The origins of the FDA History Office can be traced back to March 1968, when Commissioner James Goddard assigned Wallace Janssen, a Public Information Specialist and Special Assistant to the Assistant Commissioner for Education and Information, the responsibility of establishing an agency-wide historian’s office.
The office was located within the short-lived Science Information Facility, but Janssen reported directly to the Commissioner. Three months later Janssen engaged James Harvey Young, a distinguished scholar from Emory University and an authority on the history of food and drug control, as a Consultant on History.
Also in 1968, Young received a grant from the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to begin conducting oral histories with former FDA officials and others who were pertinent to his work in progress on the history of the FDA. The tapes and transcripts were deposited in the History of Medicine Division of the NLM.