Portrait of chemist and industrial consultant Charles Holmes Herty (1867-1938) best known for his contributions to the turpentine and pulp industries in the United States.
Charles Holmes Herty was born on December 4, 1867 in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Bernard Herty and Louisa Holmes. After obtaining a degree in chemistry from the University of Georgia, Herty continued his education in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University under the direction of Ira Remsen (1846-1927). In 1890, Herty received his Ph.D. and subsequently obtained employment as an assistant chemist at the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1891, Herty became an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia, where he taught for nine years before taking a sabbatical leave for the 1899-1900 academic year. During his sabbatical, Herty traveled to the Universities of Zurich and Berlin to collaborate with noted chemists Alfred Werner (1866-1919) and Otto N. Witt (1853-1915), among others.
Following his return to the United States, Herty applied the knowledge obtained during his time in Europe to the development of the turpentining industry in the South. From 1921 to 1926, Herty served as president of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers’ Association and subsequently worked with Francis P. Garvan (1875-1937) as an advisor at the Chemical Foundation, Inc. During World War I, Herty notably worked to develop the chemico-medical industry in the U.S. to address the lack of needed chemical and medical supplies.
For his contributions to chemistry, Herty received medals from the American Institute of Chemists (1932) and the Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society (1934); additionally, a town and elementary school in Texas were named in Herty's honor. Charles Holmes Herty died on July 27, 1938 in Savannah, Georgia of complications from a series of heart attacks suffered a few months prior.
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