Price, Charles C. | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Price, Charles C.

Historical Note:

Charles Coale Price III (1913-2001) was special research assistant (1936-37); instructor (1937-39); associate (1939-41); assistant professor (1941-42); and associate professor (1942-46) of chemistry at the University of Illinois (UI). He was a pioneering chemist known for his contributions to the development of polymers, rubbers, and resins.

Price was born into a Quaker family in Passaic, New Jersey, on July 13, 1913. At age six, he lost his right hand when a box of dynamite detonators accidentally exploded. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1930. He went on to earn a master's degree (1935) and a doctorate from Harvard (1936) after only twenty months, publishing four papers in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in the process. In 1936, he accepted a post-doctoral research position at UI under Professor Roger Adams, and his tenure at UI came to be defined by the outbreak of WWII. Price worked with the National Defense Research Committee, Chemical Warfare Service, and the Committee on Medical Research. He took on a number of crucial projects in support of the war effort that would inform his research interests for the rest of his career. He devised water testing and removal equipment for chemical warfare agents and formulated substitutes for quinine in the fight against malaria. He also researched synthetic rubber production, which led him to specialize in polymer properties and polymerization processes. In 1946, he accepted a position at the University of Notre Dame where he invented and patented polypropylene oxide-polyurethane rubber, a foam rubber with continued popular use today. After the war, Price became active in the World Federalists Association and made a brief foray into politics in the early 1950s. In 1954, he accepted the Benjamin Franklin Professorship of Chemistry and chairmanship of the Chemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of his career, he published widely, becoming founding coeditor of Journal of Polymer Science and authoring the book Reactions at the Carbon-Carbon Double Bond (1946). Price won the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1946) and the ACS Award for Creative Invention (1974). He served as President of the American Chemical Society (1965) and was founding chair of the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

In 1936, Price married Mary Elma White (d. 1982), and together they had five children. Following White's death, he was married to Anne Parker Gill (1983). Price died on February 11, 2001.


"Charles C. Price," Organic Synthesis, accessed May 15, 2020,

"Charles Coale Price III (1913â??2001): Antimalarial Research Program," Noyes Laboratory at the University of Illinois, American Chemical Society, accessed May 15, 2020,

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