Department of Chemistry History

A History of the UC Davis Department of Chemistry
By Edwin C. Friedrich


    The real beginnings of the campus at Davis were in 1906 when 779 acres of land were purchased for $104,250 for use as the campus site for the University Farm at Davis.  Martin Sparks sold 730 acres, the core of the campus, for $91,309, Oren Wright sold a 17-acre tract approximately where Aggie Village and the Davis Commons shopping center now stand for $4,000, and Henry Hamel sold his vineyard near today's First and A streets for $7,984.  In 1907 the legislature appropriated $132,000 for construction of buildings and for purchase of livestock and equipment, and the name of the town was changed from Davisville to Davis.  Thus, by the Fall of 1909, the University Farm was able to begin its first three-year course program.

Initially the University farm program was open to all farm boys who were at least 15 years of age and had completed grammar school.  Thus, it is obvious that any chemistry being taught at that time must have been only rudimentary.   The earliest mention of chemistry specifically being taught at Davis is in the 1911 Agricola yearbook which states that A. J. Graumnitz, M.S., was teaching Field Crops, Soils and Chemistry.  Very quickly, however,  the standards for admission and the level of the courses were raised.   In 1912 the minimum age for admission was raised to 18, and  High School graduation or an entrance exam in arithmetic and English was required. The student body now numbered 157, and the Agricola Yearbook reported that Chemistry was being offered by Harvey Winslow.

    The 1913 Agricola yearbook stated that Chemistry was now being taught by W. H. Arnold, B.S., of U.C. Berkeley.  He was initially listed as an instructor in chemistry and botany, but later just in chemistry; and in the 1915 Agricola yearbook he is included in a campus faculty picture group. Only 37 faculty members, the Dean of the University Farm School, his Assistant, a Librarian, and the Matron of the Dormitories staffed the school in 1915.  The description of the course taught by W. H. Arnold was: "The principles of chemistry and their application to soil fertility, fertilizers, dairy products, disinfectants or other substances of interest to the farm." Agricultural Chemistry was a separate area being taught as early as 1913 by John S. Burd, Dennis R. Hoagland, George R. Stewart and Alva R. Roberts, among others.

    By 1917 Chemistry was reported to be housed in the Agricultural Engineering Building. Enrollments on the Farm had dropped dramatically owing to the war, and at the lowest point there were only about 75 students enrolled. Chemistry was still being taught by Mr. W. H. Arnold.  The course descriptions, however, although still strongly oriented toward agriculture, had become more general.  The two chemistry courses being taught were listed in the catalog as follows:

Chemistry 01   Elements of Chemistry-3 units-first semester
2 hr. lecture, 2 hr. laboratory.  Prerequisite to Chemistry 02.  Required for graduation.
Principles of chemistry with their applications to such matters as action of sulphur in bleaching fruit, of disinfectants, of fertilizers.

Chemistry 02 Chemical Analysis-3 units-second semester
2 hr. lecture, 2 hr. laboratory.  Prerequisite is Chemistry 01. Required for graduation. It is a prerequisite course for Animal Husbandry 06, Soils 01 and all Dairy Industry courses.
Continuation of Chemistry 01.  Experiments with soils, alkalies, food products and other substances having particular reference to farm products.

    The 1918 Farm Rodeo yearbook reported that Chemistry was being taught by J. H. Norton, B.S., Instructor.   John Henry Norton, according to the American Men of Science, was born 9 July 1873 in Scotland Co., Missouri.  He obtained his B.S. degree in 1899 and M.S. in 1907 from the University of Missouri.  He was Asst. Prof. of Agricultural Chemistry from 1908 to 1912 at the California Citrus Experimental Station; a high school chemistry teacher from 1913 to 1917; an instructor at the University Farm in Davis from 1917 to 1920; and he taught at Sacramento Junior College from 1920 to 1939.  The 2005-2006 Sacramento City College Athletic Media Guide reports that in the Fall of 1921 chemistry instructor John Henry Norton organized the first intercollegiate football team at Sacramento Junior College.   The catalog descriptions for the two-four unit Elements of Chemistry courses being taught by him at Davis were:  "Principles of chemistry with a study of the chemistry of gases, oxygen, hydrogen and water in their relations to fumigation; disinfecting; agricultural solutions; explosives; heat values of fuels, foods and feeding stuffs; domestic and irrigation water." and  "Lectures and experiments with soils, soil forming minerals, fertilizers, sprays and food products."  The following year enrollment at the Farm rose sharply to about 600 and Ivor F. Torrey B.S., Associate in Chemistry, joined J. H. Norton in teaching chemistry.  Ivor Ford Torrey was born 6 February 1888 in Taylorville, CA, the son of Adelbert Earl Torrey and Harriet Ford.  He was married to Maude Ruth Redman in 1918 in Jacksonville, FL.  By 1921 only Ivor F. Torrey is listed as teaching chemistry.  


    The year 1922 was important for both the campus and for chemistry. This was the first year that Davis offered a four-year program, and it was the first year that the campus administration was divided into Divisions, including among others a Chemistry Division and an English Division. Thus, the founding year for the Chemistry Department (Division) at Davis should be given as 1922. The 15 Dec 1922 Davis Enterprise reported that the Regents gave Chemistry $7,000 for the first year and $9,000 for the second year, perhaps to develop the new Division of Chemistry Program.  In 1922 the name of the campus was changed from the "University Farm" to the "Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture", and the faculty was almost doubled. The enrollment on campus now consisted of approximately 300 two-year farm students and 100 four-year university students.  The name of the student newspaper was changed during the year from the "University Farm Agricola" to the "California Aggie".   In the 1922 Rodeo Yearbook, the new Division of Chemistry of the Farm was described in a full page including a picture of Prof. Ivor F. Torrey who is listed as the head of the Division.  Work in the Division is described as consisting of two courses--the first a year's course designed to meet the needs of Farm School students having no previous training in chemistry.  The second course, also a year long, is planned for students who already have taken high school chemistry.  The latter includes laboratory work involving among other things quantitative analysis of common feed stuffs, fertilizers and spray materials, and the detection of alkali in soils and in irrigation waters.

    The 30 August 1922 University Farm Agricola reported that Charles S. Bisson of the Chemistry Department was a new addition to the farm faculty.  It is assumed that because of his Ph.D. degree he was hired to become the head of the new Chemistry Division replacing Ivor F. Torrey.  The 1937 El Rodeo yearbook has a good picture of Professor Bisson, Head of the Chemistry Division. Charles Stewart Bisson was born in San Jose, CA on March 15 1891, son of J.O. Bisson and Jane Stewart Bisson.  He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1911, and attended UC Berkeley for his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, the latter being granted in 1919.  He was trained as a physical chemist.  His 1916 M.S. thesis at UC Berkeley was entitled "Heats of solution and dilution."  He did his Ph.D. research with Professor Merle Randall involving a study of  "The heat of solution and partial molar heat content of the constituents in aqueous solutions of sodium chloride" which was published in 1920 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.  From 1919 to 1922 Professor Bisson was professor and head of the chemistry department at the South Dakota School of Mines.  In 1922 he returned to California where he was appointed Professor of Chemistry and Head of the Division of Chemistry of the University Farm at Davis where he continued until his death in 1940. Professor Bisson built a home in 1925 at 229 B Street in what was once part of the Farmview Subdivision in Davis. On 20 October 2005 it was designated by the State of California as the "Historic C.S. Bisson Residence".  Professor Bisson described his research interests as including: Physical and inorganic chemistry; electromotive force and thermal measurements; columbium (now called niobium); tantalum; determination of copper in cuprous oxide; use of a reference element as a means for following changes in plant materials during storage; use of glass electrodes.  He collaborated with other faculty at Davis on a number of agricultural chemistry related projects dealing with peas, onions, watermelons and beeswax.  On June 16, 1921 Professor Bisson married Alta Josephine Soule at Forest Grove, OR.  The May 27, 1938 issue of the Davis Enterprise reported on its front page the death of Mrs. Charles Bisson on May 22, 1938 following a short illness.  She was born on May 8, 1898 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. L.C. Soule. She graduated from the Pacific University at Forest Grove, Oregon and did a year of graduate work at UC Berkeley. She was married to Dr. Charles S. Bisson at Forest Grove, Oregon on June 16, 1921 and came to Davis with her husband in 1922.  She was very active in the Davis community, being organist at the Community Church for many years and also the Davis correspondent to the Sacramento Bee. She was survived by her husband, her two sons Donald 14 and Leonard 6, and her parents. Professor Bisson was a member of Sigma Xi, Phi Lambda Upsilon and Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternities, and the American Chemical Society. He was also a member of the Davis City Planning commission, a trustee of the Davis Community Church, and was active in musical circles, playing with many local groups and with the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra.  He died on March 13, 1940 at age 49 after a year long disability, and his obituary in the March 15, 1940 Davis Enterprise stated that he was survived by his father J.O. Bisson of Berkeley, a sister Mrs. C. J. Felt of Berkeley, and two sons Donald age 16 and Leonard age 8. The pallbearers at his funeral were members of the Chemistry Division at the University, and included H.A. Young, H.G. Reiber, S.H. Babcock, H.W. Allinger, R.M. Keefer and H. Johnson. Professor Bisson and his wife are both buried in Section A, Plot 302 of the Davis Cemetery on Pole Line Road.  Further details concerning Professor Bisson may be found in his UC In Memoriam writeup. (PDF)

    The 30 August 1922 University Farm Agricola also reported that "the newly created Division of Chemistry will have the entire second floor of the old Horticultural Building, while the first floor thereof will be occupied by the Divisions of Olericulture, Landscape Gardening and Entomology." However, in other places there are indications that the Division of Chemistry was given the entire building.   Ray Keefer said that when he arrived at Davis in 1936 it had a 100-seat lecture hall on the second floor, labs and offices on the first floor, a screened-in porch where experiments using hydrogen sulfide could be carried out, and friendly owls in the attic. The door to the chemicals storeroom had its hinges on the outside, so it was no problem for him as a graduate student to obtain chemicals after hours when the room was locked.   The building was located on what is now the southeast corner of the Main Library, and was torn down in about 1960 when the Library was expanded.

