Guide to the Papers of Adolf Frank (1834-1916)
1857-1964

AR 7176/MF 772

Processed by Michael Aldinger

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305

Email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2007 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey Oummia in September 2007. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Frank, Adolf, 1834-1916
Title: Adolf Frank Collection
Dates:1857-1964
Abstract: This collection contains material on Adolf and Albert Frank. Most of it is connected to Adolf Frank's career as a chemist and entrepreneur. The bulk of the material is business papers of various kinds, mostly minutes of meetings and correspondence. Notebooks and patent files can also be found. Prominent is material which shows Adolf Frank's role in the German wartime industry of World War I. Although most material is connected to Adolf Frank, information about Albert Frank is also included. Both are represented in personal papers that appear in the collection.
Languages: The collection is in German, English, Italian, and French.
Quantity: 4 linear feet + 5 tube boxes + 2 oversized boxes
Identification: AR 7176/MF 722
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Adolf Frank (1834-1916) was one of the leading chemists in nineteenth-century Germany. Born in 1834 in Kloette, he began his career as an apothecary's apprentice and received his license in 1857; afterwards he studied chemistry at the University of Berlin. He then obtained a position as a chemist with a beet-sugar refinery and used the results of his work there as a basis for his dissertation, which was accepted at the University of Goettingen in 1872.

In the late 1860s, Frank played a leading role in the development of Strassfurt potash deposits and their application as an agricultural fertilizer. He remained interested in the problems of German agriculture, especially its chemical aspects, for the rest of his life. After working for some years as a chemist with Charlottenburg Glaswerke, Frank resigned in 1885 to go into business for himself as an independent chemical consultant. His expertise covered many fields, with a focus on the cellulose industry in Germany and abroad.

Together with his co-worker Nicodem Caro, Frank invented a process for the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in 1895. This process, related to modern cyanamid manufacture, attracted interest in industrial circles, and with the backing of Deutsche Bank, Siemens & Halske, and Deutsche Gold und Silber Scheideanstalt the Cyanid Gesellschaft was founded in 1899 to exploit the process. At first the company was not commercially successful. It was only during and after World War I that the process was sufficiently refined to become profitable.

For many years Frank was on the Board of Directors of the Charlottenburg Municipal Gas Works and of the Vereinigte Chemische Werke. He received many awards, including an honorary professorship and the title of Geheimer Regierungsrat. Although eighty years old at the outbreak of World War I, he threw himself into war work, and this occupied most of his attention until his death in 1916.

Frank's son Albert (1872-1965) was also a chemist. He directed a pilot plant for the Cyanid Gesellschaft and did consulting work. In the early 1920s he became director of the Bayrische Stickstoff Werke. Albert Frank retained this position until his emigration to the USA in 1938. In America, Frank obtained a post with American Cyanamid for whom he had previously acted as German consultant. Albert Frank died in New York City in 1965.

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Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the material in this collection deals with the latter part of Adolf Frank's career, when he was active as a chemical consultant. The single largest part of the collection is material pertaining to the Cyanid Gesellschaft(Series II), including minutes of the Board of Director's meetings, yearly financial statements and an extensive correspondence of Frank with and about the corporation and its foreign subsidiaries. The material contains much information on finances, laboratory as well as engineering practices, and other aspects of the early twentieth-century chemical industry, especially on early attempts at the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen (Series III). There is also business related material concerning other companies, mainly the Vereinigte Chemische Werke (Series IX).

There is also considerable material on the Charlottenburg Municipal Gas Works (Series V). The matters discussed rang from personnel policy, the purchase of new equipment, and problems of environmental protection. A large portion of Frank's consulting work dealt with waste products and their governmental regulations, especially in his contracts with the cellulose industry (Series IV).

The collection holds also interesting material on the relationship between science, government and industry. During World War I, Frank was involved in a scheme to expropriate Belgium's phosphate-ore fields for use in producing fertilizer according to a process that he had invented himself (Series VI). There is also correspondence (Series VIII) and press clippings (Series XI) on the case of professor Paul Wagner, an agricultural chemist, who was accused of taking money from the potash syndicate and falsifying experimental results in their favor to boost fertilizer sales.

The correspondence of Adolf Frank's son Albert includes information on the chemical industry after World War I (Series IX). There are two interesting memoranda on the French chemical industry and the conditions of doing business in France during the late 1920s. There is also correspondence with I.G. Farben on the possibility of joint projects between that company and the Bayerische Stickstoff-Werke.

