OFFICE OF NIH HISTORY
In the early 1950s, Louise Endicott, a long-time member of the National Institutes of Health Scientific Reports Branch, asked to be appointed as an unofficial agency historian. Ms. Endicott retired in 1956 and in 1962, Dr. Wyndham Miles was appointed as the first professional historian for the National Institutes of Health. He served until 1974, when he moved to the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine.
During the years leading up to the National Institutes of Health centennial commemoration, Dr. DeWitt Stetten, Jr., NIH Deputy Director for Science (emeritus) proposed establishment of a museum of medical research instruments to preserve the material heritage of biomedical research. In October 1986, the museum, combined with a revived NIH History Office, was created, and Dr. Victoria A. Harden was appointed NIH Historian and Curator. In May 1987, the museum was renamed in honor of Dr. Stetten. In 2002, the organization was renamed the Office of NIH History with two components, the Historical Research Unit and the Stetten Museum. Dr. Harden retired in 2006 and Dr. Robert Martensen became the Director of the Office in 2007.
The Office of NIH History is a component of the Office of Intramural Research (OIR) in the Office of the Director. OIR is responsible for the budget and operational authority of the Office of NIH History. In planning for the work of the office, the Deputy Director of Intramural Research and the Director of the Office of NIH History are advised by a committee of Federal scientists and officials appointed by the NIH Director and by non-NIH historians on an ad-hoc basis.