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Joseph F. Bunnett Papers

Identifier: 1997-01

Scope and Content

The Joseph F. Bunnett Papers contain the professional files of American chemist and chemistry professor Joseph F. Bunnett. The materials preserved in this collection primarily document Bunnett's editorship of the scientific journal Accounts of Chemical Research. The collection is arranged into the following two series:

  1. Accounts of Chemical Research Files
  2. Miscellaneous


  • Creation: 1960-1995
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1967-1986


Language of Materials

Collection materials are mostly in English. A small amount of materials in French, Japanese, German, Spanish, and Chinese are also in this collection.

Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Joseph F. Bunnett Papers with the exception of the following item:

In Series II, Joseph F. Bunnett retains copyright for the Chemistry 8B class outline.

The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

Joseph F. Bunnett was an American chemist and chemistry professor. Born in Portland, Oregon on November 26, 1921, Bunnett earned his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Reed College (1942), and his Ph.D in Organic Chemistry from the University of Rochester (1945). After obtaining his doctorate, he initially worked as a Research Chemist for Western Pine Association (1945-1946), then moved to academia and taught chemistry at Reed College (1946-1952), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1952-1958), and Brown University (1958-1966).

In 1966, Bunnett joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the newly-established University of California, Santa Cruz, where he enjoyed a distinguished career. At UC Santa Cruz, he conducted research on the kinetics, equilibria, and mechanisms of organic chemical reactions, for which he was internationally respected. He also had a strong scientific interest in the detection and destruction of chemical warfare agents.

During his tenure at UC Santa Cruz, Bunnett served as Founding Editor of the scientific journal Accounts of Chemical Research. Founded in 1966, this journal featured short, concise, and critical articles that offered easy-to-read overviews of basic research in all areas of chemistry. Under Bunnett's editorship (1966-1986), Accounts of Chemical Research grew into a prestigious journal with a wide readership within the scientific community.

Bunnett retired from UC Santa Cruz as Professor Emeritus of Chemistry in 1991, but remained active in the scientific community for a number of years. During the 1990s, he turned his attention to the destruction of chemical weapons. From 1991 to 1995, Bunnett served as Chairman of the IUPAC Committee on Chemical Weapons Destruction Technologies. He also served on committees of a number of other national and international bodies concerned with this issue, including the United States Department of Defense and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Over the course of his scientific career, Bunnett received numerous honors for his contributions to chemistry, including two Fulbright Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 1992 James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry.

Joseph F. Bunnett passed away on May 22, 2015.


Joseph F. Bunnett Papers, Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


8.4 Linear Feet (8 Boxes (5 Record Boxes, 2 Hollinger Boxes, and 1 Half-Hollinger Box).)


Professional files of American chemist and chemistry professor Joseph F. Bunnett, which primarily document his editorship of the scientific journal Accounts of Chemical Research.

Acquisition Information

The Joseph F. Bunnett Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Joseph F. Bunnett in two accessions: January 1997 and October 2001.

Related Materials

There is one other known Joseph F. Bunnett collection preserved at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

Processing Information

The Joseph F. Bunnett Papers were processed by Kenton G. Jaehnig in July 2015.

Finding Aid to the Joseph F. Bunnett Papers
Finding aid created and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

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