Main content

R.E. Marker collected 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

Russell Earl Marker was born on March 12, 1902 in Hagerstown MD. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Maryland in 1923 and his M.S. in physical chemistry in 1924. He went to work for the Naval Powder Factory in Indian Head, MD but moved to New York in 1926 to work at the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation in Yonkers. While there he invented the octane rating system for gasoline and his work so impressed Simon Flexner, President of the Rockefeller Institute in New York City that he hired Marker to do chemical syntheses for its researchers. He left Rockefeller Institute in 1934 to take up a position in the chemistry department of Pennsylvania State University where he was free to pursue his own research into hormones. Here he synthesized progesterone, sarsaspogenin and diosgenin. When he failed to find American backers for his work he set up shop in Mexico City, and March, 1944, in partnership with Emeric Somlo and Frederico Lehmann, founded Syntex. The partnership did not work out and, in 1945, Marker left to found another company, Botanica-Mex. In 1949 he left Botanica-Mex as well to start an entirely new career crafting reproductions of 18th-century silver objects. He died in Mexico City on March 3, 1995.

The collection is complete and includes his ground-breaking reprints of the syntheses of progesterone and diosgenin.

This is a bound collection of Russell Marker' series of papers on Sterols, as they appeared in the pages of the Journal of the American Chemistry Society. The papers were collected by Ralph I. Dorfman, and were housed in the Roche/Syntex library, since closed.

Source of acquisition--Al Holstein. Method of acquisition--Gift;.

Science History Institute Archives

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest