Rolf Dessauer papers open for research

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dylux ad by DuPontThe Manuscripts and Archives Department is pleased to announce the opening of the Rolf Dessauer papers. Dessauer began working for E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company in 1952 at the Orchem’s General Organic Division. His research projects have included the development of printing plates and color-proofing materials, as well as developing lightfast colors for DuPont’s commercial automotive glass interliner, BUTACITE®.

Working as a chemist for the company in imaging technology, and new dyes, he was instrumental in joint research programs with other corporations that led to projects with ALCOA and Xerox. In 1986 Dessauer assisted the DuPont and Xerox companies in a joint venture which became DX Imaging -- a Pennsylvania-based company that made products for the electronic imaging market by adapting liquid toner technology to high-resolution color proofing and color printing.

Dessauer’s interests have also included photochemistry, and the manufacturing and marketing of new product development. Holding more than 25 patents in the fields of dye chemistry, UV-absorbers, photochromism and revolutionary imaging systems, he is a researcher, inventor, and one who has helped commercialize scientific discoveries. Dessauer’s voracious appetite for learning has led him to many successful findings.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc. is an ever-evolving, innovative corporation. The diversity of its research and products during the second half of the 20th century is documented in these papers. During Dessauer’s tenure, many departments at DuPont were dissolved or absorbed into others.

This collection of documents that Dessauer has amassed gives a snapshot into the managerial mindset of one of the largest chemical giants and helps document the corporate climate of the 1960s through the 1990s. The collection dates from 1951 through 1992. Papers such as product venture reports, project notebooks, patents, and correspondence record the scientific discoveries Dessauer and colleagues made with the molecular structure of color and dye chemistry. Intra-departmental communications, divisional reports, and company memoranda show the growth and changes of corporate divisions, departments and offices.

The Rolf Dessauer papers are available for research at the Manuscripts and Archives Department located in the Soda House. You might find Dr. Dessauer in the reading room using his papers for current consulting work.

View the finding aid online at

Marsha Mills is the archival specialist in the Manuscripts and Archives Department