Henry Carrington Bolton

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Henry Carrington Bolton
Engraving of head view of Henry Carrington Bolton, 1893 or 1900
Engraving of head view of Henry Carrington Bolton, 1893 or 1900
Born 29 January 1843[1]
New York City[2]
Died November 19, 1903(1903-11-19) (aged 60)
Academic work
Main interests Chemistry; Scientific bibliography
Notable works Catalogue of Scientific and Technical Periodicals, 1665-1895

Henry Carrington Bolton (1843–1903) was a chemist and bibliographer of science.


He graduated from Columbia in 1862,[3] and then studied chemistry with Jean Baptiste André Dumas and Charles Adolphe Wurtz in Paris; with Robert Bunsen, Hermann Kopp, and Gustav Kirchhoff at Heidelberg; with Friedrich Wöhler at Göttingen; and with August Wilhelm von Hofmann in Berlin, and received a D. Phil. at Göttingen in 1866, for his work called “On the Fluorine Compounds of Uranium”.[2]

After his graduation, he spent some years in travel. From 1872 until 1877, he was assistant in quantitative analysis in the Columbia School of Mines. In 1874 he was appointed professor of chemistry in the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary. He resigned in 1877, when he became professor of chemistry and natural science in Trinity College. The celebration of the centennial of chemistry at Northumberland, Pennsylvania, the home of Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen in 1774, was suggested and brought about by Bolton.[3]

Among his investigations, that of the action of organic acids on minerals is perhaps the most important, but most of his work was literary, and his private collection of early chemical books was unsurpassed in the United States.[3] Bolton published large bibliographies of chemistry and later of all scientific periodicals which are still used. He included alchemy in the chemistry listings and emphasized the continuity of the transition. He was a member of many scientific societies, perhaps more than any contemporary.[1]

The Chemical Heritage Foundation runs the Bolton Society, which is named for H.C. Bolton, to support "printed materials devoted to chemistry and related sciences" and its Othmer Library of Chemical History in particular.[4]


  • Catalog of Scientific and Technical Periodicals (1665–1882). 1885.
  • A Catalogue of Scientific and Technical Periodicals, 1665-1895. (second edition) 1897. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. Reprinted 1965 by Johnston Reprint Corporation.
  • Bolton, Henry Carrington (1900). Evolution of the Thermometer, 1592-1743. Easton, Pennsylvania: The Chemical Publishing Company. pp. 66 – 79. 
  • Select Bibliography of Chemistry (1492–1892). 1892. (lists 12,031 titles[2])
  • Select Bibliography of Chemistry (1492–1904). (completed posthumously; lists over 14,000 titles)
  • The Follies of Science at the Court of Rudolph II. 1904. Milwaukee: Pharmaceutical Review Publishing Company. (Digital edition by the University and State Library Düsseldorf)
  • Priestly, Joseph (1892). Bolton, Henry Carrington, ed. Scientific Correspondence of Joseph Priestley. Philadelphia: Collins Printing House. 
  • The Counting-Out Rhymes of Children: Their Antiquity, Origin, and Wide 1888


  1. ^ a b J.J Bohning. In Memoriam: Henry Carrington Bolton, 29 January 1843 – 19 November 1903 Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Boltonia, Jan 2004, pp 1-2. Online at Chemical Heritage Foundation web site. The rest of the issue is also about Bolton and his works.
  2. ^ a b c Pratt, Herbert T. Henry Carrington Bolton: A Truly Renaissance Man Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine.. Boltonia, Jan 2004, pp 2-5. Online at Chemical Heritage Foundation web site. The rest of the issue is also about Bolton and his works.
  3. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Bolton, Henry Carrington". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  4. ^ Bolton Society Archived 2011-10-08 at the Wayback Machine. at Chemical Heritage Foundation site.

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