Beal, George Denton (1887-1972) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Beal, George Denton (1887-1972)

Historical Note:

George Denton Beal (1887-1972) was instructor in chemistry (1911-14); associate in chemistry (1914-18); assistant professor of chemistry (1918-20); associate professor of analytical and food chemistry (1920-26), and chair of the Division of Analytical and Food Chemistry (1920-26) at the University of Illinois (UI). He was a leading twentieth-century chemist in the early pharmaceutical and food industries in the United States.

Beal was born in Scio, Ohio, on August 12, 1887. He earned a Ph.C. (1906), Ph.B., and Pharm.D. degrees at the Scio College of Pharmacy in Ohio. In 1910, he enrolled as the Richard Butler Scholar in Chemistry at Columbia University, earning an A.M. and a Ph.D. He became an instructor at UI, where he stayed, continuing to advance professionally in the Department of Chemistry until he accepted the position of Assistant Director of the Mellon Institute in 1926. Over the course of his career, Beal published over 100 papers on topics such as basic chemistry, food preservatives, industrial hygiene, agriculture, scientific standards, and research philosophy. He also "held patents in various fields" (New York Times). Beal was active in his field, holding offices in the American Chemical Society (ACS), American Pharmaceutical Association, and the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education. He was awarded the Ebert Prize and the Remington Honor medal as well as honorary degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Mount Union College, and Rutgers University. After retirement, he took an interest in the United States Pharmacopeia, the official compendium of the nation's drugs and medicines, overseeing updates to the text and compiling an authoritative index dating to 1820.

Beal died in January of 1972.


"George Denton Beal," Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association XXV, no. 2 (February 1936): 9, accessed May 7, 2020,

"Dr. George Beal, Chemist 84, Dies," New York Times, January 5, 1972, accessed May 7, 2020,

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