Virginia Bartow Papers, 1908, 1917-19, 1923-30, 1935-80
[Back to Formatted Version]
Brief Description: Papers of Virginia Bartow (1896-1980) A.M. '21, Ph.D., '23, professor of chemistry (1939-63) including correspondence, class notes (Vassar, 1918), manuscripts, publications, clippings, photographs and notes relating to Edward Bartow's service with the Water Analysis Laboratories in France (Oct. 1917-June 1919), Edward Bartow's trip to Amsterdam (August-Sept. 1949), Edward Bartow and genealogy, history of science and chemistry, women in chemistry (1936), chemical education, chemical genealogies (1948-50, 1957), American Chemical Society History of Chemistry Division (1953, 1964), University of Illinois Chemistry Department, ACS chapter, and Iota Sigma Pi chapter and William A. Noyes.
Held at:
University of Illinois Archives
19 Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61820
Phone: (217) 333-0798
Fax: (217) 333-2868
Email: illiarch [at]
Record Series Number: 15/5/37
Created by: Bartow, Virginia (1896-1980)
Volume: 1.3 cubic feet
Acquired: 7/28/1980; 9/23/80; 10/9/80
More information is available at
Arrangement: By type of material and chronological thereunder.
Biographical Note for Bartow, Virginia (1896-1980) :

Virginia Bartow (1896-1980) was instructor (1925-31), associate (1931â??39), assistant professor (1939-1955), and associate professor of chemistry (1955â??63) at the University of Illinois (UI). She was a pioneering woman chemist and educator, who taught at UI for almost forty years.

Bartow was born in Rochester, New Hampshire, on December 20, 1896, to Alice (nee Abbott) and Edward Bartow, a chemist and UI professor. She earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Vassar (1918) before teaching at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland (1918-20). She continued her studies at UI with Professor William A. Noyes, earning a master's degree (1921) and a PhD (1923). Bartow taught chemistry at Rockford College, Illinois (1923-24) and the University of Iowa (1924-25) before she was hired as an instructor at UI in 1925. Bartow's nearly forty-year career at UI was shaped by gender-based discrimination at a time when there were very few women academics. She was "one of the first [women faculty members at UI] to be promoted" in any capacity ("150 for 150"). As a single woman, she was required to live with a university-approved female roommate and initially taught chemistry to home economics students. In 1929, when Chemistry department librarian Marion Sparks died, Bartow took over her classes on the literature and history of chemistry, and the history of chemistry became one of her primary research areas. She became known for her chemical genealogy curriculum in which students "traced the intellectual lineages of Illinois faculty members back to the 1700s," and she published on the topic in 1939 (UIUC Dept. of Chemistry).

Bartow took a personal interest in supporting women students in chemistry and other sciences on the UI campus. She served as advisor for the local section of the women's honorary chemistry society Iota Sigma Pi (1925-1962) as well the organization's national vice president (1940) and chair of its fellowship board (1948-50 and 1962-63). She was also chair of the American Chemical Society's history and chemistry division (1952-54) and chair of the local section of the ACS (1952â??53). In 1976, she was awarded honorary membership to Sigma Delta Epsilon, the society for women graduates in science. Bartow retired from UI in 1963 and died on July 7, 1980, in Douglas, Michigan.


"Bartow, Virginia (1896-1980)," Department of Chemistry (UIUC), accessed May 13, 2020,

"Virginia Bartow," 150 for 150 (UIUC), accessed May 13, 2020,

Subject Index
American Chemical Society
Chemical Education
Chemistry Department
Faculty Papers
History of Chemistry
History of Science
Iota Sigma Pi
Vassar College
World War I - Agricultural and Industrial Production and Construction
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]