Note: This bibliography should be viewed only as a starting point for research on the history of the National Institutes of Health. There are personal accounts, public documents, and publications prepared by individual institutes too numerous to include here. Each reference on this list can lead the reader to many additional sources.


Ahrens, Edward H., Jr., The Crisis in Clinical Research: Overcoming Institutional Obstacles. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Alkon, Daniel L., Memory's Voice: Deciphering the Mind-Brain Code. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.

Blodi, Frederick C., “The History of the National Eye Institute,” American Journal of Ophthalmology 115 (1993): 420-25.

Brown, Bertram S. The Federal Mental Health Program: Past, Present, and Future. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 27(7) 1976: 512-514.

Cantor, David,  “Between Prevention and Therapy: Gio Batta Gori and the National Cancer Institute’s Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Programme, 1974-1978,”  Medical History, 56, 4,
October 2012, pp. 531-561.

Cantor, David,  “Le National Cancer Institute: problème d’une intervention fédérale contre le cancer dans l’Amérique du début du XXe siècle,” in Didier Foucault (ed.), Lutter contre le cancer (1740-1960), Toulouse: Éditions Privat, 2012, pp. 329-358.

Cantor, David,  “Radium and the Origins of the National Cancer Institute,” in Caroline Hannaway (ed.),Biomedicine in the Twentieth Century: Practices, Policies, and Politics, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008, pp. 95-146.

Cook-Deegan, Robert M. The Gene Wars: Science, Politics, and the Human Genome. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994

Drew, Elizabeth Brenner, “The Health Syndicate: Washington 's Noble Conspirators,” Atlantic Monthly 220 (1967): 75-82.

Dyer, R. E., “Medical Research in the United States Public Health Service,” Bulletin of the Society of Medical History of Chicago 6 (1948): 58-68.

Erdey, Nancy Carol, Armor of Patience: The National Cancer Institute and the Development of Medical Research Policy in the United States, 1937-1971, Ph.D. dissertation, Department of History, Case Western Reserve University, 1995.

Farreras, Ingrid G., Caroline Hannaway, and Victoria A. Harden, Eds., Mind, Brain, Body, and Behavior: Foundations of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research at the National Institutes of Health. Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2004..

Fox, Daniel M., “The Politics of the NIH Extramural Program, 1937-1950,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 42 (1987): 447-66.

Fredrickson, Donald S., “Biomedical Science and the Culture Warp,” in William N. Kelley, Marian Osterweis, and Elaine R. Rubin, (eds.), Emerging Policies for Biomedical Research, Health Policy Annual III (Washington, DC: Association of Academic Health Centers, 1993), pp. 1-42.

Fredrickson, Donald S., “The National Institutes of Health Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” Public Health Reports 93 (1978): 642-47.

Fredrickson, Donald S., The Recombinant DNA Controversy, A Memoir: Science, Politics, and Public Interest 1974-1981 ( Washington, DC: American Society of Microbiology, 2001).

Forty Years of Achievement in Heart, Lung, and Blood Research: A Collection of Essays in Selected Areas of Biomedical Research Accomplishment. Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 1987.

Furman, Bess, A Profile of the United States Public Health Service, 1798-1948. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, DHEW Publication No. (NIH) 73-369.

Gallo, Robert. Virus Hunting: AIDS, Cancer, and the Human Retrovirus: A Story of Scientific Discovery. New York: Basic Books, 1991.

Grob, Gerald N., “Creation of the National Institute of Mental Health,” Public Health Reports, 111 (1996): 378-81.

Grob, Gerald N., From Asylum to Community: Mental Health Policy in Modern America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Hamer, Dean and Copeland, Peter. Living with Our Genes: Why They Matter More Than You Think. New York: Doubleday, 1998.

Hannaway, Caroline, ed., Biomedicine in the Twentieth Century: Practices, Policies, and Politics, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008.

Hannaway, Caroline; Harden, Victoria; and Parascandola, John (eds.), AIDS and the Public Debate: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Amsterdam and Washington, DC: IOS Press, 1995).

Harden, Victoria A., AIDS at 30: A History. Washington, DC: Potomac Books, Inc., 2012.

Harden, Victoria A., Inventing the NIH: Federal Biomedical Research Policy, 1887-1937. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

Harden, Victoria A., “The National Institutes of Health,” entry in The Historical Guide to the U.S. Government (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 409-414.

Harden, Victoria A., “National Institutes of Health: Celebrating 100 Years of Medical Progress,” in Encyclopedia Britannica, 1989 Medical and Health Annual (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1988), pp. 158-75.

Harden, Victoria A. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: History of a Twentieth-Century Disease. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Harris, Ruth Roy, “Brief History of the National Eye Institute,” Government Publications Review 12 (1985): 427-48.

Harris, Ruth Roy. Dental Science in a New Age: A History of the National Institute of Dental Research. Rockville, Md.: Montrose Press, 1989.

van Heyningen, W. E. and Seal, John R. Cholera: The American Scientific Experience, 1947-1980 . Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1983.

Judd, Lewis L., “Historical Highlights of the National Institute of Mental Health from 1946 to the Present,” American Journal of Psychiatry, 155 Suppl (1998): 3-8.

Kanigel, Robert. Apprentice to Genius: The Making of a Scientific Dynasty. New York: Macmillan, 1986.

Keating, Peter and Cambrosio, Alberto.Cancer on Trial: Oncology as a New Style of Practice.
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Khot, Sandeep, Park, Buhm Soon; Longstreth, W.T., Jr. The Vietnam War and Medical Research: Untold Legacy of the U.S. Doctor Draft and the NIH 'Yellow Berets,' Academic Medicine 86 (2011): 502-8.

Kornberg, Arthur. For the Love of Enzymes: The Odyssey of a Biochemist. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989.

Krause, Richard. The Restless Tide: The Persistent Challenge of the Microbial World. Washington, DC: The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, 1981.

Kraut, Alan M. Goldberger's War: The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader. Boston: Hill & Wang, 2003.

Lanahan, Ernestine Taylor. A Salute to the Past: A History of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Based on Personal Recollections. Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 1987.

Lee, Thomas H. Eugene Braunwald and the Rise of Modern Medicine. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013.

Lyons, Michele. Seventy Acres of Science: The NIH Moves to Bethesda. NIH Publication, 2006.

Mandel, Richard, Beacon of Hope, 1953-1993: The Clinical Center Through Forty Years of Growth and Change in Biomedicine. Bethesda, Maryland: National Institutes of Health, 1993.

Mandel, Richard, A Half Century of Peer Review, 1946-1996. Bethesda, Maryland: National Institutes of Health, Division of Research Grants, 1996.

Masur, Jack and Thompson, N. P., “A National Clinical Center for Chronic Disease Research,” Hospitals (November 1949): 1-12.

May, Clarence W. A Brief History of the Growth of the National Institutes of Health of the United States Public Health Service. January 15, 1947. (Internal Report)

McNees, Pat. Building Ten at Fifty: 50 Years of Clinical Research at the NIH Clinical Center. Clinical Center Communications, October 2003.

Mider, G. Burroughs, “The Federal Impact on Biomedical Research,” in John Z. Bowers and Elizabeth F. Purcell, eds., Advances in American Medicine: Essays at the Bicentennial, 2 vols. (New York: Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation, 1976) 2: 806-71.

Miles, Wyndham D. A History of the National Library of Medicine, The Nation's Treasury of Medical Knowledge. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, NIH Publication No. 82-1904, 1982.

Mullan, Fitzhugh. Plagues and Politics: The Story of the United States Public Health Service.

NIH Through the Years: A Century of Science and Health
Published for the National Institutes of Health Centennial, 1987.

“The National Cancer Institute: A Twenty-Year Retrospect,” by J. R. Heller, in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, special twentieth anniversary issue 19 (1957): 141-190.

National Cancer Institute, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, special fortieth anniversary issue 59 (2) suppl., 1977. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, DHEW Publication No. (NIH) 77-13.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, History and Fact Book, NIH publication, 1963.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Intramural Contributions, 1887-1987, ed. by Harriet R. Greenwald and Victoria A. Harden. Bethesda, Maryland: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 1987.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, A History of Progress: NIEHS, The First 20 Years (1966 to 1986). Research Triangle Park, NC: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 1986.

National Institutes of Health, NIH Almanac, published annually. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Selected sources from the Almanac can be found at

National Institutes of Health, NIH Data Book. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1961-1994. Copies available for reference by appointment in NIH Historical Office. Data now available at various locations on the NIH World Wide Web page,

National Institutes of Health, NIH Record available online (full-text) 1949-present.

November, Joseph, Biomedical computing : digitizing life in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.

O'Hern, Elizabeth Moot. Profiles of Pioneer Women Scientists. Washington, D.C.: Acropolis Books, Ltd., 1985. One section devoted to NIH scientists.

Park, Buhm Soon. “The Development of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institutes of Health After World War II,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, volume 46, number 3 (Summer 2003): 383-402.

Rapoport, Judith L. The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. New York: Dutton, 1989, reprint ed., Signet paperback, 1991.

Rettig, R. A. Cancer Crusade: The Story of the National Cancer Act of 1971 Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977. Written by a journalist.

Rhodes, Richard. Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Journalistic history of prion diseases.

Rosenberg, Steven A. and Barry, John M. The Transformed Cell: Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1992.

Rowland, Lewis P. NINDS at 50: An Incomplete History Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NIH Publication No. 01-4161. October 2001.

Sapir, Philip, and Brand, Jeanne. The National Institutes of Health Research Grant Program and the History and Sociocultural Aspects of Medicine. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 33 (1), Jan-Feb. 1959.

Schneider, Stanley F. National Institute of Mental Health. In the Encyclopedia of Psychology, Volume 5, pp. 391-394. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press, 2000.

Shannon, James A., “The Advancement of Medical Research: A Twenty-Year View of the Role of the National Institutes of Health, Journal of Medical Education 42 (1967): 97-108.

Shannon, James A., ed. Science and the Evolution of Public Policy. New York: Rockefeller University Press, 1973.

Shimkin, Michael B. As Memory Serves: Six Essays on a Personal Involvement with the National Cancer Institute, 1938 to 1978. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health; NIH Publication No. 83-2217, 1983.

Shorter, Edward, The Health Century. New York: Doubleday, 1987.

Schmeckebier, Laurence F. The Public Health Service, Its History, Activities, and Organization. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1923.

Spingarn, Natalie Davis, Heartbeat: The Politics of Health Research. Washington, D.C.: Robert B. Luce, 1976.

Stark, Laura, Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Stetten, DeWitt, Jr. and William T. Carrigan, eds. NIH: An Account of Research in Its Laboratories and Clinics. Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press, 1984.

Stimson, Arthur H., “A Brief History of Bacteriological Investigations of the U.S. Public Health Service, “ Supplement No. 141 to Public Health Reports, 1938.

Strickland, Stephen P., Politics, Science, and Dread Disease: A Short History of United States Medical Research Policy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972.

Strickland, Stephen P., The Story of the NIH Grants Program. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1989.

Swain, Donald C., “The Rise of a Research Empire: NIH, 1930-1950,” Science 138 (1962): 1233-37.

Thompson, Larry. Correcting the Code: Inventing the Genetic Cure for the Human Body. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Topping, Norman, Recollections, with Gordon Cohn. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, 1990. Memoir; chapters covering his career at the NIH and in the PHS.

Topping, Norman, “The United States Public Health Service Clinical Center for Medical Research,” Journal of the American Medical Association 150 (1952): 542-43.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Notable Contributions to Medical Research by Public Health Service Scientists: A Bio-bibliography to 1940, comp. by Jeanette Barry. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service Publication No. 752, 1960.

Van Slyke, C. J., “New Horizons in Medical Research,” Science 104 (1946): 559-67.

Varmus, Harold and Weinberg, Robert A., Genes and the Biology of Cancer. New York: Scientific American Library, 1993.

Williams, Ralph C., The United States Public Health Service, 1798-1950. Washington, D.C.: Commissioned Officers Association, 1951.

Zeckhauser, Richard
, Report: Future Growth of NIH. August 31, 1967.
This report was directed to address identified critical issues relating to Federal support for biomedical science.

Zigas, Vincent. Laughing Death: The Untold Story of Kuru. Clifton, N.J.: Humana Press, 1990.


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