Mary Elvira Weeks
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Mary Elvira Weeks

Mary Elvira Weeks (1892-1975) was an American chemist and science historian who wrote Discovery of the Elements.


Weeks earned a bachelor's in chemistry in 1913 and shortly thereafter a master's degree. Initially, she worked as a high school teacher and chemical technician. In 1921, she took a job as a college instructor at the University of Kansas, where she achieved her Ph.D. in 1927. At Kansas, she carried a heavy teaching load and did not do extensive research.

Because her interests leaned to the humanities, Weeks was drawn to the history of chemistry. From 1932-1933, Weeks wrote a series of 21 articles on the discovery of the elements for the Journal of Chemical Education. The articles were collected and published in book form in 1935. Discovery of the Elements went through several editions over the years. Both book and the earlier articles were liberally illustrated with pictures of chemists from the collection of Frank B. Dains, an older Kansas colleague of Weeks.

In 1944, Weeks moved from Kansas to become a research librarian at Wayne State University. In 1946 or 1947, she began collaborating with Charles A. Browne on a retrospective history of the American Chemical Society. Browne was responsible for the structure of the project and about half the chapters. After Browne's death in 1947, Weeks continued the project to completion. A History of the American Chemical Society--Seventy-five Eventful Years was published in 1952.

Weeks retired from Wayne State in 1954 and remained in Detroit. In 1968, she won the Dexter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.[1]


  • Ihde, Aaron J.; A Quarter Century of Dexter Awards; 1981; unpublished manuscript, retained by the University of Pennsylvania Library. [Abridged version published Bulletin for the History of Chemistry 3 (1989): 11-12.] 2006 ACS publication

External links

  1. ^ "Dexter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry". Division of the History of Chemistry. American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2015.

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