The collection also houses material on the practice of chemical research and its industrial application with a number of laboratory notebooks, covering the period from the 1870s until the first decades of the twentieth century (Series X); patent files of chemical processes (Series VII); and plans for industrial facilities (Series XII). There are also numerous clippings on the chemical industry; on political events during World War I; and on the immediate postwar era (Series XI). In addition, the collection holds several of Adolf and Albert Frank's birth and university certificates (Series XII). A selection of published and unpublished manuscripts ( Series I and XI) by Adolf Frank and personal papers by Adolf and Albert Frank (Series I) round out the collection.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged in twelve series as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011
email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Custodial History

[information about the chain of ownership of the materials being described, before reaching the archive]

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Microfilm

Collection is available on forteen reels of microfilm:

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Adolf Frank Collection; AR 7176/MF722; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Container List

 

Series I: Personal Papers, 1857-1956

This series is in German.
0.25 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

Series I contains Adolf and Albert Frank's personal papers. The bulk consists of Adolf Frank's papers. Prominent among them is his curriculum vitae from 1915, just one year before his death. Other papers document his career. Albert Frank's papers give little information about his life and career; prominent among them is a lecture about the Carbide/ Cyanamid industry and his father Adolf Frank. In addition, various published photo albums can be found.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Adolf Frank: Curriculum Vitae1915
12Adolf Frank: apothecary licensing exam1857
13Adolf Frank: business papers on the Sale of pharmacy1877
14Adolf Frank: correspondence, speeches and various material1905-1914; undated
15Adolf Frank: Certificate of honorary membership1912
16Obituaries to Adolf Frank's death1916
17Special issue of journal dedicated to one of Adolf Frank's coworker1931
18Albert Frank: personal and school papers1892-1894; [1939]; 1948
19Albert Frank: financial papers1921-1927
110Albert Frank: lecture about the Carbide/ Cyanamid industry and Adolf FrankApril 26, 1956
111Photo album: Chicago world fair1893
112Photo album: Parisundated
113Photo album: Bayerichsche Stickstoff-/Kraftwerkeundated
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Series II: Cyanid Gesellschaft, 1892-1915

This series is in German, English and some Italian.
0.75 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

Series II contains papers of the Cyanid Gesellschaft. The bulk is correspondence about the development and founding of the company by Adolf Frank and later correspondence with Adolf Frank and the Cyanid Gesellschaft. Additionally minutes of board meetings can be found, as well as correspondence with foreign subsidiaries of the Cyanid Gesellschaft.

BoxFolderTitleDate
114Correspondence concerning the commercial application of his nitrogen fixation process1892-1899
115Correspondence on the founding of the Cyanid Gesellschaft1895-1899
116Correspondence with the Cyanid Gesellschaft1903
117Correspondence with the Cyanid Gesellschaft1904-1906
118Correspondence with the Cyanid Gesellschaft1909-1914
119Correspondence concerning Swiss subsidiary1904-1905
120Correspondence concerning Brandenburgisches Carbidwerk1905
121Draft and contracts for the Italian subsidiaryundated, 1905
122Correspondence with Italian subsidiary1905-1915
123Minutes: Meeting of the Board (Aufsichtsrat)1903-1904
124Minutes: Meeting of the Board (Aufsichtsrat)1905-1909
125Minutes: Meeting about building a new facility1902
126Notes on licensing arrangements[1905]
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Series III: Material on Fixation of Atmospheric Nitrogen,  1898-1916

This series is in German, with some French and Italian.
0.15 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

This series holds various types of material with one common topic: the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. Information about the development of this chemical process can be found in Adolf Frank's correspondence between several companies, i.e. the Cyanid Gesellschaft, but also in correspondence with his son Albert Frank and in clippings. In addition there is a confidential report on the German atmospheric nitrogen industry from 1911.

BoxFolderTitleDate
21Correspondence: Adolf with Albert Frank1900; 1906-1913
22Correspondence: Adolf Frank with Fausto Morani1909-1910
23General Correspondence1898-1916
24Minutes of the Stickstoffkomission1916 December 29
25Working contract between Albert Frank and the Stickstoff Werke1916 August 15
26Material of the Cyanid Gesellschaft1902-1903, 1909
27Confidential report on the German atmospheric nitrogen industry1911 December
28Clippings1903-1914
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Series IV: Cellulose-Manufacture of Paper,  1886-1908

This series is in German.
0.25 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

Series IV contains documents on the manufacturing of paper. The bulk of the material is chemical expertise by Adolf Frank about several facilities in Germany, but also in other European countries. In the case of Kuebler & Niethammer, legal issues connected to the production process are documented. There is also a report of a study trip in Prussia, and some correspondence concerning the cellulose process.

BoxFolderTitleDate
29Report of study trip in Prussia1891-1894
210Cellulosefabrik in Czulow, Germany (now Poland)1886
211Papier- und Zellulosestofffabrik in Unterkochen, Germany1889
212Kuebler and Niethammer facility in Kriebstein, Germany1891
213Facility in Saaralben, Germany (now Sarralbe, France)1891
214J.C. Frenckell and Son in Tammerfors, Finnland1891-1892
215Leykam-Josefthaler Papierfabrik in Goertschach, Germany1892
216Cellulosefabrik in Wartha, Germany1892-1893
217Facility in Barcelona, Spain1893
218Facility in Wittingen, Germany1894
219Koenigsberger Zellstofffabrik in Koenigsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia)1890-1908
220Various expertise and correspondenceundated, 1892, 1907
221Various correspondence1904-1906
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Series V: Charlottenburg Gas Works,  1898-1905

This series is in German.
0.20 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

Series V contains the correspondence of Adolf Frank concerning the Charlottenburg Gas Works in Berlin and other public facilities. Folder 25 contains clippings on the same topic.

BoxFolderTitleDate
222Correspondence1898-1900
223Correspondence1905-1913
224Correspondence1913-1914
225Clippings1912-1915
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Series VI: World War I, 1914-1916

This series is in German.
0.20 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

This Series holds all documents of Adolf Frank that are related to World War I. Among them is correspondence about the expropriation of Belgian land to exploit it for the German chemical industry, as well as documents on the wartime chemical industry. Prominent among them is correspondence dealing with the warfare usage of poison gas. In addition there are clippings dealing with the wartime German chemical industry.

BoxFolderTitleDate
226Letter to Fritz Haber about wartime agriculture and reply1914
227Letter by Adolf Frank to the Kriegsministerium about the use of 'Stinkbomben' and reply1914-1915
228Correspondence, reports and drafts on the German wartime chemical industry1914-1915
229Correspondence, reports and drafts on the expropriation of Belgian land1914-1916
230Clippings on the wartime chemical industry1914-1915
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Series VII: Patent Files,  1886-1911

This series is in German.
0.20 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

This series contains several patent files of Adolf Frank. The bulk is about chemical processes, which were patented from 1893 to 1916. One patent is filed jointly with Nicodem Caro.

BoxFolderTitleDate
231Manufacture of phosphorus, phosphoric salts and acid1893-1898
232Patent together with Nicodem Caro for the manufacture of cyanogen compounds1895-1899
233Manufacture of hydrosulfites1900-1902
234Manufacture of fertilizer1907-1916
235Manufacture of low nitrogen content water1914
236Manufacture of basic magnesium1915-1916
237Various patent files1886; 1908, 1911
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Series VIII: General Correspondence,  1873-1913

This series is in German, with some English.
0.30 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

The General Correspondence Series holds various correspondences by Adolf Frank. The earliest correspondence dates back to 1873, but the bulk of the writings covers the time between 1900 and 1913. Most of the correspondence is of a professional nature, dealing with chemical processes and their business possibilities. One folder contains correspondence by Albert Frank.

BoxFolderTitleDate
31Adolf Frank: phosphate deposits in Kalusz (Kalush, Ukraine)1873, 1910
32Adolf Frank: Birkenfeld diatomite mines in Celle, Germany1883-1897
33Adolf Frank: various on the chemical industryundated, 1885, 1894, 1908, 1912
34Adolf Frank: various professional opinions1891-1902
35Adolf Frank: concerning the manufacture of lampblack from acetylene1903-1908
36Adolf Frank: on the use of lampblack for the manufacture of pigments with several sketches1904
37Adolf Frank: Correspondence with Kommerzienrat Delbreuck1905
38Adolf Frank: Correspondence with his American relatives about the potential of his fertilizer in the American West1905-1906
39Adolf Frank: with Herman Meyer1906
310Adolf Frank: with the Justus Liebig Stiftung, concerning the Paul Wagner scandal1907-1911
311Adolf Frank: with the coal mine Langenbrahm in Essen, Germany1911-1913
312Adolf Frank: with American engineers, concerning the possibility of a long distance natural gas pipeline1913
313Albert Frank: with the Frankolin acetylene purifying company1905-1907
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Series IX: Corporate Papers,  1905-1936

This series is in German, with some English.
0.40 linear foot
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

Series IX holds corporate papers from various companies connected to Adolf and Albert Frank. Among those papers are the annual reports of the Vereinigte Chemische Werke. Most of this correspondence belongs to Albert Frank who directed the companies after his father's death. Prominent among them is correspondence between the Vereingte Chemische Werke and I.G. Farben after the Nazi Party seizure of power.

BoxFolderTitleDate
314Vereinigte Chemische Werke: annual reports1905-1909
315Vereinigte Chemische Werke: annual reports1910-1911
316Vereinigte Chemische Werke: annual reports1912-1913
317Vereinigte Chemische Werke: annual reports1914-1916
318Adolf Frank: Correspondence with the Brandenburgisches Carbidwerk1906-1907
319Albert Frank: Correspondence with the Brandenburgisches Carbidwerk1916-1931
320Albert Frank: Bayerische Stickstoffwerke with Deutsche Bank1920-1922
321Albert Frank: Vereinigte Chemische Werke with Bamag Meguin1925-1933
322Albert Frank: Vereinigte Chemische Werke with Bamag Meguin1934-1936
323Albert Frank: Vereinigte Chemische Werke with I.G. Farben1934-1936
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Series X: Notebooks,  1876-1905

This series is in German.
0.30 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

This series includes notebooks by Adolf and Albert Frank. The bulk of this series is Adolf Frank's laboratory notebooks from various companies about different chemical processes. There are also some notebooks of Albert Frank from his time at the university.

BoxFolderTitleDate
324Adolf Frank: Laboratory notebooks from the Gesellschaft fuer Glashuettenbetrieb1876-1878
325Adolf Frank: Laboratory notebook concerning experiments with kieserite1877
326Adolf Frank: Laboratory notebooks concerning the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen1896
327Adolf Frank: Laboratory notebooks from the Cyanid Gesellschaft1903-1905
328Adolf Frank: Various laboratory notebooksundated
329Albert Frank: Notebooks from the university1889-1894
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Series XI: Clippings,  1881-1964

This series is in German, with some English.
0.75 linear foot.
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

This series consists of articles by Adolf Frank, correspondence with journals and collected clippings. The clippings make up the bulk of the series and cover topics about chemistry, as well as politics.

BoxFolderTitleDate
41Various articles by Adolf Frank1884-1915
42Correspondence with journals1881-1889
43Potash mining: collected clippings; articles and essays by Adolf Frank1964
441888-1911
45Clippings: German chemical industry1894, 1908
46Clippings: Acetyleneundated, 1899
47Clippings: Adolf Frank1907
48Clippings: Paul Wagner affair1910-1912
49Clippings: Societies, Adolf Frank was a member of1911
410Clippings: German domestic politics1917
411Clippings: German domestic politics1919
412Clippings: Question of war guilt1919
413Clippings: German domestic politics1920
414Clippings: World War I1920
415Clippings: Literature and theater[1920]
416Clippings collected by Albert Frank: Emergency decree on tax evasion1931
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Series XII: Certificates and Oversized Materials, 1863-1928

This series is in German.
5 tube boxes, 1 oversized box, and 4 oversized folders
Arrangement:

Topical and Chronological

Scope and Content:

Series XII contains the certificates of Adolf and Albert Frank. The certificates are for birthdays or university diplomas. The oversized materials are drafts and blueprints for production facilities and machinery.

BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 121Adolf Frank: Diploma in chemistry1863
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1041Adolf Frank: Certificate from Kuxen Zeitung on 70th birthday1904
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 122Adolf Frank: Honorary diploma from the Technische Hochschule Dresden
OSL 123Adolf Frank: Memory poster of an exhibition1912
OSL 124Adolf Frank: Honorary diploma from the Universitaet Goettingen1913
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1042Adolf Frank: Certificate from the Verein der Zellstoff- und Papierchemiker1913
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 125Adolf Frank: Certificate on the 80the birthday from the Chemische Gesellschaft1914
OSL 126Adolf Frank: Certificate on the 80th birthday from the Verein deutscher Chemiker1914
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 1043Adolf Frank: Certificate on the 80th birthday from the Acetylenverein1914
OS 1044Adolf Frank: Certificate from the Museumsverein fuer das Beleuchtungs-, Heizungs- und Wasserwesen1915
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 127Adolf Frank: Graph for a factoryundated
OSL 128Albert Frank: Doctoral diploma in chemistry from the Universitaet Goettingen1899
OSL 129Albert Frank: Honorary diploma from the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt1928
OSL 1210Albert Frank: Certificate on the 60th birthday from the Bayerische Stickstoffwerke1932
BoxFolderTitleDate
TB 13Various architectural and industrial facility plansundated
BoxFolderTitleDate
TB 14Three blueprints and two prints on silk for a Russfabrikationsanlageundated
BoxFolderTitleDate
TB 15Various architectural and industrial facility plans; posterundated
BoxFolderTitleDate
TB 16Plans and blueprint for a Generatorenretortenofenundated
BoxFolderTitleDate
TB 17Plan for the Generatorenretortenofenundated
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