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Freeman F. Bentley Papers

Identifier: MS-423

Scope and Content

The Freeman F. Bentley Papers consist primarily of materials regarding his career in the field of spectroscopy. The majority of the material in this collection is scientific in nature and includes test results, data sheets, technical reports and articles. Bentley was actively involved in the scientific community as a member of professional organizations such as the Society of Applied Spectroscopy, the American Chemical Society, and the Coblentz Society. He also authored (in whole or part) several books and numerous articles.

Series I, Professional Life, is consists of materials relating to Freeman F. Bentley’s career, with materials dating from 1943 to 2006, and is divided into three subseries. Subseries IA, Symposiums and Organizations, consists of materials that Bentley collected at the various symposiums and conferences he attended, including correspondence, newsletters, and notes on conference speeches, as well as abstracts and some membership directories. The majority of the materials come from the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (an annual conference that Bentley attended numerous times), Society of Applied Spectroscopy, American Chemical Society, Ohio Valley Chromatography Symposium, and Coblentz Society (of which Bentley served a term as president). Materials in Subseries IA date from 1957-2006. Subseries IB, Job Searching Materials, consists of career summaries, resumes, and job-search-related correspondence, including reference letters. Of particular interest may be the Career Summaries, which give detailed descriptions of Bentley’s professional qualifications and job duties. Materials in Subseries IB date from 1951-1986. Subseries IC, General Work Materials, consist of monthly reports related to specific contracts, such as with Mellon Institute or Monsanto Corporation; materials related to training and instruction (both as teacher and student), such as at the Army Chemical Corps and University of Dayton; materials related to Bentley’s time in the Army; and other materials. Materials in Subseries IC date from 1943-1995.

Series II, Lab Work, is consists of materials that are a result of Bentley’s time in the laboratory, with materials dating from X to Y, and is divided into three subseries. Subseries IIA, Reports, consists of written reports on topics related to Bentley’s laboratory and spectroscopy work. Bentley authored several of these reports, which are indicated in the collection inventory with Bentley’s name in parenthesis. Materials in Subseries IIA date from 1937 to 1986, with the bulk being from 1955 to 1975. Subseries IIB, Manuals, consists of manuals of the laboratory machinery that Bentley used in his testing. Materials in Subseries IIB date from 1945 to 1991. Subseries IIC, Data and Results, consists of undated test result sheets and corresponding data sheets.

Series III, Business Ventures, consists of materials related to Bentley’s life outside of his career. Included in this series are materials on independent business endeavors, such as his work through the Babee-Tenda Corporation, the Burger Chef Franchise, and his personal interest in chinchilla breeding. Materials in this series date from 1954 to 1963.

Series IV, Legal Matters, consists of materials related to the age-discrimination lawsuits that Bentley brought against the federal government as a result of a change in his position in the mid-1970s. Materials include Records of Proceedings, exhibits, appeals, and various subject files relevant to the proceedings. Materials in this series are minimally processed and date from approximately 1975 to 1981.


  • Creation: 1937 - 2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1955 - 1975


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in English; however, German, French, and other languages are occasionally present in materials pertaining international travel or product literature published outside of the United States.

Restrictions on Access

There are no donor-imposed restrictions on access to this collection. However, a portion of the collection (Series IV) is stored off-site; therefore, please provide us at least two days advance notice of researching in Series IV of the collection. Call (937) 775-2092 or e-mail us at

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Freeman F. Bentley

Freeman F. Bentley was a research chemist at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) for over 30 years. Born on August 15, 1920, in Georgia, Bentley was an Army Veteran of World War II before he attended the University of Georgia, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree (1947) and Master of Science Degree (1949) in Organic Chemistry. Bentley began working for WPAFB in 1951 as a research chemist in the Air Force Materials Laboratory. Throughout his career at WPAFB, Bentley held numerous positions, which are listed in his Career Summaries in this collection.

Much of his laboratory focus was centered on spectroscopy. He authored several books and articles throughout his career on his spectroscopy findings. His writings and reports are especially important considering Bentley was a pioneer in the field of far infrared spectroscopy. His dedication to this topic is evident through his membership in professional organizations such as the Society of Applied Spectroscopy and the American Chemical Society. Freeman F. Bentley was also involved in a few personal business endeavors before he died in January of 2009.


37 linear feet


The collection consists of papers covering Freeman Bentley's life, focusing on his scientific career and his research in spectroscopy. The majority of the material in this collection is scientific in nature and includes test results, data sheets, technical reports and articles. Bentley authored many of the technical reports and articles in this collection. His writings and reports are especially important considering Bentley was a pioneer in the field of far infrared spectroscopy. In addition to these materials are information on the types of machinery he used in his lab as well as papers from the numerous conferences he attended and the professional organizations in which he was a member.

Statement of Arrangement

The Freeman F. Bentley Papers are organized into three series and six subseries:

  1. Series I: Professional Life, 1943-2006
  2. Subseries IA: Symposiums and Organizations, 1957-2006
  3. Subseries IB: Job Searching Materials, 1951-1986
  4. Subseries IC: General Work Materials, 1943-1995
  5. Series II: Lab Work, 1937-1991
  6. Subseries IIA: Reports and Articles, 1937-1986
  7. Subseries IIB: Laboratory Equipment Information, 1945-1991
  8. Subseries IIC: Data and Results, undated
  9. Series III: Business Ventures, 1954-1963
  10. Series IV: Legal Matters, 1975-1981

Acquisition Information

The Freeman F. Bentley Papers were donated to Wright State University’s Special Collection and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, by Freeman’s wife Rose and his daughter Vicki on 30 May 2008. Several additions were received from Vicki Bentley in 2014, 2017, and 2019.


Future additions to the collection are possible.

Related Material

MS-328: Dayton Section, American Chemical Society Records. MS-551: Ohio Valley Chromatography Symposium Records.


Published books received with the collection, including two by Freeman Bentley, have been cataloged. Bentley’s books include: Freeman F. Bentley, Lee D. Smithson, and Adele L. Rozek. Infrared Spectra and Characteristic Frequencies 700-300 cm⁻¹; Collection of Spectra, Interpretation, and Bibliography. New York: Interscience, 1968. Call number QC 457 .B49. Francis R. Dollish, William G. Fateley, and Freeman F. Bentley. Characteristic Raman frequencies of organic compounds. New York: Wiley, 1974. Call number QC 462.85 .D64.

Processing Information

The materials located in Subseries IIC have not been fully processed. The materials are in the same order and condition in which they were brought in without further processing. The general arrangement seems to follow a numbering system which can be found on the results sheet and the data sheet. Series IV has also been minimally processed.

Processing Information

Note that the finding aid inventory in the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository and in ArchivesSpace does not include additions to the collection processed in 2019. The PDF finding aid at does have a complete inventory with the 2019 additions.

Guide to the Freeman F. Bentley Papers (MS-423)
Finding aid prepared by Elise K. Kelly, Patricia A. McEldowney, Nicole J. Williams, March 2011. Additions processed by Lisa Rickey, 2019
2019 Dec 6
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • October 2012: Added container list to EAD.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA