General Chemistry, Second Edition

[An examination of General Chemistry, published by Linus Pauling seventy years ago. This is part 4 of 7.]

Linus Pauling and his publisher, William H. Freeman, were in the planning stages for a second edition of General Chemistry before the first edition had even hit the bookstores in 1947. Nonetheless, the second edition didn’t appear until 1953. Because so many reviewers had taken issue with the advanced nature of General Chemistry, Pauling made the decision to author an entirely different textbook, College Chemistry, which would be written for and marketed to introductory college classes and advanced high school students. Published in 1950, College Chemistry proved to be less controversial with its reviewers than was the first edition of General Chemistry, as it more closely followed the standard conventions that one might expect of an introductory textbook.

This favorable response pleased Pauling, Freeman, and Roger Hayward, who had provided the illustrations again, but it also drew significant time and attention away from progress on the second edition of General Chemistry. The trio had originally planned to have their revision out by spring 1950, but the deadline was continually pushed back as Pauling grew increasingly busy with travel and work on College Chemistry. With the initial goal of spring 1950 turning into winter of 1951 and then spring of 1952, a final hard deadline of January 1953 was ultimately issued by Bill Freeman. At long last, the second edition that the three men had been dreaming about since 1948 finally entered the world’s classrooms in September 1953.


Ava Helen and Linus Pauling’s passport photo. 1953.

While College Chemistry may have been the main culprit behind the delays that hampered the second edition, it wasn’t the only factor. More than anything, Linus Pauling was just busy, and in new ways. Most notably, in addition to his teaching, his research, and his work on two textbooks, the pace of Pauling’s political work had picked up significantly.

A forceful and sometimes isolated voice during the era of the Red Scare, Pauling was castigated for his beliefs by the mainstream media and persecuted by his government as well. In 1952, Pauling was famously denied passport clearance to leave the country, casting him and Ava Helen into a world of sudden uncertainty. Although he was eventually granted the right to travel in time to leave for a planned trip to Oxford, the experience caused a great deal of stress and distraction to say the least. In fact, Pauling made note of editing galley proofs of the second edition at JFK airport just before he and Ava Helen departed. And while there was some concern that Pauling’s beliefs might affect his sales, any dip of this sort does not appear to have come about. One reviewer went so far as to write Pauling directly to commend his political activism.


Between 1947 and 1953, with the second edition delayed again and again, the Freeman company released several revised printings of the first edition that corrected minor typographical and numerical errors, but did not change the content itself. In this, both author and publisher were signaling their intent to seriously consider reviewer comments and to continually improve the book. Ava Helen Pauling helped immensely in this regard, handling many of the error corrections from home so that her husband could focus on other projects.

That said, this revision process was not without its issues. Most notably, at one point Bill Freeman was compelled to inform his author that the projected cost for plate changes that Pauling had ordered was going to approximate the total profits that had, so far, been accrued by both General Chemistry and College Chemistry combined. Noting this, he urged Pauling to go back through his manuscript and revoke any changes that were not strictly typographical or related to errors in fact. Pauling quickly agreed, admitting that he had requested edits in any instance where felt that the style of his book could be improved, as well as the technical content.


Once it became available, reviewers of the second edition of General Chemistry noticed right away that it differed from the first edition significantly. Responding to some of the more consistent concerns expressed about the first edition, Pauling expanded his chapters on gas law, organic chemistry, and atomic physics, as well as his treatment of metals. He also added two chapters, “The Electron and the Nucleus” and “Quantum Theory and Molecular Structure.” Roger Hayward was once again enlisted to improve old illustrations and to add several new ones.

Reviewer Stanley Bruce was among those who were struck by Pauling’s fine-tuning.

I was particularly interested to note the order of presentation of topic, the deletion of much of the less important factual material on organic chemistry, the inclusion of certain topics in physical chemistry…the refined discussion of some topics…and the important emphasis on structural chemistry.

Indeed, commenters typically appreciated that Pauling had included more discussion to support his claims and had incorporated deeper analyses of modern theories. The second edition also contained a great many clarifications of terms that users of the first edition had found confusing.

On the downside, Pauling’s attempts to improve the accessibility of his text for a more introductory audience seems to have created problems with consistency. One reviewer commented that “Pauling seems to vacillate between highly technical language (which is above our students’ heads) and simplified language which seems to me inaccurate.” Another accused Pauling of mixing high school-level concepts with Ph.D.-level treatments.

In the main however, feedback for the second edition was overwhelmingly positive. Generally speaking, the novel treatment of subjects that had proven so enticing in the first edition once again won out over complaints about the organization or rigor of the book. One reviewer gushed that Pauling’s “Words flow like water down the Madison – sure, forceful, and effortless.” Though a few colleagues continued to grumble over Pauling’s selection of theories, the consensus was that the second edition marked “the end of purely descriptive chemistry.”

Meanwhile, thanks largely to the success of General Chemistry, Freeman and Co. was doing well. Buoyed by his early successes, Bill Freeman expanded his staff, hiring Theodore McClintock and Stanley Schaefer to serve as the firm’s primary editors. Schaefer in particular proved to be a crucial hire. Eventually he became president of the company and he later served as chairman of the board of directors following Freeman & Co.’s corporate merge with Scientific American in 1964.

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General Chemistry: Reactions to the First Edition

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[An examination of General Chemistry, published by Linus Pauling seventy years ago. This is part 3 of 7.]

The first edition of Linus Pauling’s General Chemistry textbook was published by W.H. Freeman and Co. in August 1947, and almost immediately the comment cards poured in. The majority of the book’s readers praised Pauling’s refreshingly modern approach to the principles of chemistry. They considered his focus on modern chemical principles, with only brief and necessary digressions into historical background, a welcome innovation in textbook design.

Many also were also impressed by Pauling’s clear and direct approach to his subject matter, with one reviewer commenting that

[Pauling’s book] is written in a way which should appeal to the imaginations of those who happen to possess them, which is perhaps as important as anything that can be done.

Reviewers were likewise nearly unanimous in their enthusiasm for Roger Hayward’s skillful illustrations, pointing out the degree to which his depictions were a truly extraordinary asset, especially for concepts known to be sources of difficulty for students.


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That is not to suggest, however, that the first edition was uniformly accepted as flawless. Indeed, over half of Pauling’s reviewers declared the book to be too advanced for it’s announced audience: first year students. Moreover, many also noted that the book actually discouraged all but their most determined introductory pupils from moving forward because of the difficulties that they encountered with some of the fundamental principles that Pauling laid out.

Many of the professors who found the text to be too challenging believed that Pauling had mistakenly used Caltech as the standard by which to measure all incoming college freshman. But while their opinion that Pauling had miscalculated in this regard was fairly consistent, the collective did not provide a consensus on who might be an appropriate target audience for the book; reviewers’ suggestions ranged from advanced freshmen to pre-professional students.

In fact, Pauling did have Caltech freshmen in mind when he wrote the book, and very intentionally so. When he embarked upon the project, he made clear that his primary ambition was to develop a text that would prove useful to students who shared his own early enthusiasm for chemistry and who were prepared to devote their academic careers – and, ideally, their professional careers – to the study of chemistry. In the eyes of many though, this approach was not appropriate to other institutions of higher learning and the question of ideal audience remained a point of contention for the entire life of the book.


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Several professors who argued in support of the text tended to feel that its advanced nature was actually the best possible asset that could be provided to specific cohorts of students: in particular, students blessed with sufficient high school experience and/or interest, as well as students who made up for their lack of experience with enthusiasm and perseverance. A few years after Pauling first published his book, a California professor commented that, in his higher-level class, students using General Chemistry applied essential material more effectively and achieved higher rates of success in upper-division chemistry courses overall.

Other positive reviewers focused more intently on Pauling’s technique and powers of description. Scripps professor Norris Rakestraw called Pauling’s review of molecular structure “one of the best approaches to an understanding of general chemistry” and also agreed with others who claimed that the book had the potential to propel students to a more rigorous level. If perhaps not ideally suited for freshmen, Rakestraw believed that General Chemistry was certainly perfect for a refresher course.

Several others followed suit. A.L. Rathmer suggested that Pauling’s “unorthodox and unconventional” treatment was valuable to teachers and other researchers in the field. A reviewer from Northwestern University phrased a similar sentiment in a decidedly different way:

Any instructor who fails to read this text should be fired – and any instructor who tries to use it with freshman should also be fired.

A smaller group of professors offering mixed reviews pointed out that Pauling’s own research interests – particularly his biochemical interests – seemed to dominate the text. A few went so far as to accuse Pauling of using his book as a platform to advance his own scientific theories. Pauling, who was generally open to feedback, did not respond to these comments except to disclaim them in fragmented notes scribbled in the margins of letters and review cards.


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One oft-issued request that did receive a response from Pauling was that he release an answer key to the book’s exercises. He worked on this key during the summer of 1947 while he was working as a visiting professor at Oxford University, and he enlisted his son, Peter, to work through the problems alongside him, verifying answers and identifying problematic practice questions.

Reacting to a different set of complaints, Bill Freeman suggested that the publishing house also compile and release a laboratory manual that was specifically designed to accompany the text. Settling on a length of 290 pages with 80 Hayward illustrations, Freeman worked with Pauling to select Harper Frantz, a lecturer at Pasadena City College, and Lloyd Malm, a University of Utah chemistry professor, as co-authors. Frantz and Malm in turn developed experiments that were based on and that further amplified the principles described in General Chemistry.


Pauling was not only unconventional in his approach to subject matter, but also in how he used his terminology. Two prominent examples of this tendency were his representation of Avogadro’s number and his use of the term “molality” in the place of “molarity.”

Avogadro’s number defines the units in one mole of a solution and is typically set at approximately 6.022 x 1023. Pauling, however, chose to write the number as 0.6023 x 1024. Even when several colleagues urged him to stick to generally accepted convention, Pauling insisted on representing the number as 0.6023 x 1024 and continued to do so throughout all three editions of General Chemistry. In defending his point of view, Pauling offered this explanation in a footnote:

There is great convenience in learning Avogadro’s number as 0.6023 x 1024. An important use of this number involves the conversion of the volume of a gram-atom of an element into the volume per atom. The first volume is expressed in cm3, and the second in Å3. The relation between cm3 and Å3 involves the factor of 1024 : 1 cm3 = 1024 Å3. Accordingly, in case that Avogadro’s number has been taken as 0.6023 x 1024, there is no trouble whatever in deciding on the position of the decimal point.

In other words, by simplifying Avogadro’s number in an unorthodox way, Pauling was trying to make the concept easier to learn for students.

He defended his choice to use “molality” in a similar fashion, referencing A.A. Noyes, Ernest Swift, and W.C. Bray as among those who used “molality” to refer to moles per liter of solution. Pauling incorrectly believed that the term would eventually prevail within the discipline and therefore felt that students would be well-advised to familiarize themselves with it. Eventually he conceded that his was not destined to be the conventional wisdom and he changed “molal” to “molar” in the second edition.

Indeed, throughout the lifespan of General Chemistry, Pauling trusted that students using the book would come equipped with a firm grasp on the language of chemistry. He did, however, agree to provide more definitions in the second edition, particularly for less common or more advanced terms.


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Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, 1948.

While there was widespread disagreement about the appropriateness of using Pauling’s book in freshman classes, very few reviewers disputed General Chemistry‘s strength in content. One colleague, J.S. Coles, who later went on to author a textbook of his own, published a review of Pauling’s first edition and followed it up with a letter in which he emphasized that

Even if every suggestion or criticism [contained within the review] were completely ignored, I would continue to believe [General Chemistry] far ahead of any other text in the field and would continue to use it in any of my courses wherein I thought it to be appropriate.

Many professors who did not adopt the text for their courses admitted to keeping a few copies on hand for themselves and, on occasion, for their advanced students. More still reconsidered their initial rejection of the book when the Frantz-Malm laboratory manual came out in 1949. Of the overall response to General Chemistry, Bill Freeman wrote, “Oh we will slip from grace now and then – I hope it will be because we are trying to improve on the conventional.”

What is beyond doubt is that General Chemistry was wildly successful, even if it didn’t always reach its intended audience, and the royalties that Pauling received provided him with a new level of financial comfort. While most of the windfall was used to support Pauling’s ambitious travel schedule, he did choose to invest in at least one comfort item: an outdoor pool at his Pasadena home.

Affectionately dubbed by his children as “the pool that General Chemistry built,” the space quickly became a gathering spot for some of Pauling’s luckier graduate students, and evolved from there into a location where students could engage Pauling in lively conversations and solicit advice. Not unlike Pauling’s book, these conversations, on any number of occasions, led to insights that shifted the entire course of a student’s professional trajectory.

An Auspicious Friendship

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[An examination of General Chemistry, published by Linus Pauling seventy years ago. This is part 2 of 7.]

William Hazen “Bill” Freeman established the publishing firm of W.H. Freeman and Company in 1946. On breaking with his previous employer MacMillan Publishers, Freeman said simply, “We made so bold a move because we found that every factor contributing to the success of such a venture was at hand, waiting to be put to work.” There is little doubt that Freeman was thinking of Linus Pauling when he made this statement, but his confidence was also born of extensive experience in the publishing world, working especially with college textbooks.

Freeman brought all his resources and skills to bear on Pauling’s General Chemistry manuscript. He began by circulating early drafts of the text to curate specific feedback in cases where he himself was not equipped to offer it. He also promoted the finished text tirelessly and, through the process, worked without complaint around Pauling’s complicated lecture and travel schedule. Put simply, Freeman knew that he had a singular resource in hand with Linus Pauling, and he did his best to do right by this relationship, both out of respect for Pauling and out of interest in building his business.


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Illustration prepared by Roger Hayward for use in General Chemistry, 1947.

Without question, another individual who contributed greatly to the success of General Chemistry – and to W.H. Freeman and Company – was Roger Hayward, who joined the duo early on as an illustrator at Pauling’s insistence. Hayward moved from the East Coast to Pasadena in 1929, upon which time he became a member of the Caltech One-Hundred-to-One Shot Club, which was comprised of individuals interested in astronomy. Through this connection, Hayward gradually came to be involved with several projects involving Caltech faculty and ultimately met Pauling in the 1930s.

Hayward was an architect by training and Pauling so respected his skill as a draftsman and an artist that he insisted that he was the only one up to the task of creating illustrations for General Chemistry. Pauling was no doubt attracted to Hayward’s unique approach to scientific illustration, wherein he conducted in-depth and detailed research on the scientific principles underlying his topic before ever setting pencil to paper. Freeman also recognized Hayward’s unrivaled skill, and enlisted him on a number of other projects beyond Pauling’s text. By the end of their partnership, Pauling considered Hayward to be not only a collaborator and a friend, but a scientist as well.

As the General Chemistry text was being developed, Pauling evinced such faith in Hayward’s abilities that he offered to transfer .05% of his royalty rate to the illustrator, a payment that would be made in addition to the fee that Freeman and Co. had contracted for the illustrations themselves. Bill Freeman agreed to this arrangement and generously matched Pauling’s offer such that Hayward ultimately received royalties at the rate of 1% for every copy sold – a rate nearly as high as Pauling’s 1.5% royalty agreement.

While seemingly generous, this understanding later proved to be fraught with complications, and Hayward often complained that Freeman and Co. did not adequately compensate him for the amount and quality of work that he contributed. Pauling and Freeman, growing exasperated with this behavior, privately agreed that Hayward was a key contributer but also a “bit of a prima donna.”

Nonetheless, Freeman deeply respected Hayward as a serious artist and clearly understood the value that he brought to the company. As a result, he strove to adjust financial arrangements so that they would benefit all parties involved. For a brief period in the early 1950s, Freeman even brought Hayward on under contract as a staffmember at Freeman and Co. Although the arrangement ended before Hayward’s ten-year deal had expired, the two men deeply appreciated the friendship they shared. Indeed, even in the midst of sensitive and difficult financial negotiations, their letters often ended with mutual expressions of hope that they would see one other soon.


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Under Freeman’s stewardship, Pauling’s manuscript underwent a number of important changes. Initially organized into thirteen chapters, the text was ultimately divided into thirty-three chapters by the time of its publication. In so doing, Freeman and Pauling agreed to remove an initial chapter on valence, choosing instead to disburse the subject matter into a series of subsections located throughout the book.

Likewise, in the manuscript version, Pauling had included a small introductory paragraph on the broader subject of chemistry before diving into his material. In the published book, Pauling instead dedicated his entire first chapter to the importance of studying chemistry as well as the mission and philosophy of the textbook that he had written to help aid in this endeavor. This change allowed Pauling to provide guidance to students on how they might use the book itself, a particularly important addition given that he was breaking from traditional pedagogical styles.

Freeman and Pauling also decided to move chapters on chemical reactions, the properties of gases, and thermochemistry to the end of the book, judging these topics to be sufficiently advanced that a strong foundation on elementary topics should be established first.

Most of the changes that Pauling and Freeman made reflected a desire to create more space to explore topics and to build logical connections between sections and chapters. In the chapters that Pauling eventually added, he covered specific elements like sulfur and nitrogen, as well as compounds including water and several metals. Other changes in chapter order enabled deeper introductions to substances and solutions prior to walking readers through investigations of matter, properties, and variations.


As late as 1947, mere months before Freeman and Co. released the book, Pauling was still calling his text Principles of Chemistry. Freeman suggested that the title be changed to A General Chemistry, because he felt that it conveyed a sense of modesty.

Once Pauling had dropped the indefinite article in favor of a more authoritative title, General Chemistry, Freeman offered him three possible subtitles from which to choose: “An Introduction to Modern Theory and Descriptive Chemistry,” “A Statement of Modern Theory and Descriptive Chemistry,” or “An Introductory Statement of Modern Theory and Descriptive Chemistry.” Pauling eventually synthesized the three into “An Introduction to Descriptive Chemistry and Modern Chemical Theory.”

This subtitle reflected Pauling’s goal for the book itself: in his text, he sought to present descriptive chemistry and theoretical chemistry alongside one another to illustrate their equal significance and impact. His first chapter made clear that he felt practical work, in tandem with study and review of the facts of chemistry, were vital to a full understanding of the subject. In reflecting on this point, he noted that

A well-educated man or woman needs to have an understanding of the material world in which he lives as well as of literature and history, and he may find great pleasure in the appreciation of new knowledge as it results from scientific progress.


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Once Pauling had a completed his draft, he and Freeman fell into a rhythm, editing the manuscript collaboratively through a series of memos and letters. Pauling typically submitted one chapter at a time, to which Freeman would quickly reply with corrections and suggestions. From there, Pauling would counter by accepting, rejecting, or offering alternate suggestions. In effect, the letters acted as a written dialogue between the two; Freeman providing detailed explanations with his feedback and Pauling taking care to respond and explain his choices.

By February 1947, Freeman told Pauling that their collaboration had exceeded his initial expectations for progress, but that they still needed to keep pushing if they hoped to have a successful first year. The publisher’s goal was to sell between 13,000 to 16,000 copies of the book within its first year in circulation, but this number would only be attainable if they had shipped review copies to professors before the end of spring term.

Subsequently, the two increased the pace of their correspondence and managed to get 500 review copies out by the end of May 1947, with an official release date set for that September. The estimated price of the volume was $4.25 per copy. It would span 600 pages and include 160 of Hayward’s illustrations. Just prior to printing, Pauling wrote a preface that stated his goal for the text:

a special effort has been made in this book to present the subject of chemistry in a logical and simple matter, and to correlate descriptive chemistry with the theories of chemistry.


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Comment sheet collected by Bill Freeman, 1947.

As they neared completion, Pauling offered to assist with his own marketing by proposing that he send a table of contents and brief description of the book to former Ph.D. students from Caltech who were now teaching classes of their own. Freeman gently declined this idea, explaining to Pauling that an author did not conventionally promote his own text and asking that all marketing activities be left to the publishing house. Freeman and his assistant, Janet MacRorie, subsequently created a vigorous advertising plan, targeting chemistry professors at all major universities as well as several smaller institutions. The publishers also sent out an open later including excerpts from the book that Freeman believed best demonstrated Pauling’s distinct and straightforward writing style.

In April, Freeman and Co. sent page proofs of the first five chapters of the book to fifteen different schools, with the idea that doing so would allow them to receive and incorporate feedback in the finished product. The response was overwhelmingly positive, but did contain points of constructive criticism that provided direction for revision. Reviewers typically highlighted passages that they felt would be too complex or confusing for their own classes, drawing from their own unique experiences working with undergraduates.

Freeman collected the primary concerns expressed about the book and organized them for Pauling to review. Though some felt that the text was too challenging, Freeman remained confident that even those who were critical in the beginning would return to it if Pauling spent the next year collecting observations and announcing plans for revision at a forthcoming date.

Pauling and Freeman were both deeply invested in the project, so much so that, when it came out, Freeman told Pauling that he felt like a “first time father in the maternity ward.” Once the final version arrived back from the printers, it became clear that Freeman’s commitment to meticulous editing had paid off; Pauling remarked that he had never seen such an extensive publication that contained so few errors.

The duo soon had further reason to celebrate: by June 1948, over forty colleges had adopted or were planning to adopt General Chemistry. Meanwhile, Pauling’s royalties for the first printing of the book summed to nearly $3,700 (over $38,000 in today’s dollars) and continued to increase over the next ten years, bumping up significantly more after the release of the second edition. By the end of 1950, eighty-three colleges had adopted General Chemistry and Pauling’s royalty rate had increased from 1.5% to 3%For author and publisher both, this project was already a huge success.

