A NEW HEADQUARTERS BUILDING
Post on 16-Feb-2017
CHEMICAL AMD ENGINEERING
NEWS SEPTEMBER 2 3 , 1957 VOL. 3 5 , NO. 38
APPLIED JOURNALS, ACS Director of Publications: C. B. La rr a bee
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A NEW HEADQUARTERS BU!LD*IN& ACS Board Chairman Connor Announces Fund Drive for $3 Million
JL HE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY in its 81st year once again has growing pains. Time affects institutions differently from the way it does human beings. The former, if the^ successfully serve a real and continuing need, can almost be said -fro be ageless. The latter as octogenarians suffer the pains of inevitable decay, not growth.
Today the Society's headquarters building is inadequate because membership has nearly tripled in the past 15 years. In the same period the applied journals have had phenomenal growth. Yet at the time the building was acquired some duabbed it "Parson's Folly/* The years have proved tha t the critics had little imagination. The land alone (in one of the most rigidly zoned areas in Washington, with National Geographic Society and National Education Association for neighbors) is today worth several times the price paid in 1941.
An interesting historical sidelight on the purchase: To clinch the deal in a hurry and to eliminate one and possible other would-be buyers, Charles L. Parsons requested Elisha Hanson, senior attorney for the Society, to use his personal chec-k for t h e deposit.
Many members recall vividly the crowded rented quarters in the Mills Building, home of the Society foir years before t h e 16th and M Streets era. But that was not the first time ACS employees worked under rather unsatisfactory housing conditions. Milton C. Whitaker, editor of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 191116, in a final report to the Board of Directors, pointed out that "four or five people squeezed into a bottle-storage room wi th a single window are strug-gling with innumerable editorial duties under conditions of congestion which would not be permit ted in many- factories/'
The condition described by Whitakeir was for years matched by the terribly crowded quarters of the Chemiczal Abstracts staff at Ohio State. This, happily, was corrected a year or s o ago by construction of a new building, with the university and the A CS sharing the cost.
The present Washington building w a s bought just before World War II. During the war, it was impossible t o add personnel, though membership had gone up by more tham 15,000. By 1951, the Society-occupied the entire building. Two yeairs ago outside space was rented. This did not ease the congestion for lomg, and, of course, several pro-posed projects have been held in abeyance for lack of space.
The Board and many administrative officials have studied the prob-lem. Ralph Connor, Chairman, descrilbed t h e results of this labor at the recent national meeting. Those wlio missed i t are urged to read his detailed report, published Sept. 16 in C&EN, page 121.
The planners have tried to determine space needs for many years to come. This, of course, is difficult, Who can predict t he size of the membership 20, 30, or 40 years hence? One of America's great chemists, H . W. Wiley, in an address olimaxing t h e 25th anniversary of the ACS, prophesied it would haveLO.OOQ members a t its centenary in 1976. That figure was passed in 1917" (16 years after it was named) . Today the ACS has 81,000 members a^nd 19 years to go before it is 100 years old.
The new building, to be erected on *hes i t e of the present one plus some additional land the Society owns, will cost about $3 million. Members and industry are asked to prrovide this sum. The chemical profession and the chemical process industries should, and will, we believe, look on contributions not so miach as a gift, b u t as a first-class investment. One needs only to revie^w the Society's past history to appreciate what its further growth wil l mean to chemists, chemical engineers, and to those industries whose continued prosperity depends upon the chemical profession.