Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division

A Division of the American Chemical Society


Inspiring bio-based solutions for a sustainable future.


Leading and supporting innovation in cellulose & renewable materials by providing a forum for our members to excel in the chemical sciences and technology.

By-laws of the CELL Division of the ACS

A copy of the CELL Division's by-laws can be downloaded here.

Strategic Plan 2016/2017

A strategic plan for the division was drafted and accepted by the division's executive committee in April 2016. A copy of the strategic is available here for members to view.

History of the Division

Originally, cellulose chemists met at the technical sessions of the Industrial and Engineering Division. At the Spring 1920 ACS meeting in St. Louis, the founders held and recorded their first conversations about forming a separate Section of the I&EC Division. Action was formalized in the Fall of 1920 with the ACS President appointing Harold Hibbert as Chairman and G. J. Esselen, Jr. as Secretary for the Cellulose Chemistry Section. The first independent sessions were held at the ACS meeting in Rochester in April 1921. 

At that time, Cellulose was one of 16 groups organizing technical sessions at the national ACS meetings. Their 29 papers represented 4.5% of all the papers given at Rochester. In 1922, they petitioned and were granted the right to become a Division. The Division By-Laws were first printed in October 1922 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The charter was granted at the Fall 1922 meeting in Pittsburgh by the ACS Council. At that time, the Chairman was G. J. Esselen. The Division kept the name Cellulose Chemistry until 1961 despite the fact that many papers on wood structure and composition, lignin, extractives, bark and derivatives appeared regularly from 1923 onward. The anomaly in the name of the Division was removed in 1961 when it became the Division of Cellulose, Wood and Fiber Chemistry. In 1973, to keep up with the changing nature of the field, it became the Cellulose, Paper and Textile Division.

In 1962, with financial donations from industry, the Division established the Anselme Payen Award. This annual award consists of a scroll, a plaque, and an honorarium and can be given to any scientist worldwide for outstanding research in the Division's fields of interest (before 1975, only residents of North America were eligible for the award.) In 1983, the Division established the Division Fellow Award to recognize its members whose dedication, leadership and enthusiastic service have kept the Cellulose, Paper and Textile Division moving forward. In 1998 the Graduate Student Award was instituted in partnership with the Eastman Chemical Company. The award is open to students studying the chemical nature of cellulose, paper and textiles at graduate research programs in North America.