Forgive me for forgetting with whom I was conversing -- at SLA we were chatting about color/dye chemistry. Today, serendipitiously, at the public library I ran across Garfield, Simon. Mauve : how one man invented a color that changed the world
. New York : Norton, c2001. Apparently English chemist William Perkin was trying to find a cure for malaria when he invented mauve. The book goes a little far by saying that this single-handedly created the field of industrial chemistry, but fascinating none the less.
I was trying to remember another book, one about red. Here's the information for that book: Greenfield, Amy Butler. A perfect red : empire, espionage, and the quest for the color of desire
. New York : HarperCollins, c2005.