Lloyd H. Conover 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
Lloyd H. Conover was a prominent American chemist, pharmaceutical industry executive, and inventor. Born in Orange, New Jersey on June 13, 1923, Conover became interested in chemistry at a young age. He entered Amherst College to study chemistry in 1941, but interrupted his education to serve in the United States Navy during World War II. In the Navy, he served on a tank landing ship (LST) in the Pacific Theatre and rose to the rank of lieutenant junior grade. After the war, Conover returned to Amherst and earned his B.S. in Chemistry in 1947. He furthered his education by earning his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester in 1950.
Conover went to work in the pharmaceutical industry in 1950 when he accepted a research chemist position with Charles Pfizer & Company, Incorporated (later renamed Pfizer, Incorporated), where he went on to enjoy a distinguished thirty-four career. Soon after his arrival at Pfizer, Conover was assigned to a team studying the molecular structure of the antibiotics terramycin and aureomycin. Working with Harvard University chemist (and future Nobel Prize winner) Robert Burns Woodward, the team realized that these antibiotics could be chemically altered to produce new forms of antibiotics.
In 1952, Conover chemically altered the aureomycin molecule by stripping it of chlorine and replacing it with hydrogen. The end result was tetracycline, an antibiotic that was more potent than the drug from which it was derived. Patented in 1955, tetracycline proved effective against numerous infections, including, but not limited to, salmonella, gonorrhea, and pneumonia. For a number of years, it was one of the most effective and widely prescribed antibiotics in the world.
After its initial discovery, Conover continued his research on tetracycline. Working with Robert Burns Woodward, he achieved total synthesis of this drug in 1962. He also rose through Pfizer's corporate hierarchy, serving as Group Supervisor (1958-1961), Section Manager (1961-1966), Assistant Director of Chemotherapeutic Research (1966-1968), and Director of Chemical Research - Chemotherapy (1968-1971).
In 1971, Conover was transferred to Pfizer's subsidiary Pfizer Limited, which was based in Sandwich, England. Serving as Research Director of Medicinal Products Research & Development (1971-1972) and Vice President of Medicinal Products Research & Development (1972-1975), he successfully guided Pfizer Limited through difficult times and made it a more productive operation. Conover returned to the United States in 1975 and subsequently served as Pfizer's Vice President of Agricultural Products Research & Development (1975-1981) and Senior Vice President of Agricultural Products Research & Development (1981-1984). He retired from Pfizer, Incorporated in 1984.
A productive inventor, Conover was awarded over two hundred patents in the United States and abroad, including those for tetracycline (1955), pyrantel (1972), and morantel (1972). Conover also received several awards for his work in chemistry, including the Eli Whitney Award (1983) and the Third Century Award (1990). Conover was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1992 and was an active member of several scientific organizations, including the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Lloyd H. Conover passed away on March 11, 2017.
Lloyd H. Conover Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Lloyd H. Conover Papers contain the personal papers of Lloyd H. Conover. The collection is arranged into the following ten series:
- Pfizer, Incorporated Files
- Tetracycline Files
- Tetracycline Litigation Files
- Patent Files
- Personal Files
- Robert Burns Woodward Files
- Papers and Speeches
- Printed Materials
- Audio-Visual Materials
- Photographic Materials
The Lloyd H. Conover Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Lloyd H. Conover in November 2012.
The Lloyd H. Conover Papers were processed by Andrew Mangravite in March 2017. The addenda to the Lloyd H. Conover Papers (Series I, III-V, VII-X) was processed by Kenton G. Jaehnig in September 2018.
- 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 Lloyd H. Conover Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series contains files documenting Lloyd H. Conover's career with Pfizer, Incorporated and its corporate predecessor Charles Pfizer & Company, Incorporated. These files primarily document his Pfizer activities between the 1960s and 1980s. A small amount of materials documenting his activities with Pfizer during the 1950s and a small amount of materials produced by Conover after his retirement are also found here.
The contents of the Pfizer, Incorporated Files consist of a variety of materials. Speech manuscripts, memoranda, correspondence, notes, and presentation handouts are the most common materials in this series. A noticeable amount of reports, notes, magazine articles, and newspaper articles are also present in this series. Small amounts of press releases, charts, and photographs are preserved here as well.
Contains 3 black and white images.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of files documenting Lloyd H. Conover's invention and development of the antibiotic tetracycline. A majority of the materials in this series were created years after his work on tetracycline. A noticeable amount of materials created at the time of Conover's work on tetracycline (1950s and early 1960s) are also present here.
The contents of the Tetracycline Files consist of a variety of materials. Article reprints, photocopied articles, correspondence, and paper manuscripts are the most common materials found in this series. Reports, web page printouts, meeting minutes, notes, and photocopied overhead slides are also present in this series. Photocopied book chapters, speech manuscripts, publications, and a patent are preserved here as well.
Conservation work performed by Sarah Dove in 1999.
Between 1956 and 1982, tetracycline was the subject of extensive and long running litigation, particularly in the United States. Shortly after the patent for tetracycline was assigned to Charles Pfizer & Company, Incorporated, several pharmaceutical companies, including American Cynamid Company, challenged it on the grounds that their own scientists had discovered tetracycline before Lloyd H. Conover, even though they filed their patent applications after his. In response to this, Pfizer licensed tetracycline to its competitors. Beginning in 1958, the United States government challenged both the licensing agreement and the validity of the tetracycline patent. The legality of the tetracycline licensing agreement between Pfizer and its competitors was affirmed in 1976. The validity of Pfizer's tetracycline patent was affirmed in 1982. Over the course of the legal proceedings, Conover was frequently called upon to serve as an expert witness.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series contains Lloyd H. Conover's legal files pertaining to the tetracycline litigation. The files in this series primarily document tetracycline litigation in the United States as it played out before the Federal Trade Commission and various federal courts. A small amount of material regarding tetracycline legislation in the United Kingdom is also present in this series. To a limited extent, Conover's personal involvement in the tetracycline litigation is documented here as well.
