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Adolph and Albert Frank Collection

Identifier: AR 25460

Scope and Content Note

The collection is arranged in two series. Series I includes several documents pertaining to Adolph Frank, i.e. predominantly secondary material, such as newspaper and historical articles about him, but also professional and business documents, such as scientific articles and some business contracts.

Series II contains material related to Albert Frank as well as some correspondence of Robert Frank. Most of the material pertaining to Albert Frank is secondary material, similar in format to that related to Adolph Frank. The correspondence of Robert Frank primarily consists of letters related to the legacy of his relatives' achievements in the field of technical chemistry.


  • 1872-1995
  • Majority of material found within 1900-1960s


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and some French and Italian.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Adolph (or Adolf) Frank (1834-1916) was an important chemist of nineteenth-century Germany. Born in 1834 in Kloette, he began his career as an apothecary's apprentice and received his license in 1857; afterwards he studied chemistry at the University of Berlin. He then obtained a position as a chemist with a beet sugar refinery and used the results of his work there as a basis for his dissertation, which was accepted at the University of Goettingen in 1872.

In the late 1860s, Frank played a leading role in the development of potash deposits and their application as an agricultural fertilizer in Strassfurt, Germany. He remained interested in the problems of German agriculture, especially its chemical aspects, for the rest of his life. In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Frank ran a glass factory in Charlottenburg, which he sold in 1882.

Together with his co-worker Nikodem Caro, Frank invented a process for the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in 1895. This process, related to modern cyanamid manufacture, attracted interest in industrial circles, and with the backing of Deutsche Bank, Siemens & Halske, and Deutsche Gold und Silber Scheideanstalt. The Cyanid Gesellschaft was founded in 1899 to exploit the process. At first the company was not commercially successful. It was only during and after World War I that the process was sufficiently refined to become profitable.

For many years Frank was on the Board of Directors of the Charlottenburg Municipal Gas Works and of the Vereinigte Chemische Werke. He received many awards, including an honorary professorship from the Technische Universitaet Dresden and the title of Geheimer Regierungsrat.

Albert Frank (1872-1965) was the son of Adolph and Meta (née Warburg) Frank. Like his father, Albert Frank became a chemist. From 1895 onwards, he worked with his father and his father's colleague, Nikodem Caro, at their cyanid and cyanamide production facilities. In the early 1920s he became director of the Bayrische Stickstoff Werke. Albert Frank retained this position until his emigration to the USA in 1938. In America, Frank obtained a post with American Cyanamid for whom he had previously acted as German consultant. Albert Frank died in New York in 1965.

Robert Frank was Albert Frank's nephew. He worked as a freelance consultant for the chemical industry and put a lot of effort into preserving the memory of his relatives' scientific achievements.


0.5 Linear Feet


This collection holds papers and correspondence pertaining to the famous chemists Adolph and Albert Frank as well as correspondence of their great-nephew Robert Frank. The most prominent topic of the collection is technical chemistry. The papers in this collection include mainly secondary material with only few originals.


The collection is arranged in two series:

Related Material

The LBI Archives hold the Adolf Frank Collection (AR 7176). LBI Library holds a book by Adolph Frank, i.e. Ueber Verwendung der aus den Mooren gewinnbaren elektrischen Kraft (HD 1665 F7 U4), as well as a book in honor of Albert Frank, i.e. Salpetersaeure. Zum 60 Geburtstage von A.R. Frank (f TP 217 N5 S2).

Processing Information

Several documents from Series I were placed in an oversize folder, i.e. contracts, certificates, newspaper articles and sketches of test setups.

Guide to the Papers of Adolph and Albert Frank 1872-1995 AR 25460
Processed by Joern Esch
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Adolph_and_AlbertFrank.xml

Revision Statements

  • December 19, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States