    In 1924  the Division expanded with the addition of J. Gordon Sewell, B.S., Associate in Chemistry.  Jonathan Gordon Sewell was born in Sand Coulee, Montana on January 18, 1897. He received his B.S. degree at Montana State College in 1918, and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Chemistry at the South Dakota School of Mines from 1920 to 1924.  He became an Associate Chemist at Davis in 1924, and received his M.S. at UC Berkeley in 1933.  His M.S. Thesis was entitled; "Calcium sulfite dihydrate, calcium sulfite hydrate, sulfurous acid and bisulfite ion at 25 Deg. C." According to the January 10 Davis Enterprise, in 1930 he was elected Chairman of the Sacramento Branch of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He left Davis in 1936 to attend Stanford University where he received his Ph.D. in 1939. Also, in 1939 he became an instructor at Sierra Junior College in Rocklin.  It is believed that Sewell Hall at Sierra College is named after him.  He died on September 12, 1955 at age 58 in Placer Co., CA.  The 1924 UC College of Agriculture Course Directory reported that the following chemistry courses were then being taught at Davis:

1A-1B. General Chemistry (5 units each), 2 hr. lecture, 6 hr. laboratory and quiz.
The deposit required is $17.50 of which the maximum amount returnable is $5.00.

5. Quantitative Analysis (3 units), 1 hr. lecture, 6 hr. laboratory.
Prerequisite: Chemistry 1A-1B with a grade of C or higher.
A short course dealing with the principles and methods of quantitative analysis and their application to the analysis of agricultural materials.
The deposit required is $5.00 of which the maximum amount returned is $5.00 less breakage.

8. Organic Chemistry (3 units), 3 hr. lecture.
Prerequisite: Chemistry 1A-1B with a grade of C or higher.
An introductory study of the compounds of carbon.  Should, if possible, be taken concurrently with Chemistry 9.

9. Organic Chemistry (3 units), 6 hr. laboratory and quiz.
An experimental study of the physical properties and chemical reactions of the common classes of organic substances.  Open to students who are taking or have taken Chemistry 8.  The deposit required is $10.00 of which $5.00 is returnable less breakage.

     Graduate instruction became possible at Davis in 1925 under the auspices of the Graduate Dean of the Northern Division.  Professors Bisson and Sewell started to become involved at this time in agriculturally related interdisciplinary research with faculty in other Divisions, and it has been suggested that Professor Bisson may have provided the initial impetus and guidance for development of high quality research on the campus as an important activity.  However, it was more than 10 years before the Chemistry division at Davis actually enrolled its first graduate student .  The earliest publication from the Davis Chemical Division which has been found was by C.S. Bisson and J.G. Sewell in Journ. Assoc. Offic. Agr. Chem. 10, 120-124 (1927) and entitled: "The estimation of cuprous oxide produced in sugar analysis."  In 1932 Professor Bisson of the Davis Division of Chemistry and Henry A. Jones of the Davis Division of Truck Crops published several important joint papers in the journal Plant Physiology.  These were entitled: "Changes Accompanying Fruit Development in the Garden Pea", and "Changes in the Composition of the Garden Pea after Harvest".  

    The 1924-25 University Register reported that Professor Bisson had begun teaching Physical Chemistry 110, 3 units, MWF 10. Prerequisites: Chemistry 5 or 6A, Physics 1A-1B or 2A-2B. It was described as covering "A consideration of the more important general principles which express the properties and reactions of substances.  Open to Junior and Senior students who intend to do graduate work along lines which may involve the use of certain physico-chemical principles."  By 1927 the University Register reported Professor Bisson also teaching Physical Chemistry Laboratory 112, 3 units, TuTh 1-4 + one other TBA.  Lab fee $14. The course description was: "Physico-Chemical measurements and properties for Students in Agriculture".

    In 1931 Charles S. Bisson and J. Gordon Sewell published a 132 page "Laboratory Manual of General Organic Chemistry" mimeographed on one side of the page only and published by the Division of Chemistry of the Davis California Branch of the College of Agriculture.  The title page indicates that it was for use in the Organic Chemistry 9 course.  Bisson and Sewell revised the manual in 1934 by adding about 70 pages numbered as "a, b, c", etc.  These revisions dealt primarily with expansions of the sections dealing with the theories of fractional distillation and of salting out, and addition of descriptive material dealing with cyclic organic compounds and with aromatic organic compounds.  A copy of the 1934 edition of the manual is available at the Northern Regional Library facility (NRLF).  This was not simply a manual of experimental procedures to be followed in the laboratory.  It also included a considerable amount of material dealing with theory for the methods for purification of organic compounds and with descriptive organic chemistry of the type normally expected  to be found in an organic textbook.  It definitely appears to be up-to-date for the time it was published. After several pages dealing with general laboratory procedures and how to keep a laboratory notebook, the first 10 pages deal with tests for the purity of organic compounds, pages 11 to 32 deal with methods for purification of organic compounds, pages 33 to 91 deal with the preparation and reactions of functional group types of organic compounds, and pages 92 to 131 deal with amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and dyestuffs.

    Because of increasing emphasis on research and increasing numbers of students on the campus, the 1930's were marked by rapid increases in the staff and faculty of the Chemistry Division.  H. W. Allinger joined the Division in 1930 or 1931.  He was initially listed as an Analyst, and his assistance in doing analyses for research publications was simply acknowledged. By 1935, however, he began to be included as a coauthor on papers and was referred to as a teaching analyst. He continued with the division through the end of World War II.  The Davis Cemetery lists Henry W. Allinger (20 Sept. 1877-23 Mar. 1955) and his wife Grace E. Allinger (23 Jan. 1888-17 Sept. 1970) as being buried in Section B, Plot 34. An obituary in the 31 March 1955 Davis Enterprise reports the death of Henry Wesley Allinger, age 77, a resident of Davis for 30 years.  He was born in Kansas, received his Ph.B. degree from Central Wesleyan College in Warrenton, Missouri and his A.B. degree from the University of Missouri.  He studied languages in Leipzig, Germany and was an instructor in languages at the Universities of Wisconsin and Michigan.  In 1918 he became an instructor in Horticulture at Oregon State.   He was an analyst in the Chemistry division at Davis for 23 years before retiring.  Walter Brown Dye, B.S. joined the Division in 1932 as an Associate in Chemistry teaching Physical Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis.  He was born in Vandalia, MO on January 7, 1897.  He received his B.S. degree at the University of Oklahoma in 1924 and left Davis in 1934 to attend Stanford University where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1938. On March 23, 1963 the University of Nevada Board of Regents granted him the rank of Agricultural Chemist Emeritus, effective June 30, 1963. He died in Shasta Co. on August 28, 1964 at the age of 67.

    An appointment in 1934, which eventually turned out to be of great importance for the entire campus, was that of Herbert A. Young as Assistant Professor in the Division of Chemistry. During 1935-36 he taught General Chemistry 1A-1B, Quantitative Analysis 5, and Organic Lab 9.  Herbert Alexander Young was born in San Diego, CA on October 10, 1906, son of William A. Young and Aldie Jennings. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1929 and his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1932, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. His Ph.D. thesis research with Professor William C. Bray was entitled: "The autocatalytic reduction of bromate ion by hydrogen peroxide". On August 12, 1929 he was married to Maxine Barton Bardsley. He was an instructor at Berkeley from 1932-1934, and was appointed Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Davis in 1934. He was Chairman of the Division of Chemistry from 1940-51, and Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences from 1951-1964.  The college grew from five to twenty nine majors while he was Dean.  During World War II Professor Young was Director of Chemical Research and Development at the Clinton Engineering Works of the Tennessee Eastman Corporation working on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  He listed his research interests as kinetics of chemical reactions in solution and chemistry of uranium.  While on sabbatical leave in Pakistan and Egypt he studied the history of ancient metals and technology.  Professor Young died on January 19, 1965 and was survived by his wife Maxine, and a son John C. Young.  He was buried in the Davis Cemetery in Section B, plot 495.  His obituary is given in the January 19, 1965 Davis Enterprise.  Additional information about him may be found in his UC In Memoriam write-up. (PDF)  Maxine Barton Bardsley Young (8 July 1906-6 Feb 1999), wife of Professor Herbert A. Young, was also educated as a chemist, having received both her M.S. and Ph. D. degrees at UC Berkeley.  Her M.S. Thesis dated 1931 was entitled: "Electromotive force of certain Thermocells", and her Ph.D. Thesis dated 1935 was entitled: "Electromotive force of calomel thermocells and the partial molal entropy of chloride ion".  In 1941 and 1942 she is listed as an Associate in Animal Husbandry on the Davis Campus.  In half of Prof. Young's ten publications on oxidation of sulfur compounds she is listed as the coauthor.  Later at the time of her husband's death in 1965 she is indicated as being a faculty member at Sacramento State College.


    During 1936 both Sydney H. Babcock, Ph.D. and Roger H. Gillette, Ph.D. were appointed as instructors.  Sydney Henry Babcock was born in Atoka, Oklahoma on April 4, 1909.  He received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois working with Reynold Fuson, and was an instructor and then assistant professor of chemistry at Davis from 1936-1942. He had seven papers already published or in press at the time he was hired at Davis.   The February 20, 1941 Aggie in an article entitled "Chemist on Leave to Produce Acid" reported that he took a four month leave from Davis to supervise establishment of a plant to produce pantothenic acid at the laboratories of the Gelatin Products Co. of Detroit.  For work done while at Davis together with Dr. Thomas H. Jukes of Poultry Husbandry which initially involved studies of nutrients in the growth of chickens (J. Biol. Chem. in 1938 and J. Am. Chem. Soc. in 1940), Dr. Babcock was awarded two patents on Pantothenic Acid (2,375,885 in 1945 and 2,441,949 in 1948). Also, from work with Bernard R. Baker who later became Professor of Chemistry at UC Santa Barbara, he was awarded a patent on beta-Alanine (2,376,334 in 1945). All three patents were assigned to the Regents of the University of California. The beta-Alanine patent is reported to have brought considerable royalties to the University and is said to have been the source of the funding for the statewide new Faculty Summer Research Grants for many years. When the Davis Campus closed during World War II, Professor Babcock became a chemist with the Lederle Laboratories of the American Cyanamid Company in Pearl River, N.Y., and did not return after the war.  He died on February 24, 2003 in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  Roger Henry Gillette was born on May 14, 1911 in Orange, Mass.  He received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1936, and was an instructor in the general chemistry courses at Davis during 1936-37.  He left to become a faculty member at the University of Michigan and later worked for Linde Air Products, Union Carbide and Cabot Corporation.

    Also in 1936 the Chemistry Division at Davis accepted its first graduate student, Raymond M. Keefer. He was initially appointed a graduate student teaching assistant for $50 per month.  Ray said he was the only teaching assistant and thus had to help with grading in all of the courses.  A year later he was appointed a Graduate Associate and his salary was raised to $60 per month. The first Chemistry graduate courses, Seminar in Agricultural Chemistry 200A-B and Research in Agricultural Chemistry 201A-B, were offered in 1936.  This was made possible by designation of the Davis Chemistry faculty as members of the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley.  However, as Ray was the only graduate student in chemistry, he would just meet once a week with the faculty to discuss a currently important book, such as those by Linus Pauling or Henry Eyring.  Raymond Marsh Keefer was born in Twin Falls, Idaho on April 29, 1913.  He received his A.A. degree from Fresno State in 1932 and his B.S. degree from UC Berkeley in 1934. Ray said that one of his teaching assistants while at Berkeley was Harold Reiber.  Ray received his Ph.D. in 1941 working first with Professor Bisson and then, because of Bisson's illnesses, working nominally with Harold Reiber.  He was the first Ph.D. student to do all of his research at Davis and solely under the supervision of Davis chemistry faculty members, although he did have to commute to Berkeley for some of his coursework.  His Ph.D. Thesis which is dated 1940 is entitled "The interaction of ions and dipolar ions."  The results were published in three papers in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.  The first, published in 1940 with Harold G. Reiber and Charles S. Bisson was entitled: "Solubility of Barium and Calcium Iodates in Glycine and in Alanine Solutions."  The second and third, published in 1941 with just Harold G. Reiber, were entitled: "The Solubility of Silver Iodate and Lead Iodate in Glycine and in Alanine Solutions", and "Solubility of Thallous Salts in Glycine and in Alanine Solutions."  During World War II Ray served with the Navy Reserve in Norfolk, VA and as a Radar Officer on the battleship New York and on the battle cruiser Alaska. He remained in the Naval Reserve after the war, and retired after 20 years with the rank of Captain.  He was chair of the Chemistry Department during its years of greatest expansion from 1962 to 1974, and was chair of the Academic Senate 1965-66.  In 1964 he and Larry Andrews coauthored a book "Molecular Complexes in Organic Chemistry" and in 1965 they shared the Davis Campus Faculty Research Award.  In 1974 he and Tom Allen coauthored the freshman chemistry text "Chemistry: Experiment and Theory", published by Harper and Row. This was used by over 1500 students per year at Davis, appeared in several editions, and was also adopted by several prestigious universities such as Harvard, Michigan and Minnesota.  On February 10, 1994 Ray Keefer and Larry Andrews recorded a 57-minute conversation as part of the UC Davis Video History Project.  This may be checked out for viewing at the Special Collections Reference Desk in the Main Library.

    Another important appointment to the Davis campus was that of Harold G. Reiber in 1937 as an Instructor and Junior Chemist at a salary of $2400 per year. His first course at Davis was teaching Physical Chemistry of Surface Material Phenomena - 113 (3 Units, 2 hr. lecture, 3 hr. lab, $8 fee). This course was renamed in 1938 to Chemistry of Colloids, and was described as covering: "The properties of sols, gels and emulsions, including surface tension and adsorption phenomena". Harold George Reiber was born in Stratford, Ontario on December 6, 1901, the son of Henry Martin Reiber and Martha Reiber.  Between 1920 and 1927 he was a principal at various Canadian high schools.  He obtained his B.Sc. degree in 1927 and M.Sc. degree in 1930 at the University of Alberta. He was married to Norma Margaret Holmes (8 August 1901 - 23 Sept 1967) in Calgary, Alberta on December 29, 1930.  He then came to California where he was awarded his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry at UC Berkeley in 1933.  His Ph.D. research with Professor T. D. Stewart dealt with studies on tetraalkyl methylene immonium salts. After working for four years for Union Oil Company and receiving several patents for his work, Professor Reiber joined the faculty in Chemistry at Davis in 1937.  During World War II he was associated with the Lawrence Radiation Lab, Berkeley, and with Oak Ridge working on uranium chemistry for the Manhattan project. He was the Chemistry Department Chair from 1951-1958, and during that time was primarily responsible for initiation of the Ph.D. program in Chemistry at Davis.  In 1962 he became Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, and from 1967-69 was Dean of the Graduate Division. He died at his home on College Park in Davis on June 13, 1981 and is buried next to his wife Norma in the Davis Community Cemetery Section A, lots 192 and 193. He was survived by a son Norman and by a daughter Margaret Stewart who was married to the son of George Stewart, a well-known UC Davis Food Science faculty member. Additional information about Dean Reiber many be found in his UC "In Memoriam" write-up. (PDF)

    In 1938 the name of the campus was changed from the "Northern branch of the College of Agriculture" to the "College of Agriculture at Davis." The Student's Incidental Fee was $55/year, the required ASUC Membership was $20/year, and an estimate of the total average cost per year for room and board, books and fees for a California resident was $500.  Non-resident tuition was $150 per year.  William Meyer (12 Nov 1894-16 Dec 1979) was hired by the Division of Chemistry in 1939 as a Laboratory Technician, a position in which he continued until the early 1950s.  His obituary in the 17 Dec 1979 issue of the Davis Enterprise states that he died in Lodi at the age of 85.  He was born in Scotland, SD and raised on a grain and cattle farm in Washburn, SD.  During World War I he spent 17 months as a soldier in France.  He came to Davis in 1923 and was a laboratory technician in Chemistry for about 30 years.  A few years after the death of his wife Louise Gross Meyer on 12 Nov 1959 he moved to Lodi and married Pearl Koenit.  He was survived by his second wife and a son Lyle Meyer of Sacramento, and he is buried next to his first wife Louise in Section B of the Davis Cemetery in Plot 442.

     David H. Volman and Kenzie Nozaki joined the Chemistry faculty as Instructors at salaries of $2200 per year in 1940.   David H. Volman was born in Los Angeles on July 10, 1916, son of Herman Carl Volman and Blanche Volman.  He received his A.B. and A.M. degrees from UCLA in 1937 and 1938, respectively, and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1940. At Stanford he was a teaching assistant and Standard Oil of California Fellow at a stipend of $800 per year.  His research at UCLA was with Professor Francis Blacet and at Stanford was with Professor Philip A. Leighton. During World War II from July 1941 to July 1946 Professor Volman was on leave from the campus as a research chemist with the Office of Scientific Research and Development at UCLA, at Northwestern University and at the University of Illinois. He was also involved in testing chemical agents at the Dugway Proving grounds in Utah and at East Los San Jose in Panama.  At the latter place he shared a tent with Bob Brinton whom he had known as an undergraduate at UCLA.  On September 13, 1944 in Winnetka, IL he married Ruth Claire Jackson, who became an associate in foreign languages at Davis.  During 1949 to 1950 he spent a year at Harvard as a Guggenheim Fellow with Professor George Kistiakowski.  Professor Volman was Department Chair from 1974-80 and Academic Senate Chair from 1971-72.  His research interests were in photochemistry, kinetics and chemistry of the atmosphere. He retired in 1987, but after retirement still served as Chief Editor of Advances in Photochemistry and continued to come to the department almost daily until 2005.  On December 8, 1994, Professor Volman was interviewed by Tom Allen for the UC Davis Video History Project.  The resulting 80-minute video may be checked out for viewing at the Special Collections Reference Desk on the first floor of the main library.  Professor Volman died in Washington, DC on  January 8,  2007.  Kenzie (Kenji, Kenny) Nozaki was born June 1, 1916 in Los Angeles and received his B.A. in 1937 and M.S. in 1938 from UCLA working with Professor William G. Young. In 1940 he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry from Stanford working with Professor Richard A. Ogg, Jr. He was an instructor in chemistry at Davis during 1941-42.  The March 6, 1941 Aggie reported that he was hired to replace Dr. Sydney Babcock who was on leave of absence.  During World War II he was Director of Research of the War Relocation Authority in California, and after the war he began working for the Shell Development Corporation.

    The 29 February 1940 Aggie reported that funds had been approved for a new Chemistry Building, which will cost approximately $300,000, will be located at the south end of the present athletic field, and will be so constructed as to harmonize with the general plans for the campus.   The August 22, 1940 Aggie reported the appointment of Dr. Herbert Young as head of the Chemistry Division to succeed Dr. C.S. Bisson who had passed away the preceding spring.  Several new graduate teaching assistants, Harry C. Johnson from Calistoga, John Erway from Hastings, Michigan, and Lowell G. Wayne, joined the Chemistry division.  Bernard R. Baker was listed as a Research Associate in Chemistry for the Fall Semester of 1940. He must have been a postdoctoral fellow with Sydney Babcock, and he later became a professor at UC Santa Barbara.  Harry C. Johnson is believed to be the H. Johnson reported as being a pallbearer at the funeral of Professor Bisson in March 1940.  Ray Keefer has said several times that Harry Johnson was one of the early graduate students in Chemistry, and may have been a student of Herb Young.  The lists of Officers and Students for the Davis Campus for Spring 1940 through Spring 1941 give him as a TA in Chemistry.  Ray said that he kept in contact and lived in Sacramento for a number of years.  However, there is no evidence that he ever graduated from Davis or Berkeley, nor is any other information known about him.  John Erway received his B.S. degree from Michigan State University in 1938, and arrived on the Davis campus in the Fall of 1940. The Registrar's lists say that he was from Hastings (Barry County), Michigan.  He was a teaching assistant up through the Spring semester of 1942.  During World War II he was a Lt. (j.g.) in the U.S. Navy, and after the war he returned to Davis and received his Ph.D. degree in 1949 working with Professor Harold Reiber. The Dairy Science history reports that after his graduation he was hired by them as a chemist.  However, it was reported that after two years he left to go into military service.  (Ray Keefer via Tom Allen feels that this was unlikely.)  Various genealogy listings which may be found on the internet report that John Erway was born 28 Nov 1916 in Rutland Twp., Barry Co., MI, the son of Raymond Erway and Francis Otis, and that he died on 13 Feb 1995 in Tucson, AZ.  Attempts to learn more about the details of John Erway's professional career after leaving Davis have been unsuccessful.  Lowell G. Wayne was listed as a teaching assistant in chemistry at Davis for the Fall 1940 and Spring 1941 semesters.  A 1944 article in the Davis Enterprise reported that he was a talented cellist of the local community and a former member of the Davis Chemistry Division, and that he was commissioned as an Ensign in December 1941. He went on active duty at Mare Island in January 1942, and later after training at the Harvard School of Public Health returned to Mare Island to work in their Industrial Hygiene laboratory. He was appointed Lt. (j.g.) in March of 1943.  After the war he was a fellow graduate student with Tom Allen at Caltech working with Professor Don Yost and received his Ph.D. degree in 1949.  He later worked in environmental research and had his own company.  He died on 09 November 2001.

    The 21 March 1940 issue of the California Aggie reported the Death of Dr. Charles S. Bisson, head of the Chemistry Division at the Woodland Clinic on March 13, 1940. An "In Memoriam" on the editorial page states in part, "The student body feels a personal loss in Dr. Bisson's death.  He was a man truly respected and loved not only by a great number of students with whom he came in contact, but by all who knew him.   From the time of his arrival on this campus in 1922 until December 1938 when he was stricken very ill, Dr. Bisson served as chairman of the lower division advisory committee. His sincere interest in students and their welfare, his infinite patience, and his complete humanness and friendliness, earned for him the love and respect of all students with whom he came in contact.  As an instructor he likewise held the friendship and respect of all those fortunate enough to be in his classes.  It was his patience that was one of the most outstanding attributes of his character."   It is interesting that the 21 March 1940 edition of the Aggie also reported that occupation of the new Administration Building had just begun, with the Comptroller's Office, Dean's Office and Recorder's Office occupying the first floor and the library moving into the second floor.  An editorial in the issue stated that "the new library will be particularly gratifying to the students and administration alike."  It also mentioned that the library was originally started as a collection of bulletins by one of the professors in the Chemistry Building. The present writer is tempted to suggest that this professor may have been Charles Bisson.

     In 1941 the commercial area of Davis was bounded by the railroad on the east and south, by 3rd Street on the north, and by F Street on the west.  Nothing but farm houses were located west of Anderson Road, which at that time was still a dirt road.  The August 28, 1941 Aggie reported the appointments of Richard E. Kepner and Jack Sandkuhle as new teaching assistants in Chemistry. It also stated in another article that the enrollment on campus was expected to reach 1000 for the Fall Semester. Richard Edwin Kepner had received his A.A. degree from Riverside Jr. College in 1936, his B.S. degree at UC Berkeley in 1938 and came from UCLA where he was doing graduate work.  From June 1941 to June 1942 he was a T.A. in Chemistry at a salary of $650 per year. Starting in June 1942, after he had received his M.A. degree from UCLA, he became an Associate in Chemistry at a salary of $2000 per year.  When the Davis Campus closed during World War II, he resigned his appointment on 21 February 1943 and returned to UCLA to continue his graduate work. More will be written about him later in connection with his return to Davis to become a member of the regular faculty in 1946.  

     Jack Stitt Sandkuhle was born in Oakland on 8 May 1914.  In August 1936 he enrolled as a student at UC Berkeley, he took classes at Davis during the Fall semester of 1937, and he received his B.S. in Agricultural Chemistry with Highest Honors from UC Berkeley in December 1940.  He became a graduate student and T.A. at Davis in December 1942, but was appointed an Ensign, C-VCS, USNR effective 5 February 1942 and left the campus for Naval Training School at Dartmouth in May 1942.  After service for the Bureau of Ordinance in mine assembly instruction and for the Bureau of Naval Personnel at the USN Receiving Station in New Orleans, he was assigned to the US Naval Air Station at Moffett Field, CA in April 1943.  In June 1943 he was sent to serve in the Southwest Pacific Area, he was appointed Lt. (j.g.) USNR in July 1943, and he was killed during a Japanese bombardment on the island of Bougainville on 23 November 1943.  Bougainville is the largest of the Solomon Islands, and was invaded by the US 3rd Marine Division on 01 November 1943 with the objectives of establishing a 6 square mile beachhead with an airstrip. In 1942 the U.S. Marines had driven the Japanese out of the first Solomon Island, Guadalcanal, and earlier in 1943 had captured the Island of New Georgia.  Jack was married to Ray Keefer's wife Hilda's sister, and left a young child. The 17 November 1944 Davis Enterprise reported a talk by Dean Knowles Ryerson who had just returned from a tour of the Pacific theatre dealing with starting farms in newly recaptured territories to provide fresh vegetables for the military in the Pacific. He told of "Camp Sandkuhle" on Bougainville, named for Lt. Jack Sandkuhle who met his death early in the war with the Japanese.  Jack was an instructor on the Davis campus and was one of the first to leave when the call came.  Jack Sandkuhle's name is given on the Wall of Honor in the Griffin Lounge of the Memorial Union.  Also, his picture in uniform and a brief write-up of his educational background and military service is given on a page in the Memorial Book located in a display case next to the wall.  One can ask at the MU Information Desk to have the page displayed in the Memorial Book turned to that of Jack Sandkuhle.

