My watch list  

Francis Patrick Garvan


Francis Patrick Garvan (born June 13, 1875 in East Hartford, Connecticut - November 7, 1937) was an American lawyer and long time president of the Chemical Foundation. The American Chemical Society awarded him its highest honor, the Priestley Medal, in 1929. Garvan established what is now known as the American Chemical Society's Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal to "recognize distinguished service to chemistry by women chemists" in 1936.

Garvan was graduated from Yale University in 1897 (A.B.) and from New York Law School in 1899 (LL.B.). He had a distinguished career as a lawyer, and served as: an Assistant District Attorney in New York City (from 1900 to 1910); a director of the U.S. Bureau of Investigation; an Assistant United States Attorney General; and Dean of the Fordham University School of Law (from 1919 to 1923). He was also a trustee of The Catholic University of America and was himself a Roman Catholic.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Garvan President of the Chemical Foundation, a post he held until his death in 1937. At the time, the Chemical Foundations income was US$8.6 million; however, no dividends were paid to any shareholder and the chief officers received no salaries for their work.

Under Garvan's leadership, the Chemical Foundation supported the first nine years of the Journal of Chemical Education, as well as the microbiology journal Stain Technology (which came about from an idea of Garvan's). In the early 1920s, the Chemical Foundation provided over $100,000 to the Commission on the Standardization of Biological Stains, although some thought much of these funds came directly from Garvan himself. Garvan and the Chemical Foundation played a role in the founding of the American Institute of Physics, and, in collaboration with Charles Herty, the founding of the National Institutes of Health.

Garvan and his wife, Mabel Brady Garvan, sponsored the American Chemical Society's Prize Essay Contest for seven years in memory of their daughter. They also supported the Chemical Foundation as it gave libraries across the United States chemistry reference works. The Garvans' donations to these causes are estimated at one million dollars.

In addition to the Priestley Medal (Garvan remains the only non-scientist to receive it), Garvan received honorary degrees from Fordham, Notre Dame, and Yale Universities and Trinity College. Garvan died November 7, 1937.

Garvan was the son of Patrick and Mary (Carroll) Garvan. He married Mabel Brady on June 9, 1910 and they had seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood:

Francis Patrick Garvan, Jr. Mabel Brady Garvan Peter Dunne Garvan Marcia Anne Garvan Flora Brady Garvan Anthony Nicholas Brady Garvan.

She continued to be involved with the Garvan-Olin Medal for thirty years after his death. In addition to the Garvans' chemical philanthropy, they donated 10,000 art objects to Yale University, today known as the Mabel B. Garvan Collection. It is "one of the most comprehensive collections of early American arts and crafts in the nation."


  • The Francis P. Garvan - John M. Olin Medal
  • A Portrait of Francis P. Garvan in the National Portrait Gallery
  • Includes Garvan's Who's Who in America Listing
  • Charles H. Herty Biography
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Francis_Patrick_Garvan". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE