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Joseph S. Schmuckler Papers

Identifier: 2005-073-001

Scope and Content

The Joseph S. Schmuckler Papers contain the personal papers of American chemistry teacher and chemist Joseph S. Schmuckler. This collection deals chiefly with a program, the CHEM Study Project, for teaching chemistry to secondary school students. There is also correspondence and other supporting material. The collection is arranged into the following five series:

  1. The CHEM Study Project
  2. On the Teaching of Chemistry
  3. Correspondence
  4. Professional Documents
  5. Addenda


  • Creation: 1940-2007
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960-1980


Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials.

Copyright Information

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

Background Note

Joseph Seymour Schmuckler was born in 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was imbued at an early age with the notion of teaching as an honorable profession. Upon graduation from Roxborough High School in Philadelphia, in the middle of World War II, he enlisted in the newly formed U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, Schmuckler decided to further his education, enrolling in the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Schmuckler earned a B.S. in 1952 and an M.S. in 1954.

Upon graduation, Schmuckler accepted a teaching position at Haverford High School in Haverford, Pennsylvania, supplementing his teacher’s salary by summer work at Sun Oil Company and work as a consulting chemist for Sadtler Research Laboratories. An early and enthusiastic supporter of the experimental CHEMS (Chemical Education Material Study) Program for the teaching of high school chemistry, Joseph Schmuckler became one of the first high school teachers accepted to full membership in the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Education Division, a division he would one day serve as its president. His involvement in ACS activities led to a lasting friendship with the future Nobel laureate Alan G. MacDiarmid, who encouraged Schmuckler to seek his Ph.D. and served as his dissertation advisor. Schmuckler was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968.

In 1968, Schmuckler left Haverford High School to accept a position at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where for many years he held a dual professorship as both Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Education. In 1971, he began the first of many trips to mainland China, becoming affiliated with Tianjin Normal University, which granted him an Honorary Professorship in Chemical Education. Serving as both educator and goodwill ambassador, Schmuckler was instrumental in bringing many talented Chinese chemists to the United States.

Among the many awards that Schmuckler received are Outstanding Science Teacher in the State of Pennsylvania (1963, 1967), the Benjamin Rush Award (1968), the James Bryant Conant Award (1969), the George Washington Carver Award (1986) and Temple University’s “Great Teacher Award” (1989).

Schmuckler’s approach to education has always been an activist “hands on” one. An unapologetic supporter of classroom demonstrations, he is a recognized authority in the training of secondary school teachers of chemistry and played a major role in the development of the Inquiry/Discovery Matrix as a teaching tool. Joseph S. Schmuckler passed away on December 26, 2011.


Alnsworth, Susan J. “Joseph S. Schmuckler.” Chemical and Engineering News, March 12, 2012.

Joseph S. Schmuckler Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


7.5 Linear Feet (16 boxes.)

Language of Materials




Correspondence, textbooks, teaching guides, laboratory manuals, newsletters, and vita belonging to American chemistry teacher and chemist Joseph S. Schmuckler.

Acquisition Information

The Joseph S. Schmuckler Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Joseph S. Schmuckler in two accretions: in 2005 and 2009.

Related Materials

There are four related archival collections preserved at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Papers of Alfred R. Armstrong; Papers of Anthony Neidig; Papers of Laurence Strong; and Papers of Marco H. Scheer.

Processing Information

The Joseph S. Schmuckler Papers were processed by Andrew Mangravite in 2009 and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher in 2021.

Joseph S. Schmuckler Papers
The Joseph S. Schmuckler Papers were processed by Andrew Mangravite and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021: 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)