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Sylvia M. Stoesser papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0047

Scope and Contents

The Sylvia M. Stoesser papers date from 1952 to 1992 and consist of 9 items. They include an obituary, abstracts of the patents of Sylvia Stoesser (1929-1947), Michigan Women's Hall of Fame candidate nomination forms (1992); photocopies of newspaper clippings, and a copy of the Dow Chemical Company newsletter, Dow Today (1991) announcing a television commercial highlighting Stoesser's achievements. A videocassette of the 30-second television commercial "Inspiration" is shelved in the audiocassette collection. Also included is a paper on Styrene presented to the American Chemical Society Annual Meeting in 1990 by James J. Bohning in which Stoesser's role at Dow is discussed.  The title of the paper is, "Subterfuge and Patriotism: Styrene at Dow for the World War II Synthetic Rubber Program."   A History of The Dow Chemical Physics Lab and Styrene, Its Polymers, Copolymers, and Derivatives, are shelved in the printed works collection.


  • Creation: 1952-1992


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been retained by the donor.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Sylvia M. Goergen was born on July 18, 1901 in Buffalo, New York. She earned her B.A. from the University of Buffalo in 1923 and her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1928. Goergen married Wesley C. Stoesser in 1929 and was hired along with her husband by Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan, that same year. Sylvia Stoesser was hired directly by H. H. Dow, foregoing the usual hiring procedure, since women were not considered part of the Dow workforce in the 1920s. She was the first woman hired as a physical chemist and the only Ph.D. in the group. Stoesser assisted with writing the first complete book published on styrene, Styrene: Its Polymers, Copolymers and Derivatives, published in 1952. She contributed a chapter to the publication A History of the Dow Physics Lab, published in 1990. During her ten years of working for Dow, Stoesser earned twenty-nine patents.


0.25 linear inches (1 videocassette [V42])

Language of Materials



University of Iowa graduate in 1928 with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. She was the first woman chemist to work for Dow Chemical Company.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 101) were donated by Judy Jaastad in 1991.

Robert J. Jett, 1995.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)