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Charles G. Overberger Papers

  • 1965–1986
  • American
    Created and used by Charles Overberger
  • 5.5 linear feet
    Papers, artifacts, photographs
  • Gift of Charles Overberger
  • 92:11
  • Copyright restrictions may apply (contact CHF archivist).


Includes correspondence, memos, and reports related to Overberger’s activities with various professional organizations.

Background note

Charles Gilbert Overberger was born in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University (1941) and that same year entered the graduate program at the University of Illinois. In 1944 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Overberger studied with Carl Marvel and worked for him as a research associate from 1944 until 1946. He also studied with Arthur C. Cope at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Overberger began his teaching career at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, where he taught from 1947 until 1967, rising to the position of dean of science and director of the Polymer Research Institute. In 1967 he accepted a position as chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan. Overberger spent the remainder of his career at Michigan, where he established and became the first director of the Macromolecular Research Center. Overberger retired from the University of Michigan in 1989.

His chief research concerns were in the fields of synthetic organic reaction mechanisms and polymer chemistry. He was also concerned about the impact of chemistry on society and the role of the chemist in society. Overberger viewed chemistry as a mechanism for both scientific and social change. He died in 1997 after an extended illness.

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