Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The USDA Bureau of Chemistry was established in 1901 through Congressional appropriations as a successor to the USDA Division of Chemistry. The new Bureau of Chemistry significantly built upon the work of its predecessor, which under the leadership of chief chemist Harvey Washington Wiley conducted research into the adulteration and misbranding of food and drugs on the American market. The 1906 Food and Drug Act, also known as the "Wiley Act," notably increased the Bureau's regulatory powers and led to the establishment of laboratories throughout the United States for testing the purity and composition of foods and drugs. These laboratories and the Bureau's campaigns against chemical additives exemplified the general Progressive-era trend towards greater federal regulation in matters of public safety. However, several judicial decisions quickly curtailed the Bureau's regulatory powers, which ultimately were reorganized under a new USDA body, the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Organization (later the Food and Drug Administration) in 1927.
These photographs were found among other Science History Institute collection materials and are believed to depict various laboratories associated with the USDA Bureau of Chemistry. The photographs are organized in individual sleeves according to the name or description of the laboratory, as recorded on the back of each photograph, and provide general views of laboratory equipment and experiments. The date range ascribed to the photographs is 1901 to 1927, the active dates for the Bureau of Chemistry.
This collection has been entirely digitized and is available online in our Digital Collections: https://digital.sciencehistory.org/collections/wp988k341
Processed by Laura Turner in 2004. Object identification numbers were assigned to individual photographs.
- Science History Institute Archives
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- Finding aid created by Hillary S. Kativa and encoded into EAD by Melanie Grear. Edited by Alex Asal in 2023.
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There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.
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