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Abraham Savitzky Papers

Identifier: 1999-011

Scope and Content

The Abraham Savitzky Papers contain the personal papers of Abraham Savitzky. The collection is arranged into the following nine series:

  1. Honors
  2. Presentations
  3. Manuscripts
  4. Patents
  5. Projects
  6. Reports
  7. Research
  8. Data
  9. Correspondence


  • Creation: 1949-1989


Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Abraham Savitzky Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

Abraham Savitzky was an American analytical chemist. Savitzky was born on May 29, 1919 in New York, New York. He received his bachelor’s degree from the New York State College for Teachers (now University at Albany, SUNY) in 1941. During World War II, Savitzky served in the United States Air Force. Following the war, he obtained his master’s degree (1947) and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Columbia University respectively. In 1950, after working at Columbia for a year as a research associate in electron microscopy, he began a long career with Perkin-Elmer Corporation.

Savitzky started with Perkin-Elmer as a staff scientist who was chiefly concerned with design and development of infrared instruments. He rapidly moved up the ranks in the corporation. By 1956, he was named Perkin-Elmer’s New Product Coordinator for the Instrument Division, and as the years passed, he continued to gain more and more recognition for his work in the company. Most of his work with Perkin-Elmer focused on computer-aided analytical chemistry, data reduction, infrared spectroscopy, time-sharing systems, and computer plotting. He retired from Perkin-Elmer in 1985.

While working a full-time job at Perkin-Elmer, Savitzky also managed to concurrently work on other committees and projects. He served on the National Resource Council Evaluation Panel on Atomic and Molecular Physics from 1970 to 1972. Savitzky was also the Director of the Time Share Peripherals Corporation from 1970 to 1977 and served as a representative for the Science Apparatus Makers Association from 1972 to 1980. Following his retirement from Perkin-Elmer Corporation, Savitzky became the President of Silvermine Resources, Incorporated, where he remained for several years.

Abraham Savitzky was awarded seven U.S. Patents pertaining to computerization and chemical apparatus. During his long career, he presented numerous papers, and wrote several manuscripts, including “Smoothing and Differentiation of Data by Simplified Least Squares Procedures”. This paper, which is the collaborative effort of Savitzky and Marcel J. E. Golay, describes the Savitzky-Golay Smoothing Filter for digital filtering. Their paper was published in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 36, in July 1964. It is one of the most famous, respected, and heavily cited articles in its field.

In recognition of his many significant accomplishments in the field of analytical chemistry and computer science, Savitzky received the Society of Applied Spectroscopy Award in 1983, and the Williams-Wright Award from the Coblentz Society in 1986. Savitzky was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Physics Society, the Optical Society of America, and many other professional organizations. Abraham Savitzky died on February 5, 1999 in Naples, Florida.


Abraham Savitzky Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


2.75 Linear Feet (6 boxes.)

Language of Materials



Research files, manuscripts, correspondence, patents, reports, data, presentations, and publications belonging to American analytical chemist Abraham Savitzky.

Acquisition Information

The Abraham Savitzky Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Evelyn Savitzky in 1999.

Related Materials

There are no other known archival collections created by Abraham Savitzky at the date of processing.

Processing Information

The Abraham Savitzky Papers were processed by Kristen Clark in 2001 and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher in 2020.

Abraham Savitzky Papers
Finding aid created by Kristen Clark and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Revised by Samantha Brigher.

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19106 United States
215.873.5265 (Fax)