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J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records

Identifier: 2014-013

Scope and Content

The J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records contain the corporate records of J.T. Baker Chemical Company. Begun in anticipation of J.T. Baker’s 75th Anniversary, this collection is a selection of records thought to be of interest in telling the story of the firm. The contents of these records consist mainly of materials generated during the 1970s-1980s. The main focus of these records is on J.T. Baker’s marketing and public relations efforts.

The collection is arranged into the following ten series:

  1. J.T. Baker 75th Anniversary
  2. J.T. Baker Corporate History
  3. Finance & Marketing
  4. Strategic Planning
  5. Research & Production Files
  6. Topical Files
  7. Nobel Laureates Lecture Series
  8. Product Catalogs & Price Lists
  9. Publicity and Advertising
  10. Publications


  • Creation: 1911-1999
  • Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk 1970-1989


Language of Materials

A majority of the materials in these records are in English. Also includes a small amount of Dutch.

Access Restrictions

The J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records are open to researchers with the exception of the following materials:

In Series V, selected items in Sub-series 2 - Research Files are closed to researchers until May 2, 2034.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

J.T. Baker Chemical Company was an American chemical manufacturer. Founded in 1904 by John Townsend Baker (1860-1935), the firm was established for the purpose of manufacturing chemically pure reagents. From its founding, the firm’s mission was to produce chemicals of the “highest degree of purity commercially possible.”

J.T. Baker was the first chemical company to include labels listing accurate analyses of trace impurities on its products. By telling customers exactly what they were getting, these “Baker Analyzed” labels saved academic and industrial chemists a considerable amount of time and rework, and increased confidence in the accuracy of their lab results. This innovation helped J.T. Baker acquire an excellent reputation. Capitalizing on this hard-earned respect, J.T. Baker began publishing The Chemist-Analyst in 1911. This publication became both a sounding-board for the firm’s philosophy and a valued “how-to” guide. It also gave ample advertising space to the newest “Baker Analyzed” products.

The firm’s founder John Townsend Baker died in 1935. In 1941, his company was acquired by Vick Chemical Company (which was renamed Richardson-Merrell, Incorporated in 1960 and Richardson-Vicks, Incorporated in 1980). Under Vick Chemical, J.T. Baker diversified its product line. During World War II, necessity caused the firm to move into the production of penicillin, pesticides, and component chemicals used in the manufacture of batteries and munitions. After the war, J.T. Baker continued to diversify into areas such as high-purity solvents, chromatography columns, and spill kits for hazardous waste disposal. In 1985, J.T. Baker and its corporate parent Richardson-Vicks were sold to Procter & Gamble Company. This was done to prevent an attempted hostile takeover of Richardson-Vicks by Unilever N.V.

In 1995, Mallinckrodt, Incorporated purchased J.T. Baker from Procter & Gamble, and formed Mallinckrodt Baker, Incorporated. By this time, J.T. Baker had moved heavily into the areas of ceramics, microelectronics, and biopharmaceuticals. In 2000, Tyco International acquired Mallinckrodt Baker and made it part of its Tyco Healthcare Division. In 2007, Tyco Healthcare Division was spun off as an independent company and re-named Covidien. New Mountain Capital purchased Mallinckrodt Baker from Covidien in 2010 and renamed the company Avantor, Incorporated. Today, J.T. Baker Chemicals functions as one of the family of Avantor Performance Materials Brands.


Avantor - J.T. Baker Website -

J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


34.2 Linear Feet (25 Boxes)


Corporate records of J.T. Baker Chemical Company, an American chemical manufacturer.

Acquisition Information

The J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by J.T. Baker Chemical Company in 2014.

Related Materials

There are no other known archival collections created by J.T. Baker Chemical Company preserved at the date of processing.

The following related archival collections are preserved at the Science History Institute Archives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

  1. Dow Chemical Historical Collection.
  2. Records of Hercules, Incorporated.
  3. Rohm & Haas Company Archives.
  4. Records of the Commercial Solvents Corporation.
  5. Aldrich Chemical Company Collection.

The Richardson-Vicks, Incorporated Records are preserved at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Processing Information

The J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records were processed by Andrew Mangravite in May 2014.

J.T. Baker Chemical Company History Records
Finding aid created by Andrew Mangravite and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Finding aid revised by Kenton G. Jaehnig

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19106 United States
215.873.5265 (Fax)