Allen G. Debus grew up in Evanston, a suburb to the north of Chicago, where he attended public schools. He earned a BS in chemistry, with almost enough credits for a second major in history. After working at Abbott Laboratories for about five years, Debus decided to seek a Ph.D. in the history of science, at Harvard University under I. Bernard Cohen. He accepted an assistant professorship at University of Chicago and became the first director of the Morris Fishbein Center for the Study of the History of Science and Medicine. Debus wanted to study the place of chemistry in the scientific revolution with materials available to all; to that end he has a large collection of rare books from this time period, a collection he began in the early 1940's. He says that he has about 650 such books, the earliest from 1501.
Allen G. Debus, interviewed by James J. Bohning in Deerfield, Illinois on March 29, 2007. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0365. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/3n203z96r.
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