James Curtis Booth Letters and Notes 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
James Curtis Booth was born on July 28, 1810 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Booth attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry in 1829. He then continued his studies in chemistry at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York from 1831 to 1832. Between 1833 and 1835, he spent time working in Germany under the tutelages of German chemists Friedrich Wöhler and Heinrich Gustav Magnus, in addition to attending lectures and visiting manufacturing facilities in England.
Upon returning to the United States, Booth opened his own chemistry laboratory in Philadelphia and assisted in the Genealogical Survey of Pennsylvania. From 1837 to 1838, he served as head of the Genealogical Survey, and became a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1839. Meanwhile, his own chemistry laboratory gained a reputation for its ability to instruct its chemists in chemical analysis.
In 1849, Booth was appointed melter and refiner at the United States Mint in Philadelphia, a position that he held until his retirement in 1887. He was also appointed as a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 1850, where he worked part-time. Booth published several works over the course of his career, including the Encyclopedia of Chemistry in 1850, which he co-authored with former pupil and colleague Campbell Morfit. He was conferred a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Lewisburg in 1867 and received his doctoral degree from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1884. He also served as president of the American Chemical Society from 1883 to 1884.
James Curtis Booth passed away on March 21, 1888. Sources
James Curtis Booth Letters and Notes Collection, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The James Curtis Booth Letters and Notes Collection includes a total of sixteen manuscript pages, nine autographed letters or signed notes, three calling cards, an enclosure card, and a small chromolithographic greeting card. The letters were previously all enclosed in an embossed and decorated stationary box featuring a color illustration of a young woman set against a pastoral landscape, which has also been preserved in the collection.
Most of the collection is comprised of letters and notes addressed to Margaret Martinez Cardeza from 1853 in regard to her marriage to American chemist James Curtis Booth. Correspondents to Cardeza include Ellen W. Lardner, Susan M. Nicklin, Elizabeth M. Rush, Emily Sinkler, M. Head, Mrs. T.J. Wharton, Margarita Scull de Pedroso, and José de Pedroso. Also included in the collection is a letter addressed to Booth from his former pupil and colleague, Campbell Morfit, from November 17, 1853, in which Morfit apologizes for his absence at Booth and Cardeza's wedding.
Also included in the collection is a letter from 1869 with text written in French presumably written by a man to a woman, as well as a letter from December 25, 1878 addressed to Booth and Cardeza from "Jas. C. Booth" informing the couple that the writer has written a polka dedicated to them. There is also a single paper with text in English containing a detailed description of the contents of the collection with some biographical information about Booth.
The James Curtis Booth Letters and Notes Collection was purchased by the Science History Institute in March 2021.
- American Chemical Society
- American Philosophical Society
- United States Mint
- University of Pennsylvania. Department of Chemistry
- Science History Institute Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid created and encoded into EAD by Sean Cureton.
- 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 James Curtis Booth Letters and Notes Collection. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.