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Robert E. Holeton papers

1933-1962
 Collection
Accession: 2763

Abstract

Robert E. Holeton (1911-1962) was an organic chemist at the DuPont Company from 1933 to 1962. He was the District Manager of the Petroleum Chemicals Division from 1954 until his death. From 1947 to 1953, Holeton perfomed "Chemical Magic" shows with a colleague in which they would demonstrate the unusual chemical reactions that can occur in the laboratory. These demonstrations were intentended to promote industrial safety. This small collection of Holeton's papers provides insight into his career as an industrial chemist, and then later as a sales represenative and district manager of the Petroleum Chemical Division. The collection strengths are the documentation related to industrial safety and Holeton's work performing the "Chemical Magic" shows and his time working at the Petroleum Chemical Division. There is a small but interesting set of material related to the Woodstown Civil Defense Council.

Dates

  • 1933-1962

Creator

Extent

.5 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Robert E. Holeton (1911-1962) was an organic chemist at the DuPont Company from 1933 to 1962. He was the District Manager of the Petroleum Chemicals Division from 1954 until his death.

He initially studied medicine, graduating from Nashville Agriculture and Normal Instutite in 1933. That same year, he began work at the Eastern Laboratory as a chemist, then shortly after worked at the Jackson Laboratory. In 1943 he received his degree in organic chemistry from Temple Universtiy.

While at the Jackson Laboratory Holeton worked on azo dye research, hair dyes, and Luxol colors. Later he worked at the Chamberworks Laboratory and developed a process for purifying perflurocarbons; developing a procedure for film protecting reduced indigo grains against oxidation until water dissolved; developed a method for refining fluorides; and Holeton invented the first known foggle-goggle clothes used to keep glasses fog-free.

In 1947, Holeton started performing "Chemical Magic" shows with Harold Woodward (1888-1988). Woodward was a research chemist at Jackson Laboratory and an azo dye expert. He worked at the DuPont Company from 1918 to 1953. Around 1933 Woodward started performing "Chemical Magic" shows in which he would demonstrate the unusual chemical reactions that can occur in the laboratory. These demonstrations were intended to promote industrial safety. Woodward and Holeton performed these shows for DuPont Company employees, as well as local schools and service clubs.

In 1949 Holeton was transferred to the Petroleum Chemicals Division, he was a sales-service representative in the Division's Eastern Region. In 1953 Woodward retired and in 1954 Holeton was promoted to Seattle District Manager. After Holeton was transferred to Seattle he no longer performed the "Chemical Magic" shows, however, they did continue into the 1960s and were performed at the 1964 New Yok World's Fair.

As District Manager in Seattle, Holeton had many speaking engagements, the topics were primarily related to sales and petroleum oil.

Holeton died unexpectedly while on vacation in 1962.

Scope and Contents

This small collection of Holeton's papers provides insight into his career as an industrial chemist, and then later as a sales represenative and district manager of the Petroleum Chemical Division. The collection strengths are the documentation related to industrial safety and Holeton's work performing the "Chemical Magic" shows; and his time working at the Petroleum Chemical Division. There is a small but interesting set of material related to the Woodstown Civil Defense Council.

The autobiography is one page, handwritten on both sides of single sheet of paper. The writing covers his education and the start of his career at the DuPont Company. There is a second sheet which contains a sort of poem or introspective essay. The early career documents include ID cards, business cards, a college transcript, a handwritten biographical data employment form, and correspondence about his recruitment to work elsewhere but retention by the DuPont Company, and Jackson Laboratory Open House brochure. There is also an essay on the "Ecology of Woodstown" (New Jersey). These materials date from 1933 to 1949.

A set of materials document Holeton's work on the "Chemical Magic" shows he performed with "Doc" Woodward. There are newspaper clippings and several issues of Chambers Works News about the "Chemical Magic" shows. There are scripts of presentations, handwritten notes, handbills, and flyers. There are also invitations from various organizations and internal company communications about the shows. These materials date from 1945 to 1953.

Of Holeton's research papers the collection contains his patent for DuPont, assigned to U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; the Secrecy Order from 1946, and later declassification in 1959; a published paper in Analytical Chemistry and related correspondence; and a detailed internal report on the disposing of toxic substances at Chambers Works.

There are a small set of papers related to the Woodstown Civil Defense Council/Chemical Committee. A few of Holeton's certificates and correspondence related to memberships and a handwritten paper about the "History of totem pole carving."

There are some DuPont Company memorandums, paperwork, and correspondence between 1951 and 1962, about general daily work and operations.

Petroleum Chemical Division materials include congratulatory letters on his promotion; articles about Holeton; presentation scripts and outlines; petroleum reports; and the Northwest District annual report for 1958.

The collection also contains Holeton's obituary in the Chamber Works News in 1962

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Robert E. Holeton papers
Status:
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400