Arthur Dehon Little was born in Boston Massachusetts, on December 15, 1863. He attended MIT 1881-1884, where he studied chemistry and edited the student newspaper, The Tech. Leaving MIT, he went to work at the Richmond Paper Company in Rumsford, Rhode Island, as a chemist, but was soon made superintendent and became expert in the new sulfite process for making paper. In 1886, he and Roger B. Griffin, who was also employed at Rumsford, started their own business for chemical analysis and consultation, the company considered the origin of Arthur D. Little, Inc. With Griffin, he wrote The Chemistry of Paper-making, for many years the authoritative text on the subject.
Arthur D. Little was one of the founders of Technology Review (MIT’s alumni magazine). He was President of the Alumni Association, 1921-1922. A member of the MIT Corporation, 1912-1917 and 1918-1923, he became a Life Member in 1923. As a member of MIT Corporation Visiting Committees for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, he was a strong advocate for advanced training in chemistry and its applications in many areas of industry. He was instrumental in the creation of the Chemical Engineering Practice School, the Research Laboratory of Applied Chemistry, and the Eastman Laboratories.
Little was a member of many professional and honorary scientific and engineering organizations. He was President of the American Chemical Society, 1912-1914; President of the Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1919; and President of the Society of Chemical Industry (London), 1928-1929. He was Vice-Chairman of the Engineering Foundation, 1927-1930. In 1931 he received the Perkin Medal as “the American Chemist who has most distinguished himself by his services to applied chemistry.”
Arthur D. Little died on August 1, 1935.