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Edward G. Mazurs Collection of Periodic Systems Images


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

Edward G. Mazurs (1894-1983) was born in Latvia and received his Master's degree in Chemistry from the University of Riga, where he served as a professor from 1919 to 1940. Following the 1944 Soviet occupation of Latvia, Mazurs and his family fled to a refugee camp in Regensberg, Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1949. The family settled in Chicago, where Mazurs initially worked as a janitor at Argo Corn Products before assuming the position of chemist at the company. Mazurs retired from Argo Corn in 1959 and relocated to Santa Barbara, where he returned to teaching as a chemistry professor at Westmont College.

Mazurs self-published his seminal work, Types of Graphic Representation of the Periodic System of Chemical Elements , in 1957; a revised "centenary" edition was published by the University of Alabama Press under the title Graphic Representations of the Periodic System During One Hundred Years in 1974. In these works, Mazurs provided a definitive review of the many versions of the periodic table in world literature, including illustrations and references for over 700 tables and classifications of approximately 140 types. In addition, Mazurs' work notably re-asserted the idea of the eight-period table, also known as the left-step table, originated by Charles Janet in 1928 and promoted as the model that best expressed the relationships among the elements.

For a more detailed inventory, please view this record in our online library catalog:

This collection predominately consists of lantern slides and transparencies of models of the periodic table used by Mazurs in the production of Types of Graphic Representation of the Periodic System of Chemical Elements (1957). The collection includes designs by Dmitrii Mendeleev, Edward Janet, and other notables, as well as Mazurs himself, and effectively provides a panorama of the evolution of the periodic table in the one hundred years following Mendeleev's initial 1869 design. Alternative layouts for the table include circular, cylindrical, pyramidal, spiral, and triangular forms ranging in date from the 1860s to the 1950s, with the bulk of the images dating from the 1880s to the 1920s. The collection also includes copies of portraits of several notable chemists, including Mendeleev, Janet, and Jean Baptiste Andre Dumas. The materials are generally arranged in the order in which the images appear as illustrations in Mazurs' monograph, which the exception of the portraits and a set of 35mm slides, which are both housed in box 3.

Donation recieved via Cory Thomas, the archivist for Westmont College. Westmont held Mazurs' collection from when he taught as a chemistry professor there.

Separated from the Edward G. Mazurs Collection of Periodic Systems, 1782-1974; Gift of Westmon College, 2008.

Processed by Amanda Antonucci in 2009. Object identification numbers were assigned to individual slides and transparences.

Science History Institute Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid created by Hillary S. Kativa and encoded into EAD by Melanie Grear.
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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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