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Photograph of Garfield Eugene
CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas A. Lockard

Oral history interview with Eugene Garfield

  • 1987-Nov-16

Oral history interview with Eugene Garfield

  • 1987-Nov-16

Eugene Garfield begins this interview by recalling his youth in New York, his family background and early education. He describes his interest in the West, his first jobs in Colorado and California, and his brief military career, injury and subsequent medical discharge. Garfield continues by discussing his undergraduate degree in chemistry, the influence of his first ACS meeting and the Division of Chemical Literature on his life's work. He also talks about his participation in the Welch Medical Library project. In the middle portion of the interview, Garfield focuses on the origin and development of the Institute for Scientific Information [ISI] and its products, including major publications. He also describes his doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and difficulties in having his thesis approved. The interview concludes with a discussion of his patents for a copying device, an analysis of the successes of ISI, and speculation on ISI's future activities.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 46 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewers

Jeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Previously he served as vice president of corporate responsibility at Merck & Co., president of the Merck Company Foundation, and chairman of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa. Sturchio is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Healthy Next Generation of the World Economic Forum. He received an AB in history from Princeton University and a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0078

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • September 16, 1925
  • New York City, New York, United States
  • February 26, 2017
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1948 Columbia University BS Chemistry
1954 Columbia University MS Library Science
1961 University of Pennsylvania PhD Structural Linguistics

Professional Experience

Evans Research and Development Corporation

  • 1949 to 1950 Laboratory Chemist

Columbia University

  • 1950 to 1951 Research Chemist

Johns Hopkins University

  • 1951 to 1953 Staff member, Welch Machine Indexing Project

Eugene Garfield Associates

  • 1954 to 1960 President

Institute for Scientific Information

  • 1960 to 1992 President and CEO
  • 1992 Chairman
  • 1993 Chairman Emeritus

The Scientist, LLC

  • 1986 to 2000 Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
  • 2001 President

American Society for Information Science and Technology

  • 1998 to 2000 President


Year(s) Award
1953 to 1954 Grolier Society Fellow, Columbia University
1966 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1966 Fellow, Institute of Information Scientists
1975 Award of Merit, American Society of Information Scientists
1977 Hall of Fame Award, Information Industry Association
1977 Herman Skolnik Award, Division of Chemical Information, American Chemical Society
1978 Book Award for Best Information Science Book of 1977
1980 Award, Chemical Notation Society
1983 Patterson-Crane Award, American Chemical Society
1983 John Price Wetherill Medal, Franklin Institute
1984 Derek J. de Solla Price Memorial Medal, Scientometrics
1986 John Scott Award, City of Philadelphia
1987 Distinguished Alumni Award, Columbia University, School of Library Service
1988 Doctor (honoris causa), Vrije University, Brussels, Belgium
1990 Honorary PhD, State University of New York, Albany
1991 Honorary Fellow, Society for Technical Communication
1991 Honorary PhD , Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
1993 Honorary Fellow, Medical Libraries Association
1993 Honorary Foreign Member, Institute of Marine Biology, Vladivostok, Russia
1993 MD (honoris causa), University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy
1995 MD (honoris causa), Charles University, Czech Republic
1999 Avenue of Technology Award, Philadephia, Pennsylvania
2000 Professor Kaula Award for Library and Information Science, India
2007 Richard J. Bolte, Sr., Award for Supporting Industries, Chemical Heritage Foundation

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PDF — 2.6 MB

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

6 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads