Born 1868, Died 1941
J.R. Bailey was born in Houston in 1868, and grew up in Paris, Texas. He attended Philips Exeter Academy before coming to UT, where he initially majored in classics before switching to chemistry in his senior year. He received a BA in 1891, and, like Schoch, divided his subsequent time between a position as Tutor in the Chemistry Dept. and working toward a PhD in Munich. He earned his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1897, studying under such eminent German chemists as Friedrich Thiele, Adolf von Baeyer, and Wilhelm Ostwald, and in London under William Ramsay. He returned to UT to take a professorship in chemistry, and became one of the triumvirate that set the department on its course towards research excellence in the decades that followed.
A prolific researcher, Bailey straddled the fields of organic and petroleum chemistry, working extensively with drug synthesis as well. During World War I, he worked in New York designing synthetic techniques for drugs, including novocaine. At a time when this kind of knowledge was largely limited to Germany, he made major contributions to the American war effort.
Bailey served as department chairman from 1912-15 and 1920-26. He remained an active researcher until his sudden death from a stroke at the age of 73.
Obituary: The Alcalde 29(8) May 1941, 177-8.
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