The Architecture of Molecules

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[Part 2 of 2]

By the end of the 1950s, Roger Hayward had retired from his professional work as an architect at the same time that his career as an illustrator was reaching its peak. And with this came a new measure of security: having worked chiefly as a freelancer in the past, Hayward signed a contract in the early 1960s that helped to solidify his position as a technical artist.

The contract that Hayward signed was with W.H. Freeman & Company, a San Francisco-based publishing house that rose out of relative obscurity primarily by publishing Linus Pauling’s hugely popular textbook, General Chemistry. First released commercially in 1948 (with illustrations by Roger Hayward), General Chemistry went through two more stateside editions, the last appearing in 1970.

Such was the pedagogical import of General Chemistry that it was translated into at least eleven languages, including Gujarati, Hebrew, Swedish and Romanian. Indeed, for several years Pauling made more money off of royalties from his textbook than he did from his Caltech salary. The impact of the book was similarly lucrative for the publishing house and its success cemented a long and close connection between the Freeman firm and Pauling.

The Double Molecules of Acetic Acid. Pastel drawing by Roger Hayward.  As with all of the pastels used as illustrations with this blog post, the Acetic Acid pastel shown here was not the final version published in "The Architecture of Molecules."

The Double Molecules of Acetic Acid. Pastel drawing by Roger Hayward. As with all of the pastels used as illustrations with this blog post, the Acetic Acid pastel shown here was not the final version published in “The Architecture of Molecules.”

For many years W.H. Freeman & Co. had also collaborated with Scientific American, publishing a selection of the magazine’s articles as offprints. Roger Hayward often found himself in the middle of this collaboration as he frequently illustrated publications for both companies.

The partnership between the two organizations proved so fruitful that, in 1964, they decided to merge, the hope being that W.H. Freeman might grow into the nation’s leading publisher of scientific texts. The joining of these two companies that he knew so well was a positive turn of events for Hayward, in part because it led to the publication of what would become his most acclaimed work, The Architecture of Molecules. A beautiful and innovative book co-authored with Linus Pauling, The Architecture of Molecules ultimately sold over 15,000 copies and featured some of Hayward’s best-known scientific illustrations.


The structure of Diamond.

The Structure of Diamond.

In his papers, Hayward’s first mention of the book appears in a letter written in March 1964 to his long-time friend and colleague John Strong, then living in Baltimore, Maryland.  In it, Hayward mentions in passing

I have just signed up to illustrate a Molecular Architecture book with Linus. The Freeman & Co. are to publish and all the figures are to be in color. I expect something like 75 figures some of which I have already done.

The idea behind the new book was to use illustrations to attract audiences from all backgrounds to an informative work on structural chemistry. The volume also represented one of W.H. Freeman’s first attempts to step away from strictly academic subjects in favor of publishing a scientific work marketed to a non-academic demographic.

Though not a technical monograph, The Architecture of Molecules was scientifically exacting in its own way. The book features Hayward’s colorful pastel conceptualizations of molecules and basic chemical bonds, and presents them side-by-side with Pauling’s concise but informative explanations of what the reader is looking at. From the first, the publication was very much a joint Hayward-Pauling project and Pauling, as with his publisher, saw the book as a tool to broaden the public’s understanding of chemistry in “an atomic age.”

The Ferrocene Molecule.

The Ferrocene Molecule.

It stood to reason then that work on the book was divided, with each author showing off some of their best qualities in their respective contributions. Hayward, of course, made it his duty to illustrate molecules with the utmost geometric and proportional accuracy. Likewise, Pauling provided pithy descriptions of the molecules and bonds being depicted, and did so in the inimitable style that characterized so much of his writing.  Witness, for example, Pauling’s discussion of Left-Handed and Right-Handed Molecules of Alanine:

There are two kinds of alanine molecules, which differ in the arrangement of the four groups around the central carbon atom. These molecules are mirror images of one another. The molecules of one kind are called D-alanine (D for Latin dextro, right), and those of the other kind L-alanine (L for Latin laevo, left). Only L-alanine occurs in living organisms as part of the structure of protein molecules.

Other amino acids, with the exception of glycine, also may exist both as D molecules and as L molecules, and in every case it is the L molecule that is involved in the protein molecules of living organisms. Some of the D-amino acids cannot serve as nutrients, and may be harmful to life.

In Through the Looking Glass Alice said, ‘Perhaps looking-glass milk isn’t good to drink.’ When this book was written, in 1871, nobody knew that protein molecules are built of the left-handed amino acids; but Alice was justified in raising the question. The answer is that looking-glass milk is not good to drink.


Folding the Polypeptide Chain.

Folding the Polypeptide Chain.

“My major asset in my work,” Hayward once wrote,” is an interest in and skill in three-dimensional thinking. This is coupled with a great interest in how things are put together both as an arrangement in space and in the physical sense.” In this sense, The Architecture of Molecules nicely summarizes Hayward’s true passions.

And in Pauling, Hayward was teamed with a more than capable second set of eyes. Most notably, Pauling’s familiarity with the time period’s cutting edge research enabled him to make suggestions for updates to some of the illustrations that Hayward already had in hand. His urgings also resulted in the inclusion of crystal structures as a more significant part of the book than was originally envisioned.

At various points throughout its 120 pages, The Architecture of Molecules also stresses the importance of understanding how the basic principles of chemistry are part of every-day life. Structures like the heme molecule and the alpha helix are therefore presented as exciting examples of newly discovered molecular structures that play a central role in the lives of all beings.


The Tetragonal Boron Crystal.

The Tetragonal Boron Crystal.

After hitting the market late in 1964, The Architecture of Molecules received generally positive reviews, though some critics took pains to point out that the book represented “Pauling’s view of the universe at the molecular level.” At the time, knowledge of the structure of atoms and molecules remained mostly based in theory – microscopes of the era still could not see on the molecular level and x-ray diffraction remained a technique that required years of practice to master – and Pauling’s ideas on chemical bonds, while hugely influential, were not universally accepted.

The increased use of x-ray diffraction within the discipline, however, further pressed the need for a compilation of illustrated molecules to be used as a tool for teaching chemistry. Pauling was also a firm believer that students would learn better if they understood the physical characteristics of chemical compounds. Based as they were in the latest findings, the illustrations featured in Pauling and Hayward’s book represented a contemporary vision of molecular structure.

The Architecture of Molecules clearly fit a niche and it sold relatively well – over 12,000 copies purchased in the U.S. and another 3,500 overseas.  Part of the book’s foreign gross came by way of two translations; a Japanese version appeared in 1967 and a German edition was released two years later.

Today The Architecture of Molecules certainly stands as Roger Hayward’s highest profile publication, and arguably his most important. Hayward was a huge talent, remarkable in his ability to combine a desire for scientific development with a strong artistic aesthetic. Never formally trained as a scientist, Hayward’s work as an illustrator and as a colleague of some of the top researchers of his time earned for him a permanent place in the history of science communication and education.

Illustrating Science

Pastel drawing of the molecular structure of molybdenumdichloride. By Roger Hayward, 1964.

Pastel drawing of the molecular structure of molybdenumdichloride. By Roger Hayward, 1964.

[Ed Note: Of the thirteen books that Linus Pauling authored or edited, The Architecture of Molecules stands out as being very different. A slender volume of just over 100 pages, the 1964 publication consists almost entirely of beautiful and intricate pastel representations of molecular structures drawn by Roger Hayward and contextualized with short scientific descriptions authored by Pauling.  This is post 1 of 2 exploring the back story behind this unique book as well as its publication.]

It is not unusual to find pictures of Linus Pauling surrounded by three-dimensional molecular models or with drawings of molecules and their bonds covering his work space. Pauling believed that understanding the physical properties of molecules was crucial to understanding their chemical interactions. This guiding principle made Pauling an influential figure in his use of models and illustrations to explain the properties of substances.

Pauling’s 1947 textbook, General Chemistry, became a best-seller in part because because it presented novel new methods for teaching chemistry at the undergraduate level. The book incorporated quantum physics, atomic theory and real-world examples in explaining basic chemical principles, and a key feature of the text was that it used illustrations like nobody else had done before. Prior to the publication of General Chemistry, the properties of atoms and molecular bonding were described and taught in such a way that students were required to think abstractly about chemical reactions without a full understanding of the physical interactions that caused these reactions. General Chemistry changed all that.

From his high school years through his post-graduate studies, Pauling had experienced numerous approaches to teaching chemistry. Pauling, of course, had been asked to teach introductory chemistry while himself an undergraduate at Oregon Agricultural College, and it was during a similar stint teaching freshman as a graduate student at Caltech that Pauling began to devise a plan for his revolutionary textbook. He was certain that in this new project, illustrations and diagrams would serve an essential role in engaging students and helping them to understand the fundamentals of chemistry.

Luckily for Pauling, members of the Caltech faculty had already developed a close connection with an unusually skilled Pasadena artist, inventor and architect – Roger Hayward. His keen ability to illustrate scientific concepts in an accurate and accessible way made him the perfect choice to create the visuals for Pauling’s textbook.


Illustration by Roger Hayward of a high-vacuum apparatus as published in Procedures in Experimental Physics, 1938.

Illustration by Roger Hayward of a high-vacuum apparatus as published in Procedures in Experimental Physics, 1938.

A trained architect, Roger Hayward’s career path was unique, to say the least. A recent transplant from the East Coast when the Depression hit, Hayward was forced to expand his occupational enterprises well beyond architecture, as sour economic times dried up the building design market for several years running. While this was surely a difficult transition for Hayward, the period did grant him the opportunity to cultivate his creativity and his talents in many other fields of interest.

As he endeavored to make ends meet, Hayward’s artistic inclinations led him to explore broad new avenues, from painting to puppeteering. For a time, he even satisfied his interests in scientific experimentation by performing research in the field of optics and ballistics at the Mt. Wilson Observatory, studies which ultimately resulted in his attaining seven patents for optical devices and procedures. Indeed, Hayward had already made a place for himself in the sciences by the time that Pauling approached him with the offer to illustrate General Chemistry. Aside from his optics work, Hayward had already illustrated a number of scientific publications, including a textbook, Procedures in Experimental Physics.

The principal author of Procedures in Experimental Physics was Hayward’s close friend John D. Strong, a professor of physics and astronomy at Caltech. Strong felt comfortable collaborating with Hayward because he was very familiar with his friend’s interests in science and art, and he appreciated his strong aptitude in both disciplines. Procedures in Experimental Physics was a success, and both Strong and Hayward received good reviews for their work.

Buoyed by this strong critical reception, Hayward’s continuing interest and understanding of architecture, art and science positioned him well within the community of scientific illustrators. As with others, Hayward was adept at creating an aesthetically appealing yet technically precise illustration. But the trait that really set him apart was the pleasure that he took in researching the science behind his assignments. In many respects, Hayward was as much a scientist as he was an artist.


Roger Hayward, ca. 1960s.

Roger Hayward, ca. 1960s.

Published in 1938, Procedures in Experimental Physics marked the beginning of a new and prosperous chapter of Hayward’s unique career. During this period, scientific illustration would be the main focus of his energies, with architecture and the fine arts slipping well into the background. As his reputation grew, he found regular work with Scientific American, a popular science magazine, and was commonly sought out by professors at Caltech. It was during this time as well that Pauling became acquainted with Hayward. Not surprisingly, when Pauling needed to find an illustrator for his first college text book, his thoughts immediately turned to Hayward.

Working with Pauling, however, was not the same as working with John Strong. Strong had such a high appreciation for Hayward’s work as both a scientist and an artist that he split royalties on basis of space coverage. This meant that Strong assigned as much monetary value to Hayward’s illustrations as he did to his other co-authors’ written work. Strong’s perspective, however, was rather unique and when Pauling first asked Hayward to illustrate General Chemistry, he did not expect the illustrations to cost as much as Hayward billed.

Most scientists, including Pauling, believed that the training, research and experimentation from which a text results have more merit than do illustrations. Though he placed a premium on visual depictions, in Pauling’s mind it seemed fair to assign more value to the text than to the illustration. Pauling’s publisher, William Freeman of W.H. Freeman & Co., agreed with Pauling and referred to Hayward as “a bit of a prima donna” because he believed that Hayward overestimated the value of his work. In his correspondence with Pauling, Freeman also revealed that Hayward had regularly come into conflict with his firm over compensation issues. The company, however, continued to contract with Hayward simply because his illustrations were unsurpassed.

After settling their differences, Pauling and Hayward began to bond over their similar interests. By then, John Strong had taken a position in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University. His closest science-minded friend now on the other side of the country, Hayward increasingly came to use his connection with Pauling to further discussions on scientific advances.

Hayward’s background as an artist and architect also enabled his exploration of three-dimensional molecular models, a pursuit of special affinity for Pauling, and once again, the two began discussing each other’s ideas. Pauling suggested that Hayward use models to convey recent findings in structural chemistry, especially regarding crystal structure. Gradually, through many conversations, Pauling too came to recognize Hayward as a scientist, rather than merely a skilled artist.

A Major New Resource on Roger Hayward

The polymath Roger Hayward, a favorite of ours over the years, at last has a major web exhibit devoted to him that is worthy of his talents. At forty-three chapters long and containing some 432 images, Roger Hayward: Renaissance Man is now the authoritative resource on Hayward’s remarkable life.

For those unfamiliar with the Hayward story, here is some text from the official press release announcing the public launch of this exhibit.

Born in New England just before the turn of the century, Hayward attended the Masschusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors in architecture. Despite having built a reputation in the Boston area as a talented fine artist as well, Hayward and his wife moved to southern California in the late 1920s, lured by the offer of a position as Chief Designer at the Los Angeles-based Cram & Ferguson architecture firm.

With the stock market collapse of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression, Hayward was forced to expand his skillset in order to make ends meet. His solutions to this dillema were an indication of the remarkable creativity that defined his professional life. For one, he crafted puppets and performed puppet shows in his home for a fee. He also built three looms for his wife Betty, whose resulting textiles were sold at local markets. Indeed, Hayward’s ingenuity resulted in numerous patent applications over the course of his life for products ranging from fountain pens to nut crackers to baby bassinets.

Over time, Hayward’s relationship with many scientists at the California Institute of Technology served to bolster his interest in the sciences. Hayward also worked on behalf of the United States government during World War II and became an expert on the subject of optics. He is now believed to have been a key contributor to the development of the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Following the war, Hayward built a reputation as a scientific illustrator of great import, providing visuals for Scientific American‘s “Amateur Scientist” column for nearly twenty-five years and collaborating with Linus Pauling on numerous publications including 1964’s The Architecture of Molecules, for which Hayward served as co-author.

The Roger Hayward Papers, upon which the exhibit is built, arrived in Oregon in circuitous fashion.  Our first contact with the collection came in 2004 during which time our staff was conducting copyright research for the website It’s in the Blood! A Documentary History of Linus Pauling, Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia, which incorporated Hayward’s pastel drawings of both normal hemoglobin and sickled blood cells – drawings which reside in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers.

(Among the highlights of the new Hayward exhibit are two galleries of his famous pastel drawings of molecules, most of which had never before been made available to the public.)

At the time, the collection resided with members of the Hayward family living in eastern Canada.  Impressed by the work that our department had done with the Pauling Papers and interested in adding to OSU’s corpus of materials related to Pauling, the family agreed, in 2009, to transfer the Hayward Papers more than 3,000 miles to our facility for final arrangement, description, preservation and access.

Page 1 of Hayward’s biographical scrapbook.

What arrived was a treasure trove of letters, drawings, photographs and notes of all kinds, including ideas for new inventions and materials developed for the Allied war effort.  Most extraordinary though was the Biographical Scrapbook that Roger meticulously kept over the course of his life.  Chock full of revealing newspaper clippings, photographs and even original art works, the seventy-four page scrapbook is a prized possession among our collections and served as the source material for much of what is presented on the Hayward exhibit.

Hayward and Caspar Gruenfeld building a moon model, ca. 1934.

Hayward and Caspar Gruenfeld building a moon model, ca. 1934.

