Eugene Garfield

Born: September 16, 1925 | New York City, NY, US
Died: Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA, US
Photograph of Garfield Eugene

CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas A. Lockard

Eugene Garfield describes his interest in the West, his first jobs in Colorado and California, and his brief military career, injury and subsequent medical discharge. Garfield continues by discussing his undergraduate degree in chemistry, the influence of his first ACS meeting and the Division of Chemical Literature on his life's work. He also talks about his participation in the Welch Medical Library project.

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0078
No. of pages: 46
Minutes: 215

Interview Sessions

Arnold Thackray and Jeffrey L. Sturchio
16 November 1987
Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Abstract of Interview

Eugene Garfield begins this interview by recalling his youth in New York, his family background and early education. He describes his interest in the West, his first jobs in Colorado and California, and his brief military career, injury and subsequent medical discharge. Garfield continues by discussing his undergraduate degree in chemistry, the influence of his first ACS meeting and the Division of Chemical Literature on his life's work. He also talks about his participation in the Welch Medical Library project. In the middle portion of the interview, Garfield focuses on the origin and development of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and its products, including major publications. He also describes his doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and difficulties in having his thesis approved. The interview concludes with a discussion of his patents for a copying device, an analysis of the successes of ISI, and speculation on ISI's future activities.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1948 Columbia University BS Chemistry
1954 Columbia University MS Library Science
1961 University of Pennsylvania PhD Structural Linguistics

Professional Experience

Evans Research and Development Corporation

1949 to 1950
Research Chemist

Columbia University

1950 to 1951
Chemist

Johns Hopkins University

1951 to 1953
Staff member, machine indexing project

Eugene Garfield Associates

1954 to 1960
President

Institute for Scientific Information

1960 to 1992
President and Chief Executive Officer

University of Pennsylvania

1974
Adjunct Professor, Computer and Information Sciences
1993
1998 to 2016
2016

Honors

Year(s) Award
1953 to 1954

Grolier Society Fellow, Columbia University Award of Merit, American Society for Information Scientists

1975

Book of the Year Award, American Society for Information Scientists

1977

Hall of Fame Award, Information Industry Association

1977

Herman Skolnik Award, Division of Chemical Information, American Chemical Society

1977

Patterson-Crane Award, Dayton and Columbus Sections, American Chemical Society

1983

Chemical Notation Association Award

1983

John Price Wetherill Medal, Franklin Institute Derek

1983

Award, Chemical Notation Society

1983

Patterson-Crane Award, American Chemical Society

1983

John Price Wetherill Medal, Franklin Institute

1984

Derek J. de Solla Price Memorial Medal, Scientometrics

1988

Honoris Causa, Urije Universiteit, Brussels,Belgium

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Education
1

Parents and early childhood in the East Bronx. Move to the West Bronx. Public schools. Influence of uncles. Stepfather. Peter Stuyvesant High School. Summer work in the garment district. Transfer to De Witt Clinton High School. Academic effects of a trip to Florida. Senior English Teacher.

Early College Studies and Military Career
4

Interest in the West. Summer job in Colorado. First semester at the University of Colorado. Working in California and Denver. Joins Merchant Marine. Drafted by the Army. Volunteers for 10th Mountain Division. Officer Training School. Medical Discharge.

Undergraduate Studies
6

Summer school at Columbia. First marriage. Two years at Berkeley. Move to New York. Divorce and custody of son. Interest in child care. Change from premed to chemistry major. Undergraduate degree from Columbia. Sales correspondent for LaSalle University. Junior chemist at Evans Research and Development.

Graduate Work and First Work in Chemical Literature
9

Laboratory Assistant to Louis Hammett at Columbia. First publication. First ACS meeting and the Division of Chemical Literature. Job offer from James Perry. Welch Medical Library project. SHAL and MeSH. Committee of Honorary Consultants. Sanford V. Larkey. Public Symposium on Machine Methods in Scientific Documentation. Shephard's Citations.

First Publication Activities
14

Termination from Welch project. Graduate courses at Columbia Library School. Associate editor of American Documentation. Consultant for Smith, Kline & French. Publishes Contents in Advance. Second marriage. Contract with Bell Laboratories. Financing publication activities.

Origin of Major Publications and Formation of Private Company
20

Origin of Current Contents. Outside financial support. Early subscribers. First office and employees. Science Citation Index. Origin of the Institute for Scientific Information. Origin of Index Chemicus. Doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Difficulties with thesis approval.

Growth and Development of ISI
29

Patents for a copying device. Committee for Sensory Devices and Aids to the Blind. Selling ISI products. ASCA. Importance and success of publishing cumulations. Extending publication activities to social sciences and humanities. Publication of The Scientist. Speculation on the future activities of ISI.

Notes
37
Index
40

About the Interviewer

Jeffrey L. Sturchio

Jeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Previously he served as vice president of corporate responsibility at Merck & Co., president of the Merck Company Foundation, and chairman of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa. Sturchio is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Healthy Next Generation of the World Economic Forum. He received an AB in history from Princeton University and a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.