    The Davis Enterprise on August 18, 1941 and the California Aggie on August 28, 1941 published an identical article reporting that the new Chemistry Building (Physical Science I, now the north wing of Young Hall) would be opened for classes at the beginning of the fall semester. Before this, chemistry was housed in the former Viticulture (Horticulture?) building located on the southeast corner of what is now the Main Library. A Fall 1940 small booklet listing the Davis Campus Officers and Students, which is now available at Library Special Collections, gives the room-office locations for the Chemistry Division faculty in the old chemistry building as: Babcock, Reiber, Volman and Young in Rooms 2D, 2B, 2C and 2A, respectively; for the teaching assistants: Erway, Johnson, Keefer and Wayne in Rooms 23, 3E, 23, and 3A, respectively; for the Analyst Allinger, Technician Meyer, Stenographer Rudser and Research Associate Baker in Rooms 2E, 536C, 2 and 3, respectively. Ray Keefer has suggested that abandonment of the old chemistry building may have been accelerated by the accidental release of a cloud of hydrogen sulfide by a student during a visit to campus by the Regents. This caused them to conclude that the old building was a safety hazard and needed to be replaced by a more modern facility. Tom Allen has said that according to tradition the funds for the new chemistry building came from the State "Fair and Exposition Fund", which had received lots of money from horse racing at county fairs.  The title of the article on the new Chemistry Building was: "Structure Modern in Every Respect; Is the Equal on any Campus". The article stated in summary that the chemistry portion was 20,430 square feet on the first floor and 12,086 square feet on the second floor for a cost of $195,961.  The total building was approximately 350 feet by 100 feet in size and cost in excess of $300,000.  The building contained fourteen large teaching laboratories, seven smaller research laboratories, eight faculty offices, an unusually large auditorium, a large chemistry library and an electric freight elevator. The structure was situated and planned so wings could be added in the future, if needed.  The article also stated that the Chemistry Division was headed by Dr. H.A. Young.  He was assisted by Drs. H.G. Reiber, S.H. Babcock, R.M. Keefer, D.H. Volman (on leave of absence for work in national defense), K. Nozaki and Mr. H.W. Allinger (teaching analyst).  There were three graduate students John Erway, Jack Sandkuhl and Richard Kepner.  William Meyers is a technician and Miss Agnes Rudser is the stenographer.  The building also housed the offices of the Soils Division, two analysts for Truck Crops and one analyst for the Home Economics Division.

    The Fall Semester 1941 booklet listing the Davis Campus Officers and Students gives for faculty and staff their name, title and division affiliation, office location and phone number, and home address and phone number. The room-office locations in the new Chemistry building were given for the Chemistry faculty as: Babcock, Keefer, Nozaki, Reiber and Young in Rooms 40, 28, 36, 38, and 31, respectively; for the teaching assistants as: Erway, Kepner and Sandkuhle all in Room 54; for the Analyst H.W. Allinger in Room 44; for the Technician W. Meyer in Room 58; and for the Stenographer Miss Agnes Rudser in Room 32.  Agnes G. Rudser began working for Chemistry in about 1938 and continued with the Department up into the early 1960s.  She was not simply a stenographer, but also at times served as business manager and administrative assistant. In the "Chemical Storeroom Checkout Book" her initials indicate that in 1942 she may have been involved in helping to check out chemicals for courses (112 for Herb Young and 1B for the department technician William Meyers). During World War II when the campus was closed to students, she must have continued to work on campus as there is a 20 April 1944 note in the Checkout Book signed with her initials and stating, "Truck Crops checked to here and bill sent".  In about 1952 she married Robert Ring (9 Nov 1903-Aug 1976) whose obituary in the Enterprise said that he was a groundskeeper for the University for 38 years. The Social Security Death Index indicates that Agnes Ring, born 18 Oct 1902, died in Davis, CA in December 1976. However, no obituary could be found for her in either the Davis Enterprise or the Woodland Democrat, and there is no record of the burial of her or her husband in the Davis Cemetery.


    The Thursday, 11 December 1941 California Aggie reported that on Monday, December 8, at nine o'clock, Dean Knowles A. Ryerson called a special university meeting due to the horrible catastrophe that occurred early last Sunday morning in the blue Pacific waters (the bombing of Pearl Harbor).  He remarked that everyone should keep cool, level headed, and prepare for finals.  Although he agreed that this was a dastardly act, he said that "we can do nothing in two short weeks to aid the situation." He also mentioned that he deeply feels for the "unfortunate loyal American-Japanese students" who are on the campus and hopes that none of the 2000 students, faculty and staff on the campus will "unjustifiably throw accusations and slanderous remarks" at them.

    In the Fall of 1942 Chemistry 199, Special Study for Undergraduates was first taught.  Also, another graduate student Oscar A. Cook arrived in Fall 1942.  Oscar Arthur Cook's background before coming to Davis is currently unknown.  After the Davis Campus closed in February 1943, he must have gone to Berkeley to work on aspects of the Manhattan project as his M.S. thesis from UC Berkeley in 1944 is entitled "Aqueous electrochemistry of heavy metals---uranium, neptunium, and plutonium". After the war he became a chemist with the Pacific Experimental Station of the Bureau of Mines in Berkeley, where between 1946 and 1948 he was coauthor on four publications in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.   In the Fall of 1948 he returned to Davis as a graduate student where he worked in research with Herb Young on the problem of "Absolute Cell Potentials". Tom Allen remembers him as a very nice fellow who played on the water polo team, and had lots of data and had done a lot of work on his research.  He was also an avid mountain climber.  The September/October 2005 issue of Sierra Magazine has an article by Daniel Duane, which can be found on internet, about the physicist-career climber-high altitude researcher Will Siri.  In the article it mentions on a 1953 trip to the 20,981 foot high Huandoy Mountain in Peru's Cordillera Blanca "the sudden and shocking death of a team member named Oscar Cook, a strong climber who fell inexplicably ill at 16,000 feet---"inexplicably" because high-altitude pulmonary edema, the likely culprit, wasn't yet fully understood".   The 1942 Davis El Rodeo yearbook has a very good picture of the Chemistry faculty and its teaching assistants.  These were Jack Sandkuhle, Herbert Young, Sidney Babcock, Raymond Keefer, Richard Kepner, John Erway, Kenzie Nozaki and Harold Reiber.

    The "Chemical Storeroom Checkout Book" starting December 1941 was recently uncovered in the Department and provides some interesting insight into the activities and personnel in the Chemistry Division at Davis during the year before the campus was closed for use during the war by the Western Signal Corps School. For the Spring Semester of 1942 the Chemistry technician William Meyer was checking out chemicals for Chem 1B and Chem 5, John Erway was checking out chemicals for Chem 5 and for Research, Jack Sandkuhle and Herb Young were checking out chemicals for Chem 5, and Ray Keefer, Dick Kepner, Sid Babcock and Kenny Nozaki were checking out chemicals for research.  Also, Ernest Boynton was checking out chemicals for Sid Babcock for WW research and for Chem 50, and H.W. Allinger, the Division Analyst, was checking out chemicals for various projects and for specifically a "Rubber Project".  Dick Kepner's application for admission to Davis stated that he planned to do his research with Prof. Babcock.  John Erway was doing research with Prof. Reiber.   It is believed that Ernest Boynton was either doing undergraduate research or working as a special technician for Sid Babcock. In the student lists of Fall 1940 Ernest Duran Boynton is listed as an undergraduate from Ferndale, CA. He returned to Davis as an undergraduate degree student after the war.  An internet search in 2006 showed an Ernest Boynton living on Riverside Road in Ferndale, and the Eureka Times-Standard newspaper in an article dated 4 October 2006 reported that 83 year old Ernie Boynton, a dairyman off of Riverside Road in the Port Kenyon area of Ferndale, had passed away the previous Sunday.  

    For the Fall Semester of 1942, Meyer, Cook and Reiber were checking out chemicals for Chem 1A, Meyer and Kepner were checking out chemicals for Chem 5 and Chem 9, Allinger was checking out chemicals for the Rubber Project, Erway was checking out chemicals for research, and Wagner, Babcock, Young and Hughes were checking out chemicals for projects called P69 and P-A. These must have been code names for war related projects. Nothing is known at present about Wagner and Hughes, who may just have come to campus to do war related research. In the case of Ed Wagner, this is confirmed by a brief article in the 31 August 1945 Enterprise which listed him as having been among the university staff members who were engaged in Manhattan Project work on the atomic bomb which was started on the Davis Campus and later moved to Oak Ridge, Tenn.  During 1942, the Checkout Book also records withdrawals of chemicals by J.V. Hubbard and C. D. Wilder, both of Truck Crops.  These are also indicated in the Enterprise article as having been involved in the Manhattan project.  

    From 1942-43 Herbert A. Young was the head of the "Davis Group" of the Manhattan District of the U.S. Engineering Corps.  Harold Reiber remained on campus working in a corner of Young Hall on aspects of the Manhattan Project for the US Atomic Energy Commission. Unsuccessful attempts were made to separate uranium isotopes using a chromatographic method.  Harold Reiber received a patent entitled "Higher Chlorides of Uranium" (2,499,836 in 1950) assigned to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for his work.  A February 1944 edition of the Aggie reported in detail the wartime activities of the faculty, staff and employees of the entire campus. For the Division of Chemistry, it reported that "Lt. R.A. Keefer is a member of the United States Naval Reserve (with his wife and child) in Norfolk, Virginia.  Lt. (j.g.) John Erway is with the Navy in the State of Washington. Lt. (j.g.) L.J. Wayne headquarters at Mare Island, but has maintained a home in Davis with his wife, the former Martha Dolson.  Ensign Jack Sandkuhle is on active duty somewhere in the Pacific.  Richard Kepner is continuing his graduate work in chemistry at UCLA.  Dr. S.H. Babcock took a leave of absence in the Spring of 1943 and is with the Lederle Laboratories at Pearl River, New York.  Other members of the Division are engaged in war projects".

