Charles Edwards Papers, 1970 - 1979 (MSS 0447)


Extent: 3.4 Linear feet (6 archives boxes and 3 oversize folders)

Papers of Charles Edwards, physician, surgeon, administrator, and former Assistant Secretary for Health (1973-1975) of the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Edwards also served as Commissioner (1969-1973) of the United States Food and Drug Administration, senior vice president (1975-1977) of Becton, Dickinson and Co., chief executive officer (1977-1991) of The Scripps Research Institute and CEO (1991-1995) of Scripps Institute of Medicine. The collection contains speeches, articles, newspaper clippings, awards and certificates, and correspondence.

Dr. Charles C. Edwards was born on September 16, 1923, in Overton, Ohio. He attended Princeton University (1941-43) and then transferred to the University of Colorado, where he completed his A.B. in 1945 and his M.D. in 1948. He received an M.S. in surgery from the University of Minnesota in 1956. After teaching surgery (1957-62), maintaining a private practice (1956-61) and serving in several capacities at the American Medical Association (1962-67), Edwards was appointed Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration in December of 1969. His work in the FDA (1969-73) included the discovery and recall of tuna fish poisoned with mercury, the standardization of food nutrition labels, a ban on the cattle fattening chemical D.E.S., and the removal of dangerous dyes and other substances from cosmetics. In April of 1973, Edwards was appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary for Health of the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Caspar Weinberger. In this position he continued to focus on consumer safety while expanding his responsibilities to encompass investigations concerning the regulation and equitable provision of health care in the United States and world-wide.

In 1975 he resigned as Assistant Secretary to accept a position as senior vice president of Becton, Dickinson and Co., a world-leading manufacturer of medical supplies and equipment. In 1977 Edwards was appointed president and chief executive officer of The Scripps Research Institute (Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation). He also served as president of the National Health Council in 1977.

Dr. Edwards passed away in 2011.

The Charles Edwards Papers document the achievements of a government official, medical officer and administrator in the medical supply industry. The collection is arranged in five series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIAL, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS, 4) PHOTOGRAPHS, and 5) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS.


The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIAL series (1970-1983) contains a biographical sketch, a report compiled during Edwards' presidency of TSRI, memorabilia, and certificates and awards. Included are certificates of appointment to the post of Commissioner of the FDA, signed by Caspar Weinberger, and to the post of Assistant Secretary of H.E.W., signed by President Richard Nixon. For newspaper articles about and published interviews with Charles Edwards, see the NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS series.


The CORRESPONDENCE series contains primarily letters of congratulations sent to Edwards upon his appointment to the post of Assistant Secretary for Health in 1973. Included is a letter from President Ford accepting Edwards' resignation from H.E.W.


The WRITINGS series (1970-1979) is arranged in two subseries: A) Articles and B) Speeches.

A) The Articles subseries is arranged alphabetically and contains magazine and newspaper articles by Charles Edwards, principally on the subject of public health.

B) The Speeches subseries (1970-1979) is arranged chronologically and contains presentations delivered during Edwards' relationship with the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Becton, Dickinson and Co., and The Scripps Research Institute. This collection of speeches delivered by Edwards is nearly comprehensive, lacking only the speeches from 1976. Included are dedications, addresses, press conference statements, symposia remarks, acceptance speeches, and professional presentations to committees and subcommittees of both the U.S. Government and private industry. Topics include food and drug safety, the role of the FDA, public health concerns, the regulation of public health costs and health insurance, and points of progress in the health care field.


The PHOTOGRAPHS series includes images from various trips, conferences and ceremonies; a portrait of Edwards; an autographed portrait of Caspar Weinberger; and two of Edwards' personal photograph albums containing pictures from trips to Cairo and Moscow.


Newspaper clippings (1970-1979) are arranged topically by folder and then chronologically within each folder. Topics include general biographical information, drugs and drug safety, food labels and food safety, health care, the National Institutes of Health, and interviews with Edwards.

For additional information, see Scripps Research Institute Office of Public Affairs Records (MSS 72), Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Container List


Box: 1 Folder: 1
Biographical sketch
Box: 1 Folder: 2 Oversize: FB-218-01
Certificates and awards, 1956 - 1984
Box: 1 Folder: 3
Competitive Status of the U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry. Report prepared by the Pharmaceutical Panel, Committee on Technology and International Economic and Trade Issues (Charles Edwards, Chairman), 1983
Box: 1 Folder: 4
Memorabilia, 1971 - 1975
Box: 1 Folder: 5
Orientation packet for Food and Drug Administration, 1970


Box: 1 Folder: 6
Letter from President Ford, 1974
Box: 1 Folder: 7-11
Letters of congratulations to Edwards, Assistant Secretary for Health, 1973
Box: 1 Folder: 12
Telegram to Dr. Howard, 1974



Box: 1 Folder: 13
American Health Care System: A Prognosis - Reprinted from Transactions - American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, 1975
Box: 1 Folder: 14
Case Against a Mandatory National Health Insurance Plan - Opinion, Des Moines Register, December 1978
Box: 1 Folder: 15
Edwards Strikes Back in the Post - Science, 1974
Box: 1 Folder: 16
Goodbye Community Hospital - American Medical News, September 1979
Box: 1 Folder: 17
Health Insurance: An Idea Whose Time Has Gone - San Diego Union, March 1979
Box: 1 Folder: 18
My Strategy for a Healthier America - Medical Opinion, 1974
Box: 1 Folder: 19
Time for a National Health Authority - Hospital Progress, June 1976
Box: 1 Folder: 20
Toward a New Understanding - Medical Marketing and Media, December 1970
Box: 1 Folder: 21
What You Can Do to Combat High Blood Pressure - Family Health, November 1973
Box: 1 Folder: 22
Yearly Health Care Bill Tops $185 Billion - Editorial, San Diego Union, July 1978


Food and Drug Administration
Box: 2 Folder: 1-2
1970 - 1971
Box: 3 Folder: 1-2
1971 - 1972
Box: 4 Folder: 1
1972 - 1973
Health, Education and Welfare
Box: 4 Folder: 2
1973 - 1974
Box: 5 Folder: 1
1974 - 1975
Box: 5 Folder: 2-3
Becton, Dickinson and Company, 1975 - 1976
The Scripps Research Institute
Box: 5 Folder: 4-5
1977 - 1978
Box: 6 Folder: 1
Box: 6 Folder: 2
World Federation of Proprietary Medicine Manufacturers - Includes program, 1979


Box: 6 Folder: 3 Oversize: FB-218-02
Cairo Trip photograph album
Box: 6 Folder: 4
Edwards, Charles - Portrait
Box: 6 Folder: 5
Food Labeling Briefing, 1973
Moscow Trip
Box: 6 Folder: 6 Oversize: FB-218-03
Photograph album, 1973
Box: 6 Folder: 7
Loose photographs, 1973
Box: 6 Folder: 8
Swearing-in ceremony, 1973
Box: 6 Folder: 9
Twenty-Sixth World Health Assembly, Geneva - Includes invitation and agenda information, 1973
Box: 6 Folder: 10
Weinberger, Caspar - Portrait
Box: 6 Folder: 11
White House Conference for Scientific and Medical Writers, 1973


Box: 6 Folder: 12-13
About Edwards - General information on Charles Edwards, 1970 - 1979, undated
Box: 6 Folder: 14
Drugs and drug safety - F.D.A., 1969 - 1975
Box: 6 Folder: 15
Food labels and food safety - F.D.A., 1970 - 1973
Box: 6 Folder: 16
Health care, 1971 - 1975
Box: 6 Folder: 17
Interviews with Edwards, 1970 - 1979
Box: 6 Folder: 18
National Institutes of Health, 1973 - 1975