As it turns out, the Hayward family’s decision to donate Roger’s papers to Oregon State University was an inspired one, as the resource is among our more heavily used manuscript collections.  In there three years here, Hayward’s drawings have been used in both commercial and educational contexts, and researchers have traveled from as far away as Buffalo, New York and Berlin, Germany to use the collection.  Currently, work is on-going concerning Hayward’s moon models and his puppet theater production of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The entire experience has been immensely gratifying for us and we are pleased now to present a web exhibit that might spur further inquiry into the life of an extraordinary personality, a true Renaissance Man.

Dr. Ina Heumann, Resident Scholar

Ina Heumann

Dr. Ina Heumann, a historian of science affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, is the most recent individual to complete a term as Resident Scholar in the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections.  Heumann spent two months in Corvallis studying the Roger Hayward Papers and the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers as part of her on-going investigation into the connection between art and science with a specific focus on illustrated scientific texts.

From her study of the relationships built by Roger Hayward over his more than three decades as a scientific illustrator, Heumann found that significant tensions regularly arose between scientist and artist.  Without doubt, prominent among these tensions was the issue of money.  One striking example involved Hayward’s provision of a large bulk of illustrations to the publishing house W. H. Freeman & Co. for use in the first two editions of Pauling’s profoundly successful text General Chemistry.  While Pauling’s General Chemistry royalties in 1949 alone amounted to $5,000, Hayward received roughly $120.  Indeed, questions over just compensation for the value added by illustrations in scientific texts would dot Hayward’s long association with the Freeman company. And while both sides usually found room for compromise in their periodic bargaining sessions, the discussions were often acrimonious.

Of equal or even greater importance were issues of hierarchy and respect.  As many, including Heumann, have pointed out, Hayward was no ordinary illustrator.  For one, he thoroughly researched the science behind the instruments and processes that we was depicting; in that sense he “knew what he was drawing” on levels far beneath the surface.  At the same time, it was of vital importance to Hayward that his drawings be understandable and comfortable to the reader.  As he wrote

I try to put in enough familiar details so the reader will recognize them and feel on familiar ground.  Therefore I am careful to show more detail of glassware, for instance, than he really needs.

Despite the level of thought and attention that Hayward poured into his work, Heumann uncovered numerous instances in which Hayward was made to understand his place in the pecking order.  As most bluntly discussed by William H. Freeman in an important letter sent to Pauling in January 1953, Hayward was viewed as

a bit of a primadonna.  He has to be handled just so.  He thinks of himself as a professional person – which he is – who wants to be treated as such, rather than as a skilled craftsman.  Like all artists (and he is one of those, basically), he is a bit of a problem and [in] this case a bit of a genius.

Heumann argues that Hayward should more accurately be thought of as a “border crosser.”  In her Resident Scholar talk, she fleshed out this idea:

Hayward was architect, artist, craftsman, illustrator and inventor, not to mention his interest and competence in chemistry, optics, physics or mathematics.  However: The only formal degree he had was in architecture and technical engineering.  He was a self-made man, someone who loved to ‘get the books and dig the knowledge out’ by himself, as he once put it….Thus Hayward’s talent to serve as intermediate figure rooted at the same time on his deficiency: he was always in-between, being neither a scientist nor a mere illustrator, neither an educated expert nor just an average layman….Consequently, he was both needed and at the same time neglected.

It was this status as “border crosser” that lay at the heart of many of the creative and professional constrictions with which Hayward and his peers struggled throughout much of the twentieth century.

Hayward enjoyed a far more harmonious relationship with Scientific American magazine, whose “Amateur Scientist” column he illustrated for some twenty-four years.  Described by publisher Dennis Flanagan as “a marriage made in heaven,” Hayward’s partnership with the magazine proved fruitful for all parties involved.  The column, in particular, provided Hayward with an opportunity to stretch his intellectual wings given that he was, in essence, an amateur scientist himself.  And so it is that the illustrator regularly, in Heumann’s words,

contributed countless ideas and suggestions for improvements of the devices he had illustrated.  The letters were often literally published in the column, citing Hayward as an experienced expert of amateur science.  He illustrated and commented on questions like ‘How to measure the Metabolism of Animals,’ ‘Cloud Chambers and Detecting Nuclear Events,’ or how to construct inexpensive x-ray machines.

At their zenith, the “Amateur Scientist” columns were excellent examples of “scriptovisual documents” – documents that “can be read and looked at simultaneously.”  So too was the 1954 journal publication “The Structure of Protein Molecules,” authored by Linus Pauling, Robert Corey and Roger Hayward, and containing nine columns of text and nearly eighteen columns of drawings.

It is these sorts of scriptovisual documents, Heumann argues, that most directly prove the worth of the work done by individuals like Hayward.  For centuries drawings have enabled scientists to develop their own ideas in private and have likewise become essential to communicating complex information to a broader audience.  It was and remains morally and intellectually correct for scientific illustrators to place a premium on their work.  On the same token, the study of scientific illustration remains a tantalizing prospect for further historical examination.  As Heumann writes, “It becomes very obvious in the papers of Roger Hayward: behind the images is a story as worthy to be told as behind the texts.”

The OSU Libraries Special Collections Resident Scholar Program is supported by the Peter and Judith Freeman Fund. Past recipients have included Dr. Burtron Davis of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research, Toshihiro Higuchi of Georgetown University, Dr. Mina Carson, professor of history at Oregon State University, Jane Nisselson, a documentary filmmaker based in New York City and Julia Bursten, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh.