ACS President: Frederick A. Genth (1820-1893)

Served as President: 1880

Post doc and research assistant to Robert Bunsen

Owner of and chemist at the first commercial analytical laboratory in Philadelphia, 1848


  • Doctorate,1845, University of Marlburg chemistry (with Robert Bunsen),

Career Highlights:

  • Superintendent of Washington Silver Mine, North Carolina, 1849
  • Chemist and mineralogist for the Second Geological Survey of Pennsylvania, 1874
  • Chemist for the Board of Agriculture of Pennsylvania, 1877-88
  • Professor of analytical and applied chemistry and mineralogy, University of Pennsylvania, 1875-88
  • Re-opened his commercial analytical laboratory, 1888-93
  • Specialized in analytical chemistry and mineralogy

Notable Accomplishments:

Wrote scientific papers and books in chemistry and mineralogy. Collaborated with Wolcott Gibbs on study of crystalline salts of Co(III) ammonia complexes (first recognition that ammonia could act as a ligand), in the 1850’s and the osmium ammonia complexes, in 1858. Discovered 24 new mineral species and studied them in detail, using both chemical and physical methods.

Major Awards and Honors:

  • Elected member of American Philosophical Society, 1854
  • Elected member of National Academy of Sciences, 1872
  • Elected fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1875
  • Elected honorary fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1888

Service to Science:

  • Frederick Genth was one of the 30 founding members of ACS.
  • He was selected as Vice President to John Draper, the first ACS president in 1876

Did You Know

. . . that Genth’s first commercial analytical laboratory was very successful because of his European training which was advanced compared to American training and his growing knowledge of mineralogy?

. . . that his appointment as faculty in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania was the first separate chemistry appointment outside of the School of Medicine?

Former ACS President Frederick A. Genth