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Wyndham Miles NIH Oral History Collection 1962-1973
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Historical Note

Shortly after Dr. Wyndham Miles's appointment as the first professional historian of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the early 1960s, Miles undertook a series of interviews with people important to the history of NIH. For the next ten years Miles conducted interviews with current and former NIH employees and with selected other Public Health Service (PHS) officials. He conducted in all at least 76 interviews.

At the time the interviews were conducted the Historian's office did not have the resources to transcribe all the interviews. Instead Dr. Miles prepared detailed abstracts of the contents of each tape. The abstracts were keyed to the counter on his machine. Each abstract was sent to the interviewee for editing and correction, and the corrections were incorporated into a final abstract.

Upon request, Dr. Miles copied the tapes and abstracts. Some researchers had portions of the tapes transcribed and these transcriptions were added to the collection, but the bulk of the tapes remained in abstract form. In 1987 Dr. Miles gave the collection to the National Library of Medicine. Interest in the history of NIH in the 1950s and 1960s had grown over the years, with a concomitant increase in interest in the tapes. As a consequence, the Library began the slow processing of transcribing each of the interviews in order to increase their scholarly usefulness.