Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Atherton Seidell Papers


Collection ID:
Seidell, Atherton, 1878-1961
circa 1932-1964
Physical Description:
1.5 Cubic feet
7 boxes
The collection documents Dr. Seidell's thoughts and processes about the subject of microfilming.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
The arrangement is original and reflects Dr. Seidell's thoughts and processes as he documented and studied microfilming. Series 1: Biographical contains a book of clippings collected by Dr. Seidell. These clippings represent his published articles and the rebuttals of others on the subject of the dissemination of information. Series 4: The Handmaiden, 1941-1961, deals with current lists of medical literature, both papers and bound proceedings and the index cards provide a detailed list of items found in each series as well as bibliographic information.


The collection is arranged into seven series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1946-1961
Series 2: Microfilming What, 1934-1959
Series 3: Microfilming How, 1934-1961
Series 4: The Handmaiden, 1941-1961
Series 5: Microfilming History, 1932-1960
Series 6: Microfilming Whither Now? 1951-1957
Series 7: Epilogue and Index, 1964

Biographical / Historical

Biographical / Historical
Atherton Seidell (1878-1961) was a research chemist. He earned a Bachelors degree from the University of Georgia (1898), a Masters from George Washington University (1901) and a Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University (1903). Seidell worked as a chemist for the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institute of Health and the United States Public Health Service. He authored the Solubilities of Inorganic and Organic Compounds, a compilation of classification of thousands of chemical compounds. He was an early advocate of microfilm copying services and put forth efforts to encourage more reference libraries to adopt microfilm copying as an extension of their services. He also believed that all recorded scientific knowledge should be made available to researchers and that publicly supported reference libraries should provide microfilming free of charge. Seidell established the Medicofilm Service at the Army Medical Library and founded the Current List of Medical Literature.


NMAH Staff
Custodial History
Collection transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Photographic History (now Division of Work and Industry) on May 12, 1992.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated to the Division of Photographic History by Vernon Tate in 1978.
Processing Information
Collection processed by NMAH Staff, 1992.

Using the Collection

Preferred Citation
Atherton Seidell Papers, circa 1932-1964, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction of some materials restricted due to copyright or trademark. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Microphotography -- History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tate, Vernon, Dr. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012