Who Is This? National Chemical Expo 1970

    By Josh Kurutz, Section Historian

    Kodachrome slides in a box labeled “NCE 1970” were recently discovered in the archive, sparking an inquiry into what was once a major preoccupation of the Chicago Section: the National Chemical Exposition. The NCE was a multifaceted event similar to a National ACS meeting, involving technical talks, booths hosted by companies, sponsored displays of recent advances in chemistry, exhibits of photography and artwork by chemists, and other activities.

    The people shown here in such rich color and displaying sharp 1960’s fashion sense were apparently the NCE organizing committee. The organizational meeting was apparently held in October 1969 at the Chicago Section offices at 86 E. Randolph St., in Chicago, kittycorner from where Millennium Park is today. Unfortunately, these beautiful slides were unmarked except for the date, the identities of these chemists are unrecorded.

    The full gallery of these photos, which can be expanded for better viewing, is now found on our website:

    If you know who any of these people are, please send an email to: historian-at-chicagoacs-dot-org.

    CLUES: The September 1969 and October 1970 issues of the Chemical Bulletin include rosters of elected officers, committee chairs, and trustees for various funds owned by the Section. The ‘Exposition Trustees” of the time included Roy Bible, Grant Barlow, L. W. Clemence, F. K. Kauffmann, and R. P. Mariella, and they may be among the ones depicted. Barlow is also listed as the Chair of the ad hoc National Chemical Exposition committee. To the Historian’s eye, NCE70-2 looks like Roy Bible; do you agree?

    The NCE was a “grand undertaking … conceived in 1940”, according to 1975-76 Chair Louis Sacco, Jr. in his October 1978 Chemical Bulletin article, “The National Chemical Exposition: Child of the Chicago Section ACS”.[1] Apparently, the NCE was a major production that generated funds whose interest continues to support our activities. From 1940 to 1955 the almost-annual event was held exclusively in Chicago, but in 1956 began to travel to other cities.[2] In 1978, the National ACS Council decided that the NCE must stop as an independent event, apparently merging with the Expo portion of the national meetings.

    The NCE is clearly an important part of Chicago Section History, and it must be investigated further. Stay tuned.


    THANKS go to Dolores Kenney, Fran Kravitz, and Steve Cohen for their help with the March and February Who Is This? identifications.

    We’re still looking for identities of ETE-1, HAZ-1, and HAZ-2 of the March column:

    …and 9405-B, -C, -D, and –E of the February column:


    [1] Chemical Bulletin (1978), Oct p.2

    [2] Chemical Bulletin (1956), May p.10

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