James A. Shannon buildingOFFICE OF NIH HISTORY

The Office of NIH History at the National Institutes of Health exists to advance historical understanding of biomedical research within the NIH and the world. Through preserving records of significant NIH achievements, innovative exhibits, and educational programs, the Office of NIH History explores the past to enhance present understanding of the health sciences and the National Institutes of Health.



Visit the newly created website Early Computers at NIH examining how scientists at the National Institutes of Health have taken advantage of the best computing technologies of the day, starting with an abacus used by Dr. Wallace Rowe  to the IBM ThinkPad laptop used by Dr. Richard Nakamura. All of these devices and more trace the history of technology used at NIH. The full object record is available in the NIH Stetten Museum collection.

Building 7 is slated to be demolished. Once a state-of-the-art biocontainment facility, Building 7 has been scheduled for demolition.  Opened in 1948, Building 7 was used by NIAID scientists performing virology research until 2001, when a more up-to-date biosafety facility was constructed in Building 50.  Researchers from NEI used Building 7 from 2003-2009, while renovations were performed on their previous facility.  The building was decommissioned in 2009, and it has since been used by local law enforcement agencies to practice active-shooter drills. The historic landscape of the National Institutes of Health continues to change.



Oral histories are added on a regular basis. This month we received a donation of two new histories. Look for Dr. Paul Plotz and Dr. Stephen E. Straus in the future.

Pastan, Ira
Interview date: September 24, 2008 and September 25, 2008

Rodrigues, Dennis
Interview date: January 3, 2006

The Office of NIH History holds photograph collections cataloged and uncataloged. Many can be found in Search Our Collections. To request images for use in publications or presentations contact the Office of History.


Recent publications by former fellows, based partly on their work as Stetten Fellows

David Cantor
, Stress, Shock, and Adaptation in the Twentieth Century. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2014.

Johanna Crane,
 Scrambling for Africa: AIDS, Expertise, and the Rise of American Global Health Science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.

Eric Boyle, Quack Medicine: A History of Combating Health Fraud in Twentieth-Century America. Praeger, 2013. A former Stetten Fellow, his first book was recently awarded Best Print Publication from the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences. Read about it at The National Museum of Health and Medicine news and events page.



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Office of History and Stetten Museum | Bldg 60 | Suite 230 | National Institutes of Health | Bethesda, MD 20814-1460
Phone: 301.496.6610 | Email: history@nih.gov

Last updated: 14 July 2014
First published: 2 February 2005
Permanence level:
Permanent: Dynamic Content