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Register of the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Papers, 1896-1953
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content

  • Title: Vladimir N. Ipatieff Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1896-1953
    Collection Number: 2000C14
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: In various languages.
    Physical Description: 2 manuscript boxes, 7 microfilm reels (1.8 linear feet)
    Abstract: Speeches and writings, correspondence, patents, biographical data, and photographs, relating to chemical research in Russia and the Soviet Union, and to Russian émigré affairs.
    Creator: Ipatieff, Vladimir N. (Vladimir Nikolaevich), 1867-1952.


    Collection open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Vladimir N. Ipatieff Papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.


    Vladimir Nikolaevich Ipatieff was born on 21 November 1867 in Moscow, Russia. His early career was that of a military man: in 1887 he graduated from the Mikhailovskoe artilleriiskoe uchilishche, and in 1892 from the Mikhailovskaia artilleriiskaia akademiia. But his interest in chemistry diverted him from a strictly military path. Teaching the subject at the Artillery Academy, he went on to get a doctorate from St. Petersburg University in 1907, while advancing in military rank to major general in 1910. From 1906 to 1916, he taught chemistry at the University as well, and was made a member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in 1916. As a lieutenant general during the First World War, he served as Director of the Commission for Preparation of Explosives and Chairman of the Chemical Committee.
    Following the revolution, he remained in the Soviet Union, where he founded the High Pressure Institute in 1927. But in 1931, while on a trip abroad, he decided not to return and came to the United States, where he taught at Northwestern University from 1931 to 1935. In 1939 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Ipatieff died in Chicago on 29 February 1952. Northwestern University dedicated a laboratory in his honor.
    Ipatieff authored hundreds of articles on chemistry in a number of languages, as well as textbooks, such as Kolichestvennyi analiz, which he wrote while still a student (St. Petersburg, 1891); a scientific autobiography, Catalytic Reactions at High Pressures and Temperatures (New York, 1936); and personal memoirs, Zhizn' odnogo khimika (New York, 1945), translated into English as The Life of a Chemist (Stanford, 1946). He also held several hundred patents, marking his most significant contributions to science: the formulation of high-octane gasoline, the "cracking" method now used to refine gas, and other discoveries relating to catalytic reactions (especially under high pressures and temperatures), and the synthesis of petroleum and its distillates.


    1867 November 21 (N.S.) Born, Moscow
    1887 Graduated, Mikhailovskoe artilleriiskoe uchilishche
    1892 Graduated, Mikhailovskaia artilleriiskaia akademiia Married Varvara Dmitrievna Ermakova
    1902 Professor, Mikhailovskaia artilleriiskaia akademiia
    1907 Ph.D., chemistry, Petrograd University
    1910 Major-General, Imperial Russian Army
    1914 Director of Commission for Preparation of Explosives, Russian army
    1916 Member, Russian Academy of Sciences
    1927 Founded High Pressure Institute
    1930 Left the U.S.S.R.
    1931 Professor, Northwestern University
    1939 Member, National Academy of Sciences, United States
    1952 November 29 Died, Chicago, Illinois

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains the patents and scientific articles of Vladimir N. Ipatieff for his émigré period, as well as a significant amount of biographical material.
    Of particular value are the biographical materials collected by Ipatieff and others describing his life and scientific achievements. These materials include clippings, photographs, correspondence, speeches and writings by and about Ipatieff, and relate also to his public and social activities and accomplishments, especially for the benefit of the émigré community.
    Detailed processing and preservation microfilming for these materials were made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by matching funds from the Hoover Institution and Museum of Russian Culture. The grant also provides depositing a microfilm copy in the Hoover Institution Archives. The original materials and copyright to them (with some exceptions) are the property of the Museum of Russian Culture, San Francisco. A transfer table indicating corresponding box and reel numbers is available at the Hoover Institution Archives.
    The Hoover Institution assumes all responsibility for notifying users that they must comply with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) and Hoover Rules for the Use and Reproduction of Archival Materials.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Chemistry--Soviet Union.
    Russians--United States.
    Soviet Union.
    United States.