Legal documents constitute the largest portion of the materials in the Tetracycline Litigation Files. Smaller amounts of correspondence, testimony transcripts, court reporter pages, notes, and magazine articles are also found in this series. A report and a questionnaire are found here as well.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series contains Lloyd H. Conover's patent files. These files pertain to inventions conceived and developed by Conover for Pfizer, Incorporated and its corporate predecessor Charles Pfizer & Company, Incorporated. The materials in the Patent Files contain technical information for the represented inventions. To a very limited extent, they also provide information regarding legal issues associated with Conover's patents. From the Patent Files, one can also gain insights into the conception, research, and development work involved in bringing the represented inventions into being.
The contents of the Patent Files consist mainly of printed copies of patents and photocopied patents. A small amount of correspondence, photocopied certificates of correction, patent lists, and magazine articles are also found in this series. A publication, a paper manuscript, and a CD-ROM (featuring a digital image of the original tetracycline patent) are preserved here as well.
Contains 1 CD-ROM.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series contains Lloyd H. Conover's personal files. A majority of the files in this series concern various subjects that were of personal interest to Conover. A noticeable number of files concerning Conover himself are also found here.
The contents of the Personal Files consist of a variety of materials. Correspondence, notes, interview transcripts, and magazine articles are the most common materials found in this series. Paper and speech manuscripts, web page printouts, newspaper articles, copies of book chapters, and article reprints are also found this series. Article proofs, certificates, resumes, and copies of presentation slides are also present in the Personal Files. A bound copy of Conover's University of Rochester Ph.D. thesis, Thiazole Analogs of Pyridoxine, is preserved here as well.
Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979) was a prominent American organic chemist, and a friend and collaborator of Lloyd H. Conover. He was best known for his work in the synthesis of complex natural products and the determination of their molecular structure. Woodward and Conover collaborated in determining the molecular structure of terramycin and aureomycin during the early 1950s. The two men also worked together in achieving total synthesis of tetracycline in 1962. Woodward later went on to win a number of prestigious science awards, including the National Medal of Science (1964), the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1965), and the Copley Medal (1978).
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of materials pertaining to the life and career of Robert Burns Woodward. Most of the materials in this series were written about Woodward by others. A small amount of materials written by Woodward himself are also preserved here.
The contents of the Robert Burns Woodward Files consist of a variety of materials. Magazine articles, journal articles, and papers are the most common materials found in this series. A noticeable amount of publications, periodicals (featuring articles about Woodward), article reprints, and reports are also present in the Robert Burns Woodward Files. Small amounts of copies of book chapters, press releases, notes, copies of presentation slides, and correspondence are preserved here as well.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series contains papers and speeches written and presented by Lloyd H. Conover. The papers and speeches represented in these files were presented at professional conferences and social functions.
The materials preserved in the Papers and Speeches provide documentation of research conducted by Conover over the course of his career. This series also provides written documentation of Conover's professional and social outreach activities.
Typed manuscripts make up the bulk of the materials in this series. A noticeable amount of handwritten manuscripts are also found in the Papers and Speeches. Small amounts of various accompanying materials, including notes, correspondence, copies of presentation slides, photographic slides, magazine articles, journal articles, and newspaper articles are preserved here as well.
Contains 3 color slides.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series contains printed materials collected by Lloyd H. Conover. A large majority of the materials have some connection to Conover, either being written by him or written about him. The materials in this series that do not concern Conover in some way pertain to subjects that were of interest to him, including, but not limited to, tetracycline and Pfizer, Incorporated.
The Printed Materials series consists of a variety of materials. Magazine articles, journal articles, article reprints, periodicals, and publications are the most common materials found in this series. Smaller amounts of newspaper articles, papers, newsletters, and press releases are preserved here as well.
Arranged alphabetically by format, this series contains audio-visual materials collected by Lloyd H. Conover. One copy of the Pfizer-produced 33 1/3 RPM phonograph record Pfizer, 5 x 5, Surpassing $500 Million Sales During 1965, is found in this series. Two VHS videotapes of the 1992 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which feature footage of Conover's induction into the hall, are preserved here as well.
Arranged alphabetically by format and by subject, this series contains Lloyd H. Conover's photographic materials. Two photo albums, documenting Conover's stint at Pfizer Limited in Sandwich, England and his retirement party respectively, are preserved in this series. A few photograph files containing images of Conover himself are also in this series. Photograph files containing images of Pfizer International Agricultural Director Meetings and a single image of Conover's friend and collaborator Robert Burns Woodward are also present here.
Color photographs and black and white photographs make up the bulk of the materials found in this series. A small amount of miscellaneous materials accompanying the photographs, including correspondence, memoranda, printed materials, photocopied drawings, and press releases are also present in this series. A single black and white photo slide is preserved here as well.
Note – Item level cataloging may be available, consult Image Archives.
Contains 30 black and white images.
Contains 196 color images.
Contains 6 black and white images and 1 black and white slide.
Contains 2 black and white images.
Contains 3 black and white images.
Contains 1 color image.
Contains 2 black and white images.
Contains 1 black and white image.