished thirty-nine year career. At Polaroid, he became a noted specialist in instant color photography. Simon produced the first effective cyan dye developer. Under the direction of Stanley Bloom, he worked on the opacification process, which was an essential step in the development of Polaroid's SX-70 instant color photography system. He also developed the "Chemical Curtain", which protects SX-70 photographs while they are developing in light.
Simon rose through the ranks of Polaroid's research hierarchy, eventually becoming Research Fellow and Associate Director of Organic Chemistry. Over the course of his career with Polaroid, he was awarded over seventy patents in the field of instant color photography. Simon retired from Polaroid Corporation in 1988.
In addition to his work at Polaroid, Simon was the founder of Image-Imation Associates and served as a consultant through 1996. He was also an active member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), becoming chairman of ACS' Northeastern Section in 1985. In this capacity, he sponsored Glenn Seaborg's proposal to end nuclear testing. Simon also served on numerous ACS committees and was co-editor of NUCLEUS.
Myron S. Simon passed away on May 23, 2022.
Polaroid Corporation was an American photography firm. Founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land, it was long synonymous with instant photography. Polaroid introduced its first instant camera, the Model 95 Land Camera, in 1948. The success of this camera prompted the company to further develop instant photography technology over the next several decades. Initially confined to black and white images only, the corporation worked long years to perfect instant color photography. It succeeded with its SX-70 System, which debuted in 1972.
Polaroid successfully defended itself against arch-rival Eastman Kodak's attempts to market their own instant color photography system in a 1986 court case. Unfortunately, the corporation's hierarchy remained indifferent to the growing popularity of digital photography. The failure to move aggressively into this growing new field led to a steady erosion of profits, causing Polaroid to declare bankruptcy in 2001.
After Polaroid declared bankruptcy, most of the firm's assets were acquired by Polaroid Holding Company (PHC). PHC licensed the use of the Polaroid name to other companies for use on a number of products. Flextronic Limited, the purchaser of Polaroid's former manufacturing facilities, ceased production of Polaroid instant cameras in 2007 and discontinued sales of Polaroid film in 2009. Polaroid Holding Company declared bankruptcy in 2008. It subsequently ended up under the control of PLR IP Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm.
In 2017, the brand and intellectual property of Polaroid Corporation were acquired by Polish investor Wiacezlaw Smolokowski. Smolokowski was the largest shareholder of the Impossible Project, a manufacturer of Polaroid compatible film. The Impossible Project was renamed Polaroid Originals in 2017. This firm currently markets instant cameras, instant film, and other products under the Polaroid name.
Papers of Myron S. Simon, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Polaroid Corporation Records, Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts - https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/11/resources/619.
Polaroid Originals Website - https://us.polaroid.com/.
The Papers of Myron S. Simon contain the personal and professional papers of American chemist and instant color photography specialist Myron S. Simon. The materials in this collection document his career with Polaroid Corporation. The collection is arranged into the following ten series:
- Technical Notes
- Research Notes
- Meetings with Sir Derek Barton
- Patents & Reprints
- Polaroid Company Reports
- Company Seminars and Meetings
- Conference Notes
- Correspondence & Files on Colleagues
The Papers of Myron S. Simon were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Myron S. Simon in 2007.
The Papers of Myron S. Simon were processed by Andrew Mangravite in April 2008.
- Science History Institute Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid created by Andrew Mangravite and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig.
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.
- Use Restrictions
The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Papers of Myron S. Simon. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
Arranged chronologically by year, this series contains Myron S. Simon's technical notes. These files provide technical information regarding various subjects that were of interest to Simon during his career at Polaroid Corporation. Technical notes make up the bulk of the materials in this series. A few accompanying materials, including reprints and spectra, are also present here.
Arranged chronologically by year, this series contains Myron S. Simon's research notes. These files provide documentation of research conducted by Simon during his career at Polaroid Corporation. Of particular interest are the files concerning opacification, which was an essential step in the development of Polaroid's SX-70 instant color photography system.
Research notes make up the bulk of the materials in this series. A few accompanying materials, including patents and lecture overheads, are also preserved here.
Arranged chronologically by year, this series consists of eight notebooks kept by Myron S. Simon while employed by Polaroid Corporation between 1965 and 1988. Three of the notebooks document research conducted by Simon at Polaroid. Five of the notebooks provide documentation of conferences and symposia attended by Simon.
See also Box 27 Folder 2.
See also Box 27 Folder 5.
See also Box 26 Folder 2.
Arranged chronologically by year, this series contains Myron S. Simon's memo files. Its contents consist of seven ring binders of memos, which were collected and maintained by Simon at Polaroid Corporation between 1978 and 1985.
Arranged chronologically by year, this series contains files documenting Myron S. Simon's meetings with Sir Derek Barton, an English organic chemist and co-recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Barton served as a consultant to Polaroid Corporation. He also participated in Polaroid company seminars, in which notable chemists, including several Nobel laureates, addressed employees.
Notes and memoranda make up the bulk of the materials in this series. A variety of other miscellaneous materials, including correspondence and transcripts, are preserved in this series as well.
This series contains Myron S. Simon's patent files and reprint files. The contents of this series are arranged into the following two sub-series:
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of Myron S. Simon's patent files. These files provide documentation of patents applied for by and awarded to Simon and Polaroid Corporation.
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of Myron S. Simon's reprints files. These files primarily regard articles and papers authored and co-authored by Simon. A small amount of materials regarding articles and papers written by other chemists are also found here.
Reprints make up the bulk of the materials preserved in this sub-subseries. Small amounts of accompanying materials, including correspondence, drafts, and preprints, are preserved in this sub-series as well.
Arranged in its original order, this series consists of Polaroid company reports collected and maintained by Myron S. Simon. Its contents consist of summary reports and reports concerning specific subjects that were of interest to Simon. Many of the reports in this series are stored in binders.
Arranged in its original order, this series consists of Myron S. Simon's company seminars and meetings files. These files document various Polaroid company meetings and seminars that Simon participated in. Of particular interest are the files concerning Polaroid company seminars, in which notable chemists, including several Nobel laureates, addressed employees. Meeting notes make up the bulk of the materials in this series.
Arranged chronologically by year, this series contains Myron S. Simon's conference files. These files document several conferences and symposia that Simon participated in between 1961 and 1988.
Notes make up the bulk of the materials in this series. A variety of other miscellaneous materials, including, but not limited to, reports, abstracts, photographs, and a paper presented by Simon are preserved in this series as well.
See also Box 7 Folder 8.
See also Box 7 Folder 5.
See also Box 7 Folder 6.
See also Box 7 Folder 7.
Arranged in its original order, this series contains Myron S. Simon's correspondence files. Five of the files in this series concern a handful of Simon's colleagues. Two of the files contain correspondence of a more general nature.
The contents of the files in this series consist mainly of correspondence. Small amounts of a variety of other miscellaneous materials, including reprints, obituaries, a magazine article, speeches, and a notebook, are preserved here as well.