Oral history interview with Madeleine M. Joullié

Oral history interview with Madeleine M. Joullié

  • 1991-Apr-23

The interview begins with Dr. Joullié's description of her early life and education in Brazil. Her father sent her to Simmons College in the United States, where she received her undergraduate degree before obtaining her master's and doctoral degrees in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Her mentor, Dr. Allan R. Day, advised her to teach at Penn, where she met and married fellow professor Richard E. Prange. Here Joullié describes Day's teaching and mentoring skills, along with her own views on educating students in the scientific fields and Penn's educational climate, mentioning Charles C. Price. In 1953, Joullié became organic chemistry instructor at Penn. Early on, she overhauled and ran the chemistry laboratories and stockroom. She conducted research on fingerprint reagents for the U. S. Secret Service and is now focusing on cyclic peptides. She reminisces about some of her former students. With Mildred Cohn, Joullié implemented affirmative action guidelines that led to more hiring of women and minorities in tenure-track positions at Penn. Also, she helped institute professional guidelines for chemists through the American Chemical Society. While on a Fulbright scholarship in Brazil, Joullié wrote a book in Portuguese on heterocyclic chemistry. Later, she acted as consultant for Western Electric and Shell. She is collaborating with Paul B. Weisz on angiogenesis research and is also working on a cholinesterase inhibitor for Alzheimer's disease. The interview concludes with a discussion of trends in chemistry textbooks, highlighting Organic Chemistry, which Joullié co-authored with Day.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 72 pages
  • 3 h 55 m 42 s
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute
Digitization funder
  • Audio synchronization made possible through the generous funding of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.

Physical location

Oral history number 0092

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • March 29, 1927
  • Paris, France


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1949 Simmons College (Boston, Mass.) BSc Chemistry
1950 University of Pennsylvania MSc Chemistry
1953 University of Pennsylvania PhD Organic Chemistry

Professional Experience

University of Pennsylvania

  • 1953 to 1957 Instructor
  • 1957 to 1959 Research Associate
  • 1959 to 1968 Assistant Professor
  • 1968 to 1974 Associate Professor
  • 1974 to 1994 Professor


Year(s) Award
1972 Philadelphia Section Award, American Chemical Society
1978 Garvan Medal, American Chemical Society
1984 Faculty Award, American Cyanamid Company
1985 Scroll Award, American Institute of Chemists
1991 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching
1991 Class of 1970 Endowed Chair
1991 Philadelphia Section Award, AWIS
1994 POCC Award, Philadelphia Organic Chemists Club
1994 Henry Hill Award, American Chemical Society

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PDF — 712 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

9 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads