Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Department History


Dr. Henry R. Kreider
First Chairman of the
Department of Chemistry
University of Toledo

Henry R. Kreider

Dr. Henry R. Kreider, born into a rural Pennsylvania family April 24, 1874, graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with BA and MA degrees in 1898. In 1901, he was graduated by Eastern Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and was ordained as a minister in the Reformed Church (United Church of Christ). After his marriage to Mary Elizabeth Moyer in 1902 and his serving a pastorate of three years, he entered the graduate school in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University in 1904. He suspended his studies for two years for a teaching position at the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy at Mont Alto, Pennsylvania and a research fellowship at Dalhousie College, Halifax, N.S., then received his PhD in 1910 from Johns Hopkins.
For the following three years, 1910-1913, Dr. Kreider occupied the Chair of Chemistry at Baltimore Medical College, while continuing to do research in free radicals at Johns Hopkins University. In 1913 he accepted the position of Acing Professor of Chemistry at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.
In 1915, Dr. Kreider joined the fledgling University of Toledo, then located on Cherry Street, as Professor of Chemistry and Chairman of the Department, and he served in this capacity until his retirement in 1944. Dr. Kreider was a strong and stable influence in the growth and development of the department, as he oversaw its eventual move to University Hall at the new campus on W. Bancroft Street. He was a member of many scientific, professional, and fraternal organizations and was instrumental in establishing and was charter member of the Toledo Section of the American Chemical Society.
Dr. Kreider's unusual personality is shown by his activity in two fields of endeavor - science and the ministry. Along with his academic duties, he was able to continue his witness to a strong religious faith as assistant pastor of the then First Reformed Church of Toledo for seven years and later as pastor of the then Emanuel Reformed Church of Haskins, Ohio for eleven years and continued to be active in church work as long as his health permitted. Long after his retirement from the University he continued to write or talk on one of his favorite subjects, "Science and Religion" in which he found no conflict in his own mind, but felt that one strengthened the other. In 1959 he and his wife moved to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1961 at the age of 87.

He was a gentle, modest man with a keen sense of humor, a ready story and a flair for poetry. As an undergraduate at Franklin Marshall, he was designated class poet of his class of 1898. His stature as a scientist and teacher was enhanced by his kindly understanding of his students. They looked upon him as counselor and guide, as well as teacher. At his urging, many of the students went on to graduate school in chemistry or to medical school and have held influential positions throughout the country. 

Last Updated: 7/15/24