Oral history interview with Ernest H. Volwiler

Oral history interview with Ernest H. Volwiler

  • 1986-Aug-18

Ernest Volwiler begins this interview by briefly discussing his early years in Ohio, leading to college study at Miami University, where he first became interested in chemistry. He remembers the influence of faculty there and his wish to undertake graduate studies at the University of Illinois. He recounts the circumstances of his decision to proceed to the Ph.D. program after completion of his Master's degree. Research work with Roger Adams and the summer organic chemicals production enterprise helped to introduce Volwiler to drug synthesis. His long career with Abbott Laboratories started in organic synthesis, including some plant production responsibilities. Volwiler recalls Dr. Abbott as well as some of his fellow workers in the laboratories in the 1920s and 1930s. World War II saw the production of penicillin and company expansion. Volwiler was a member of the pharmaceutics investigating team sent to Germany immediately after the end of the war and he describes his experiences there. Post-war advancement led Volwiler to the presidency of Abbott Laboratories, and he discusses how he trimmed the production line and initiated development into new areas. His ACS activities culminated in his election as Society President in 1950. Volwiler ends his interview with Bohning by reflecting on the nature of the modern pharmaceutical industry.

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

Physical location


Cite as

Ernest H. Volwiler, interviewed by James J. Bohning in Lake Forest, Illinois on August 18, 1986. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0050. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/vh53ww850.

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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

5 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads