Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]

(Record Group 88)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 88.1 Administrative History
  • 88.2 General Records of the FDA and its Predecessors 1880-1942
  • 88.3 Records of the Bureau of Chemistry 1877-1943 (bulk 1877-1920)
  • 88.4 Records of the Board of Food and Drug Inspection 1904-13
  • 88.5 Records of the Referee Board of Consulting Scientific Experts 1911-13
  • 88.6 Records of the Supervising Tea Examiner and Successors 1912-37
  • 88.7 Records of the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration and the Food and Drug Administration 1907-77
  • 88.8 Records of the Philadelphia Field Station 1906-46
  • 88.9 Textual Records (General) 1903-78
  • 88.10 Motion Pictures (General) 1957-68
  • 88.11 Still Pictures (General) 1885-1977

88.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Agriculture, effective July 1, 1930, by the Agricultural Appropriation Act (46 Stat. 422), May 27, 1930.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Department of Agriculture:

  • Division of Chemistry (1862-1901)
  • Bureau of Chemistry (1901-27)
Insecticide and Fungicide Board (IFB, 1910-27)

Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration (FDIA, 1927-30)

Transfers: To Federal Security Agency by Reorganization Plan No. IV of 1940, effective June 30, 1940; to Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) by Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953, effective April 11, 1953; to Public Health Service (PHS), HEW, by HEW reorganization order, April 1, 1968; to newly established Consumer Protection and Environmental Health Service, PHS, HEW, by HEW reorganization plan, effective July 1, 1968; to operating health agency status within PHS, effective July 1, 1970, by HEW reorganization plan, January 16, 1970; with PHS to Department of Health and Human Services by Department of Education Organization Act (93 Stat. 695), October 17, 1979.

Functions: Enforces statutes and regulations promoting the purity, standard potency, and accurate labeling of foods, cosmetics, medicines, and other consumer products.

Related Records:
Record copies of publications of the Food and Drug Administration and its predecessors in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of the Public Health Service, 1912-1968, RG 90.
Records of the Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry, RG 97.
Records of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, RG 424.

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88.2 General Records of the FDA and its Predecessors

History: Division of Chemistry established in the Department of Agriculture pursuant to provisions of its establishing act (12 Stat. 387), May 15, 1862. Began analysis of foods, drugs, and insecticides, 1883. Redesignated Bureau of Chemistry, effective July 1, 1901. Enforced an act of June 30, 1906 (34 Stat. 768), called the Food and Drugs Act for appropriations purposes.

Insecticide and Fungicide Board established by General Order 143, Department of Agriculture, December 22, 1910, to administer the Insecticide and Fungicide Act (36 Stat. 331), April 26, 1910, with associated analytical work vested in Bureau of Chemistry.

IFB superseded, July 1, 1927, by the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration, established on that date pursuant to the Agricultural Appropriation Act (44 Stat. 1002), January 18, 1927, absorbing also the regulatory functions of the Bureau of Chemistry, which was merged by the same act with the Bureau of Soils to form the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils. FDIA redesignated FDA, 1930. See 88.1.

Textual Records: Project schedules and reports on enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act, 1916-38. Index of articles seized because of violations of the Food and Drugs Act, 1908-39. Records relating to the Food and Drugs Act, including correspondence, 1919-37, with index; charge and status cards, showing product status and charges against products, dealers, and manufacturers, 1907-38; and an index to manufacturers charged with violations, 1909-40. Records of the Food Standards Committee relating to investigations into the manufacture of food products, 1897-1938. Records relating to foreign food and drug legislation, 1910-40, with card index. Records concerning Consumers' Research, Inc., 1922-40. Summary information cards about seizure recommendations, 1907-38, and food product sample analyses, 1905-33. Import detention notices, 1908-38, and card index to import detention correspondence, 1906-42. Records relating to the proposed importation of medicinal and food substances, 1922-38. Records relating to an importer of chemicals used in fruit and vegetable sprays and pharmaceuticals, 1925-38. Allotment and disbursement ledgers, 1914-40. Reports, circulars, bulletins, and other records of committees engaged in the publication of the United States Pharmacopoeia, 1880-1940.

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88.3 Records of the Bureau of Chemistry
1877-1943 (bulk 1877-1920)

Textual Records: Transcripts of hearings to determine the legal definition of whiskey, 1906-9. Records relating to a court case involving the seizure of a shipment of phenacetin (or acetphenetidin), 1906-14. Minutes of the Committee on Business Methods, 1907-13. Reports and correspondence relating to enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act ("Special File"), 1907-20. Letters sent to inspection districts, 1916-17. World War I project files on problems of conservation, preservation, and development of new food sources, 1917-19. Card index to publications and manuscripts of former staff members, 1900-43. Miscellaneous records, 1877-1910.

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88.4 Records of the Board of Food and Drug Inspection

History: Established by order of the Secretary of Agriculture, April 25, 1907, to act on all questions arising from enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act of 1906. Interpreted the act and conducted hearings on alleged violations. Abolished, February 1, 1914, with functions divided between Bureau of Chemistry and Office of the Solicitor, Department of Agriculture.

Textual Records: Minutes of executive sessions, 1907-13. Index to hearings, 1907-13. Correspondence of the Chairman, 1908-10. Food inspection decisions, 1904-13. Transcripts of hearings on bleached flour, November 18-23, 1908. Notices of judgment obtained by the board, 1908-10. Reports by the Bureau of Chemistry, Solicitor of the Department of Agriculture, U.S. consuls abroad, and others, 1908-12. Records relating to recommendations on the seizure and condemnation of food and drug shipments on grounds of adulteration or mislabeling, 1908-12.

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88.5 Records of the Referee Board of Consulting Scientific

History: Established by the Secretary of Agriculture, February 20, 1908, to report on the wholesome or deleterious character of foods and drugs. Discontinued after June 30, 1915.

Textual Records: Reports, food charts, blood analyses, and correspondence relating to the use of sulphur dioxide as a food preservative and to the use of alum in certain foods, 1911-13.

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88.6 Records of the Supervising Tea Examiner and Successors

History: Established in the Department of the Treasury as head of the tea inspection service, to enforce the Tea Act (29 Stat. 604), March 2, 1897, and to provide expert assistance to the Secretary of the Treasury in setting standards of purity and quality for imported teas. Responsibility for administering the act transferred to the Bureau of Chemistry, July 1, 1920. Returned to FDIA by the Agriculture Appropriations Act of 1927 (44 Stat. 1003), January 15, 1927.

Textual Records: Periodic and special statistical reports, 1912- 37. Correspondence, 1913-29.

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88.7 Records of the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration
and the Food and Drug Administration

Textual Records: Records of FDIA and FDA Commissioners relating to proposed food and drug legislation, 1927-40. FDA general correspondence, 1930-37, with index. Transcript of a hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry concerning the administration of the Food and Drugs Act, June 3- 30, 1930. Reports, correspondence, and memorandums relating to a survey of orange beverages and the effects of shellac on animal organisms, 1935-36. Records of the Food Division, 1929-41, and of its Beverage Branch, 1907-45, concerning tests and analyses of foods. Import milk permit case files, 1927-41, with index, 1927- 45. Minutes, reports, correspondence, and memorandums relating to the work of the Division of Medicine with the National Research Council committees on medical research and on drugs and medical supplies, 1941-46. Advertising material for patent medicines and health devices, used to demonstrate the need for regulation of food and drug advertising, 1933-37. Printed notices of judgment in cases under section 4 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1908-43, and related partial index, 1922-37; and in cases under section 705 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of June 25, 1938 (52 Stat. 1040), 1940-54. Record set of FDA forms, 1950-77.

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88.8 Records of the Philadelphia Field Station

Textual Records (in Philadelphia): Reports, correspondence, and memorandums relating to manufacturers and distributors of foods, drugs, and insecticides within its jurisdiction, 1906-46.

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88.9 Textual Records (General)

Subject files, 1903-74. Drug reports, 1967-69. Hearing clerk records, 1961. Articles and speeches, 1916-64. Publications, 1917-68. Office of Public Information files, 1960-64. Food Standards Advisory Committee records, 1941-42. Records of the Federal Committee on Pest Control, 1946-64. Proceedings of conferences and National Food and Drug Council records, 1963-68. Citizens Advisory Committee files and other records, 1950-69. Radiation Registry of Physicians questionnaires and related records, 1960-78. Classified general subject files, 1945. Operational plans, 1966-74.

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88.10 Motion Pictures (General)

Operation Plumbob, depicting FDA tests to determine effects of residual radiation (fallout) on commodities, 1957 (1 reel). FDA public service announcements on health and consumer fraud, 1966- 68 (3 reels).

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88.11 Still Pictures (General)

Photographs: FDA personnel, 1968-77 (P, 480 images).

Photographs and Color Slides: FDA activities, including administration, laboratory analysis, and investigation, 1962-77 (A, 26,020 images).

Photographs and Lantern Slides: Regulatory and analytical functions of the FDA and its predecessors, including chemical analysis of drugs, investigations of fraudulent labeling of drugs, inspections of food products, and seizure and destruction of contaminated foods; and manufacture of candy, liquor, and other commodities, 1885-1944 (GP, GB, GS, GN, 4,000 images).

Finding Aids: Shelf lists for series GB and GS.

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.

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