Oral history interview with William John Bailey

Oral history interview with William John Bailey

  • 1986-Jun-03

The interview begins with William Bailey describing his upbringing in rural Minnesota, where his family operated a small lumber business. An outstanding high school teacher sparked Bailey's interest in science, and he focused on chemistry during his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, where Lee Irving Smith was a major influence. Smith was largely responsible for Bailey's move to Illinois for graduate work with C. S. "Speed" Marvel and subsequent research on polymer synthesis. After a year at MIT as postdoctoral assistant to Cope, Bailey began his teaching career at Wayne State University, where he undertook his noted combination of organic and polymer chemistry. Five years after going to Detroit, Bailey accepted a research professorship at the University of Maryland, where he spent the rest of his career. The interview concludes with an account of Bailey's long involvement with the American Chemical Society, including his presidency in 1975 and his thoughts on the current image of chemistry.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 50 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Related URL
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

William John Bailey, interviewed by James J. Bohning in University of Maryland, College Park on June 3, 1986. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0012. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/gh93h041p.

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Transcript (Published Version)

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

7 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads