University of Chicago Library

Guide to the John Ulric Nef, Sr. Papers 1884-1915

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Nef, John Ulric, Sr. Papers




1 linear foot (2 boxes)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


John Ulric Nef (1862-1915) Professor of chemistry, University of Chicago, 1893-1915; Chairman of the Chemistry Department, 1896-1915. Contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, legal documents, notes on experiments, and biographical material.

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Nef, John Ulric, Sr. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

John Ulrich Nef, the son of Swiss immigrants, graduated from Harvard in 1884, and that same year began studies for his Ph.D. in chemistry under Professor Adolf von Baeyer at Munich. From 1889 until 1892 Nef was acting head of the Chemistry Laboratory at Clark University, which he left to come to the newly established University of Chicago. In 1896 he was made head of the Chemistry Department there, a position which he held until his premature death in 1915, at the age of 53 years.

Scope Note

Contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, legal documents, notes on experiments, and biographical material.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Nef, John U., Jr. Papers

Nef, John U., Jr.-Elinor Castle. Papers

Nef, Elinor Castle. Papers

Subject Headings


Box 1

(a) Correspondence, letters to and from Nef, from 1884 until 1915; memoranda, reports, wills (of Nef and his wife), and other items, most of them dated; and one folder of letters concerning Nef's death, most of them addressed to his son, John U. Nef, Jr.

Box 1

(b) Biographical material, including accounts of Nef's life and work, written by his son.

Box 1

(c) Certificates of membership in various organizations.

Box 2

Published articles, and reports and indexes of experiments, mostly in Nef's own hand. Included is a long series of "sugar experiments" which Nef performed and wrote up between 1904 and 1913. There is one folder of miscellaneous papers, principally unidentified memoranda and notes on experiments.