Biography and History

Hugh Stott Taylor (1890-1974) was born in Lancashire, England. He attended the University of Liverpool where he received his Doctorate in Science in 1914. While pursuing his graduate degree, Taylor completed research in the field of physical chemistry at the Nobel Institute in Stockholm, Sweden between 1912-1913 and the Technische Hochschule in Hanover, Germany in 1913-1914. Taylor came to Princeton University as a chemistry instructor and achieved full professor status by the age of thirty-two and later became the first David B. Jones Professor in 1927. His work in the field of physical chemistry, particularly catalysis, was widely recognized by the scientific community when in 1919 he coauthored, with Sir Eric Rideal, the first notable book on catalysis. As a result of his reputation in the field, Taylor was often called upon for consultation by government and industry and was active in several projects during the First and Second World Wars. He received numerous international honors over his lifetime, which include the Nichols Medal of the American Chemical Society in 1928 and Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1932. In 1953 he was twice knighted, first by Pope Pius XII in the Order of St. Gregory the Great and then by Queen Elizabeth in the Order of the British Empire.

Taylor was chairman of the Chemistry Department at Princeton University from 1926 to 1951. Under his twenty-five years of leadership, Taylor successfully promoted the chemistry program and recruited great scientific talent to the university, significantly increasing enrollment. While serving as dean of the Graduate College between 1945 until his retirement in 1958, Taylor strengthened Princeton's graduate program by adding nine Ph.D. programs. Taylor also was active in his faith and assisted in establishing the Catholic chaplaincy at Princeton in 1928. He was president of Pax Romana, the international Roman Catholic movement for intellectual and cultural affairs, and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. In 1962 an anonymous donor provided an enduring memorial of Sir Hugh's lifelong contribution to Princeton with a $500,000 gift establishing the Hugh Stott Taylor Chair of Chemistry. Hugh Stott Taylor died on April 17, 1974.

Source: From the finding aid for C0563


  • Chemists -- New Jersey -- Princeton..
  • Hugh S. Taylor Papers. 1911-1972 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0563

    Consists of articles, correspondence, and printed matter of Hugh S.Taylor, chairman of the Princeton Chemistry Department (1926-1951) and dean of the graduate school (1945-1958).