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Gordon Research Conferences Records

  • 1911–2001
  • American
    Created by officers of the Gordon Research Conferences
  • 92 linear feet
    Papers, photographs
  • Gift of the Gordon Research Conferences
  • 01:16.001 (records), 01:16.002 (images)
  • Copyright restrictions may apply (contact CHF archivist).


Includes the professional papers of Neil E. Gordon that are related to the Gibson Island Conferences. Also includes the director’s files of several Gordon Research Conference directors.

Background note

The Gordon Research Conferences, an educational, nonprofit organization, arranges and administers scientific conferences. In order to foster the free and frank exchange of ideas, note taking is discouraged and no formal records of the conferences are published.

Initiated in 1931 by Neil E. Gordon and originally operated under the aegis of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the conferences were first convened on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. In 1935 they were relocated to Gibson Island in the Chesapeake Bay. After 1938 they became known as the AAAS–Gibson Island Conferences. Gordon relinquished control of the conferences in 1944 to his assistant, Sumner B. Twiss, and in 1947 the conferences were again relocated to the campus of Colby Junior College in New London, New Hampshire. The conferences were renamed in Gordon’s honor. As the conferences grew, they spread to several other small colleges in the area, and in 1956 the Gordon Research Conferences were officially incorporated in the state of New Hampshire.

Five individuals have led the he Gordon Research Conference since its inception: W. George Parks (1947–1968), Alexander M. Cruickshank (1968–1993), Carlyle B. Storm (1993–2003), and Nancy Ryan Gray (2003–present). The conferences have continued to spread, first to the West Coast, then to Europe and on to Asia. The Gordon Research Conferences can now be regarded as an international scientific phenomenon.

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Arnold O. Beckman

CHF’s Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry was started with a generous grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1987.



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