    The 3 December 1942 issue of the Aggie reported verification of "the rampant rumors that the Signal Corps would take over the campus for the duration of the war."  The 14 January 1943 issue of the Aggie reported that West Hall and the Beta Phi House had already been vacated for use by the army. Lt. Col. E.A. Allen and his staff have already moved into offices in the Library and Administration building.  The 15 January 1943 issue of the Enterprise reported that a 25 foot high aircraft observation tower had been built at the northeast corner of 5th and B Streets and would be staffed a by volunteers 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  The Chemical Storeroom Checkout Book recorded that on February 2, 1943 all of the Chemistry 1A, 1B and 9 chemicals were returned to stock in preparation for turning most of the Chemistry Building over to the Western Signal Corps School. However, there still must have been some chemistry done in the building or at least on campus after that.  The book records that Maxine Young withdrew some hydrogen peroxide and sodium sulfate from the storeroom in May and June of 1943.  Also, between February 1943 and November 1944 H.W. Allinger withdrew chemicals for use in research on projects PA-1, P-883, Project A and the Melanine Project.

    The February 5, 1943 Enterprise reported that the Western Signal Corps School (WSCS) at Davis has opened the past week with approximately 100 students receiving instruction in radio operation and repair.  Beginning Noon February 6, the public will be excluded from the campus and all entrances to the campus will be closed except the First Street gateway.  An undated but probably early 1943 California Aggie "G.I. Issue" reported in a greeting by Dean Hutchison to all Cal Aggies in the service that Davis is now a college gone to war.  Every classroom, most of the laboratories, all of the dormitories, the dining hall, the infirmary, six fraternity houses and even the gymnasium, the swimming pool and the athletic field are being used by the Signal Corps of the United States Army. Ira Smith of the Comptroller's Office wrote that the student store is now a PX, and a projection booth has been added to the Chemistry Building Auditorium where movies are being held daily. A guard booth blocks the First Street entrance to the campus, and other streets are closed.  The March 5, 1943 Davis Enterprise reported that the Chemistry Building (now Young Hall) was known as the Squier Building in honor of Major General George G. Squier, Chief Signal Corps Officer from February 1917 to December 1923.  Part of the building was in use as a Radar Teaching Laboratory.  The auditorium was used as a theater.  Because much of the work and teaching being done in Squire Hall was High Security, the building was surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by a 24 hour armed guard.

    Bulletin No.1 of the California Aggie News was published in two mimeographed sheets by F.L. Griffin from the Dean's Office on August 30, 1943.  It reported that there are close ties between the WSCS at Davis and Camp Kohler, the Western Signal Corps Replacement Training Center.  This is located on the site of the former Japanese Relocation Center about 12 miles northeast of Sacramento.  The  News Bulletin also reported how the Davis community had to "become accustomed to living next to a military post".  A loud speaker, pointed toward College Park, was installed on the roof of the Library.  Each day began with "canned" bugle calls and martial music punctuated by shots from a 75 mm World War I cannon located on the northeast corner of the quad (5:30 AM Reveille; 5:00 PM Retreat; 11:00 PM Taps). Occasionally a 30-40 piece military band came over from Camp Kohler to participate in more formal ceremonies.

    The 11 August 1944 issue of the Enterprise reported that the WSCS is now on a 9 hour per day schedule in order to be able to complete their work by October 31.  Orders have been received by the WSCS to abandon Camp Kohler and Davis on or about October 31.  Units, personnel and training will be moved to Fort Monmouth, NJ, and to Camp Crowder, MD.  University officials are unable to say when classes will begin on the Aggie campus, but not before Spring 1945.  A redeeming feature of the removal of the Signal Corps from Davis at this time is that the Davis business situation will already have experienced their readjustment period before the end of the war when the rest of the country must undergo theirs.  The October 6, 1944 edition of the Davis Enterprise reported that "classes at the WSCS had ceased, and for the past few weeks truckloads of equipment have been removed from the campus.  The books and tables in the library have been returned to their former places vacated for two years for radio and telegraphy instruction.  Little now remains of a once busy military post other than some structures in the radar section."  The issue also included an article entitled, "Bugle Calls Are Now A Thing Of The Past; Gun Salute Silenced Forever."  The article commented that "Many persons depended on the morning calls to arise and have breakfast; and then again, some who did not have to arise so early had other opinions." On October 31, 1944 the Western Signal Corps School at Davis was closed, and the keys to the buildings were formally returned to the campus administration by Colonel James W. Green, Jr., Commander of Camp Kohler and its allied school at Davis.  

    The 6 October 1944 Enterprise also reported that on November 3 to November 5, a conference on postwar problems of the University of California will be held on the Davis campus. A steering committee headed by Dr. Joel H. Hildebrand, professor of chemistry on the Berkeley campus, will conduct the conference. University President Robert G. Sproul is quoted as saying in his call for the conference: "The demands to be made upon the University during the next few years are likely to tax our resources and our wisdom to the utmost." The 3 November 1944 Enterprise reported the beginning of the conference which included approximately 100 heads of divisions and leading professors from the university. The article noted that many of the attendees have never set foot on "the University's most important College" and this meeting will help to "dispel the idea that the 'cow college in the country' is merely an overgrown weed patch."  "Instead they can witness in the making the most beautiful and foremost agricultural school in the nation."

    The Friday August 17, 1945 Enterprise reported on the festivities and parade in town celebrating President Truman's announcement on Tuesday August 14 of the Japanese surrender.  All of the whistles and sirens in town and on the campus sounded bringing residents into the streets. On Wednesday evening there was a victory parade headed by the chief of police and including riders of the Circle "D" horsemen's club with Mayor C.A. Covell wearing a ten gallon hat and sitting astride a white horse, fire department trucks with sirens screaming, and residents in their cars with horns sounding. A list of about 270 Davis residents who served in the military during the war and 11 who lost their lives in the war was also given on the front page of the issue together with a brief editorial statement.  "The world has passed through this awful ordeal of universal war, and 'Peace in our time' has been won.  But it was not destined to come in the lifetime of those who sacrificed most selflessly for it.  These were the men and women who gave their lives in order that those now living might experience this glory of the human spirit. The free peoples of the world cannot repay them, but can only accord them an eternal place in honor."


    The Friday October 26, 1945 Enterprise reported that on Monday October 29 classes would be resumed on the Davis Campus after its having been closed for almost three years during the war.  The Registrar reported that 225 students had already been enrolled and more were expected.  Dean Knowles Ryerson's greeting to the new students, many of whom were returning military,  was especially appropriate for the occation.

"To one and all the faculty and administration extend a warm and cordial welcome.  The world which we face today presents some new problems, but they need no new formula for their attack.  They will yield as they always have to well-trained minds fortified by enthusiasm, friendliness, good humor and hard work.  Many of you have spent months and even years in military service.  You return with a clearer vision of what you want to do.  You have brought with you a battle-tested comradeship that is the essence of the Aggie Spirit.  We look forward to your sojourn here."

    The campus reopened with Professors Herbert A. Young and Harold G. Reiber on the Chemistry faculty.  Herb Young continued as head of the Chemistry Division.  For this first year General Chemistry was taught by Young and Reiber, Quantitative Analysis was taught by Young, Organic was taught by Reiber, Physical by Young, and Colloids by Reiber.  New faculty member Lawrence James Andrews joined them during the first year.  He was born in San Diego on September 27, 1920 and raised in Long Beach.  He received his B.S. degree from UC Berkeley in 1940 and his Ph.D. degree from UCLA in 1943.  During the war he was a chemist with the Tennessee Eastman Corporation in Oak Ridge working on aspects of the Manhattan Project, and Herb Young was his supervisor.  From 1945 until his retirement in 1987 he was a member of the Chemistry faculty.  He was Chair of the Department from 1959 to 1962, and Dean of the College of Letters and Science from 1964 to 1985.  Upon his retirement his friends and colleagues, together with a matching contribution from the university, endowed a fellowship prize in his name to recognize outstanding Letters and Science undergraduates.  He published 116 technical articles, and in 1965 he and Ray Keefer shared the Davis Campus Faculty Research Award.  His research interests were listed as mechanisms of reactions in solution, coordination compounds, molecular complex formation, and electrophilic aromatic substitution processes.  Larry died at home on February 15, 1999.  

    In 1946 Professor David H. Volman returned to the Chemistry faculty from his war research activities, and in 1947 Professor Raymond M. Keefer returned from his service during the war in the navy. Professors Richard E. Kepner and Edgar P. Painter were added to the faculty. Lecture and laboratory courses in Biochemistry, 101 and 102 taught by Professor Painter, were offered for the first time in Chemistry and on campus.  They continued to be taught in Chemistry until 1964 and 1959, respectively, when they were discontinued as Chemistry courses owing to the establishment of the Biochemistry Department on campus.  Richard Edwin Kepner was born in Los Angeles on July 27, 1916.  He received his B.S. from UC Berkeley in 1938, started graduate work at UCLA, and came to Davis as one of its earliest graduate students in Chemistry.  The August 28, 1941 Aggie reports his appointment as a Chemistry teaching assistant.  When the campus closed for the war in 1942 he returned to UCLA where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry in 1942 and 1946, respectively.  Dick was  a member of the chemistry faculty from 1946 until his retirement in 1986.  His research interests dealt with the odor and flavor constituents of fruits and wines, grape pigments, and volatile plant terpenes.  After his retirement he continued as Chemistry's undergraduate master advisor and as advisor to large numbers of chemistry majors until 1998.  Edgar Page Painter was born in Schuyler, Nebraska on October 2, 1909.  He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees at South Dakota State College in 1932 and 1935, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota in biochemistry in 1939.  He was Professor of Biochemistry at North Dakota State University from 1940 to 1947, and a member of the Davis Chemistry faculty from 1947 until his retirement in 1976.  Ed's research interests were in amino acid synthesis, organoselenium compounds, substitution of acetal derivatives, and stereochemistry and conformations of carbohydrates.

    In 1948 Robert K Brinton was appointed to the chemistry faculty. He was joined shortly by Thomas L. Allen and Charles P. Nash. Robert Kenneth Brinton was born in Los Angeles on January 9, 1915.  He received his A.B. and M.A. degrees from UCLA in 1936 and 1938, respectively.  From 1937 to 1942 he worked for the General Petroleum Corporation, and during World War II for the National Defense Research Council at Northwestern University followed by field research in Panama, Australia and New Guinea.  After the war he returned to UCLA where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1948.  From 1948 until his retirement in 1976 he was a member of the Davis Chemistry faculty.  Bob listed his research interests as reaction kinetics in gas phase systems, and photochemical and thermal studies of elementary radical reactions.  He took the lead in working with the architects in designing the addition to Young Hall, completed in 1960, and the present Chemistry Building and Chemistry Annex.  Bob died in Davis on December 9, 1996.  The Robert K. and Mary M. Brinton Department Graduate Student Loan Fund was established in his memory by his family and friends.  

    In June of 1949 a ceremony was held in the now gone sunken garden east of the original library structure to grant the first four Ph.D. degrees from the Davis campus.  The students did have to go to Berkeley for some of their coursework, but Davis was considered their home campus.  The ceremony was attended by Robert Sproul. Among the Ph.D.'s granted were two from Chemistry--John Erway who had begun his research with Harold Reiber at Davis before the war; and A. Dinsmoor Webb, who was working in Viticulture on campus before the war and whose research for the degree was based on war related work he did at Davis and Berkeley.


    During the 1950's both the Davis campus and the Chemistry department remained small. However, one new faculty member, Albert T. Bottini was added near the end of the decade and there were a number of administrative and course changes in the Department and on campus. Major among the administrative changes was the establishment in 1951 of the College of Letters and Sciences, with Herbert P. Young from chemistry as its first dean.  Chemistry was included as a Department in the new college, and  Harold G. Reiber became the first Department chair.  He continued in this position until 1959 when he was replaced by Lawrence J. Andrews.  A major in Chemistry was offered at Davis for the first time, and new upper division courses in Advanced Quantitative Analysis and in Advanced Organic Chemistry were taught for the first time.  A two semester upper division course in Advances Plant Biochemistry with a laboratory, taught by Professor of Agronomy Frederick P. Zscheile, Jr., was offered. These were followed shortly by upper division courses in Inorganic Chemistry, taught by Tom Allen, in Physical Biochemistry, taught by David Volman, and in Qualitative Organic Analysis, taught by Dick Kepner.   Undergraduate Organic Chemistry for Majors became an upper division sequence, and an upper division Physical Organic course, first taught by Al Bottini, was introduced..  

    In 1953 a Graduate Division was established at Davis. From 1925 to 1952 any graduate work done at Davis was done under the administration of the Graduate Dean of the Northern Division located in Berkeley.  The following year the first regular Graduate Courses were offered in the Department of Chemistry.  These were in Chemical Kinetics, taught by Ray Keefer; in Quantum Chemistry, taught by Tom Allen; in Physical Biochemistry, taught by Dave Volman; and two Organic Chemistry courses taught by Dick Kepner and Larry Andrews. In 1956 the Department was authorized to offer M.S. and Ph. D. degrees, eliminating the requirement that graduate students commute to Berkeley for certain course and graduation requirements. Finally, in 1958 additional graduate level courses in Statistical Thermodynamics, taught by Charlie Nash, and in Physical Organic Chemistry, taught by Larry Andrews, were offered.


    The 1960's were a  time of big changes for the Department.  The faculty grew rapidly from 14 to 24 members during 1962-1966.  In 1962 Raymond M. Keefer became the Department Chair, Lawrence J. Andrews became the acting Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, and in 1964 he became the L&S Dean.  In 1962 Harold G. Reiber became Associate Dean of the Graduate Division.   Ray Keefer was chair of the Academic Senate in 1965-66.  Bill Hapgood was indispensable as Department Business Manager during its rapid growth and moves to new buildings.   In the 1964-65 academic year Chemistry had 111 undergraduate majors (23 seniors), 47 graduate students and 8 postdocs. The publication record for the Department from 1962 to 1964 was about 30 papers and books per year.

     In 1965 the Department moved from Young Hall (Physical and Inorganic faculty and staff in the Fall to the first and second floors, and Organic faculty and staff over the Christmas Holidays to the third floor) to the 125,819 square foot new Chemistry Building which had been built for $3,647,000.  The old Chemistry Library in Young Hall moved to a new Chemistry Library located in the north wing of the new Chemistry Building, and the Chemistry faculty voted to discontinue the practice of circulation of journals which had been allowed before.  For several years after the move a number of the research laboratories in the new building were not equipped with hoods and work benches and thus were used as classrooms and coffee rooms, etc. The new Chemistry Building was built on the original site of the Wyatt Stock Judging Pavilion, used at the end by Art and  now used as a theater, and a small temporary building used at the end by Music. At the dedication of the building on March 12, 1966, the honored speakers were Professors Henry Eyring, Frank Westheimer, W. Albert Noyes, Jr., and William S. Johnson. At the time of the dedication and for several years afterward there were still sheep and goats in pens across from the front entrance of the building, and the faculty who drove to campus could park in front of the pens. However, most of the Chemistry faculty still lived close-by and could bicycle to campus. To the south west of the building where the Physics Lecture Hall now stands there was a fortress-like abandoned Agronomy Warehouse which had not yet been knocked down and next to which one could also park. To the south of the Building where the Physical Sciences Library and Chemistry Annex now stand there were just weed-grown fields.  In the Fall of 1966 the campus switched from a semester to a quarter system.  Dick Kepner was involved a major way in working out the multitude of changes in the content of the Chemistry courses and in their scheduling that were necessitated by the change.

    During the 60's a number of new chemistry courses were introduced.  This was made possible in part by the large increase in the size of the faculty and in part by the conversion to the quarter system allowing shorter courses to be taught.  To replace the courses in Biochemistry which had been taught since 1947 by Ed Painter, but were now being taught in the new Biochemistry Department, two new upper division courses in the Chemistry of Natural Products, taught by Ed Painter, were introduced. A new General Chemistry sequence for  students with a good math background and new upper division courses in Nuclear Chemistry lecture and lab were adopted.  The latter were taught by new radiochemistry faculty member John E. Warren. Also introduced were upper division level courses in Introduction to Molecular Structure and Spectra taught by Gary Maciel and in Advanced Inorganic Laboratory taught by Ken Musker; and four graduate level courses, one in Organometallic Compounds taught by George Zweifel, one in Heterocyclic Chemistry taught by Ed Friedrich, and two in Inorganic Chemistry.  

    In the early 1960s two foreign languages (German and French or Russian) were still required for the Ph.D. degree. In the late 1960s, this requirement was dropped to one foreign language. The language exams were administered for many years by George Zweifel and Hakon Hope.  In the late 1980s, after many discussions about the continuing value of  foreign languages in Chemistry and complicated by the possibility of allowing a computer language to count as a foreign language, all foreign language requirements for the were dropped.  There were also many other requirements for Ph.D. Students in the early days of the Chemistry graduate program which were subsequently modified or dropped.  Graduate Student Placement exams in organic, physical, inorganic and quantitative analysis were written and graded locally based on exams given in our regular undergraduate majors courses during the preceding year, and passing rates were low.  All Ph.D. students were required to take graduate level courses in Thermodynamics and in Kinetics.  They were also required to give an hour-long seminar each year with an 8-10 page abstract including literature references.  Typical T.A. loads were 12 hours per week of laboratory supervision along with office hours, exam grading and homework grading and answer posting.  Answer books for problems in the texts were not yet available. Some lecture and laboratory classes were taught on Saturday mornings.  However, there were no classes in the evenings when students and faculty were expected to attend 7:30PM seminars and afterward to spend a few hours doing research.

    Sometime around 1963 or 1964 a two-page mimeographed note of advice was written for the then and future Department secretaries concerning how to deal with the faculty members to whom they were assigned. It is not known if this was written by one "head" secretary, or through consensus of a group of secretaries, but it does give an interesting perspective of the faculty during this period  in other than their research and teaching activities.  Part of the note included a general statement, some of which is abstracted below.

"Bear in mind that these men are SCIENTISTS.  They are masters of their trade and expect you to be the same at yours.  They are very busy, hard-working men who should and usually do devote all their time to their profession.  There will be times when paths will cross the wrong way, but they need you just as bad as they need their little test tubes.  Let them depend on you to do the little things, as without your help they would be in pretty poor shape.  They need to be reminded constantly of most things.  Pamper them.  Help them in any way you can.  You are their secretary, clock-watcher, coffee maker, pencil sharpener, supply sergeant, and smile for the day.  They won't usually take advantage of you, but at times they expect you to be superwomen and may need to be put in their place if things get out of hand.  If you work together as a team with your faculty, you will love the Department and they will love you."

The remainder of the note to the secretaries included comments about working with individual Chemistry faculty members.  Selected examples of these which illustrate the problems of being a Chemistry secretary, but with names removed, are: "Be very accurate and fast with his work.  He is a perfectionist all the way."  "Remind him to give you his exams, and make a note to remind him to pick them up.  Sometimes he forgets!"  "You won't do much work for him, but he writes badly.   Go over everything with him before he leaves the room.  Lock and bar the door if you have to. Make rough drafts of everything he gives you ALWAYS."  "He must have his work done at his convenience and have it done fast!  He will tell you only once what he wants, but he is very thorough.  Don't be afraid of him, he doesn't like it.  Pay a lot of attention to him, he loves it."  Of course there were also a few "Non-Problem" faculty members.  One was referred to as "A gem of a man" and another as "He is very considerate and rarely has anything to give you except exams, which he always gives you in plenty of time."


    In 1970 Chemistry 10, Concepts of Chemistry designed for non-science majors, was set up and taught for the first time by Ed Friedrich.  Organic Spectroscopy 219 was taught for the first time by Bryan Miller.  The Department elected to offer the degree Candidate in Philosophy for the first time.  Chemistry 131 was changed in 1972 from an undergraduate physical organic course to an undergraduate organic synthesis course and taught as such for the first time and for many years thereafter by George Zweifel.  The brief 109A,B sequence in physical chemistry was changed to a three quarter 107A,B and 108 biologically related sequence to fill the special needs on campus.  Dave Volman became the Department Chair replacing Ray Keefer in 1974.

    Sometime during the 1971-72 academic year, Department Chair Ray Keefer sent out a letter to all of the past Chemistry graduates whose addresses were known asking them of their current activities and employment positions.  Only 47 of the 125 contacted replied, but based on these replies he wrote up a six-page mimeographed Newsletter which he sent out.  The first half gave a general report on the activities and recent changes in the Department, and the last half summarized replies received from the contacts with the former graduates.  An abstract of the general report half of the Newsletter with a few annotations is given below.

"The Davis campus continues to grow, and last Fall the enrollment was about 14,000 students, some 26% of whom were graduate students.  The Chemistry Department has seen a tremendous growth in its undergraduate course enrollments.  We are now offering General Chemistry 1A-B-C, Quantitative Analysis 5, and Organic 8A-B, and 112A-B-C every quarter at practically full enrollment.  This Fall the Department expanded into the basement and first three floors of the newly built five-story Chemistry Annex.  The Chemistry Library was moved from the north wing of the Chemistry Building to the new Physical Sciences Library which will serve chemistry, physics, geology and mathematics. (Note: The Chemistry faculty was not given keys to the new Physical Sciences Library as they had when the library was located in the Chemistry Building.  Thus, they could no long do research in the library after it had closed for the night.)  The chemistry addition and Physical Sciences Library, along with the new Physics-Geology-Mathematics building nearby, complete the physical science complex.  The intervening area has been beautifully landscaped and is considered to be one of the best architectural combinations on the campus.  The Machine Shop under Wasyl Krimetz has moved to the new addition allowing expansion of the Receiving facilities.  Al Fyfe has taken over as head of Receiving, Lawrence "Brick" Schneider and Pat Humphrey keep the Undergraduate and Research Storerooms under control, and the glass Blowing shop has expanded with the hiring of Bill Cobb as an assistant to Gene Sturgeon.  David Jenkins has been hired as assistant to Bob Uyesugi to take the place of Paul Jones in the Electronics Shop, John Voth as Staff Research Assistant keeps the spectrometers busy, and Alvin "Jake" Jacobson works part-time as Projectionist and in the basement Storeroom.  Joan Leaver heads up the secretarial staff which includes Una Hobkirk and Barbara Homer on the first floor, Doris Scarborough on the second floor, and Marie Ramey and Gloria Marquez on the third floor.  The graduate student enrollment has remained at about 79 with the entrance of 26 new graduate students this Fall.  There has been a noticeable influx of Chilean students and faculty into the Department as part of the Ford Foundation financed University of Chile / University of California Program.  Drs. Rock, Root and Swinehart are participants in the program.  The number of T.A. positions in the Department is 50.5, an increase from last year's 46, and there has been an increase in the GPA required to hold a teaching assistantship from 3.0 to 3.25.  Presently there are eight students holding either government or university-supported fellowships.  The faculty support this year from external grants stands at about $320,000.  Last year, 1970-71, fourteen students completed their Ph.D. degree and two were awarded the M.S. degree. Of those who received the Ph.D., three accepted academic positions, six are now in industrial positions, four obtained post-doctoral positions, and one is in the U.S. Army."


    Peter Rock became the Department Chair in 1980.  He was replace by Bryan Miller as the Chair sometime during this decade.   From 1987 to 1991 Tom Allen was the chair of the Academic Senate.  In 1987 Inorganic Chemistry 124 was expanded from a one quarter to a three quarter sequence and taught for the first time by Susan Kauzlarich, Phil Power and Jim Swinehart.

    The Department received a generous bequest from the Borge Estate in 1986 enabling the establishment of the Bradford Borge Graduate Scholarships in Chemistry.  On June 4, 1986, Louis Antone Borge of Stockton, CA died.  By his will, executed jointly with his wife Mamie H. Borge in 1973 and subsequently amended by a codicil of Louis Borge in 1981, various specific bequests to individuals were made and the residue of his estate was bequeathed as follows:

"2.  To the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA at Sacramento, California all of the rest, residue and remainder of my property, personal or real, tangible or intangible, for the purposes of establishing scholarships in the field of chemistry in the name of BRADFORD BORGE."

Bradford Louis Borge, born April 19, 1946 was the deceased child of Louis and Mamie Borge.  His obituary reported that he died accidentally near Bridgeport (Mono county) CA on February 21, 1970 .  He was survived by his wife Nancy Ann Borge of Riverside, CA.  Although the bequest was made to "University of California at Sacramento, California" the attorney who drew up the will confirmed that the donors had intended to benefit the Davis campus.  At present the background is not known behind why the bequest in memory of Bradford Louis Borge was made to the University of California, Davis and specifically for scholarships in Chemistry.  At the time the scholarship was established on November 18, 1987, the corpus was $428,502.16 in cash.  At its meeting on April 12, 1988, the Gifts and Bequests Review Committee recommended approval of allocation of the fund functioning as an endowment for scholarships in chemistry at UC Davis to be named the Bradford Borge Scholarship Fund, and this was approved by the Regents on May 20, 1988.


     Kevin Smith became the Department chair in 1990 replacing Bryan Miller.  In 1991-92 the courses in the 118 A,B,C organic lecture-laboratory sequence for pre-professional students in the health and life sciences were first offered.  Joyce Takahashi, Ed Friedrich and Krishnan Nambiar were involved in setting up and teaching them for the first time.  Many faculty members in Chemistry were lost to early retirement between 1991 to 1994 as part of a series of three "golden handshake" VERIP (Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program) offerings.  However, several of these returned to teach on recall which lessened the burden of the retirements on the Department teaching loads. The incentive to take early retirement in the last VERIP was 3 years of age (if needed to reach the age cutoff of 61 - any of the years not needed for age could be applied to service), 5 years of service and one month's salary.

    Alan Balch became the Department Chair in 1994. Also during the 1990's Fred Wood became Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education in the College of Letters and Sciences, Kevin Smith became Vice Chancellor of Research,  and Peter Rock became Dean of the new Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in the College of Letters and Science.  In 1997 Bryan Miller was elected chair of the Academic Senate, a position in which he served only briefly until his untimely death in 1998.  A lectureship was established in his memory.  Also, one of the new residence halls was named after him in 2007.  In 1997 Claude F. Meares became the Department Chair.  The Department received a combined $120,000 for a new Chemistry graduate fellowship endowment from former Davis undergraduate and Ph.D. student (1967) Fred Corson and his wife Mary Jane and the Dow Chemical Company.  Fred worked for Dow for 31 years and rose to the position of Vice President and Director of Research and Development for the company.