NIOSH Becomes Participant with Safety and Health Historical Society

May 1, 2019


NIOSH Becomes Participant with Safety and Health Historical Society The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has officially become a contributing organization with the Safety and Health Historical Society. The NIOSH Director, John Howard, M.D., wrote: “We would be pleased to take part in your efforts to document the history of safety and health in the United States. NIOSH values the important work of understanding the history of occupational safety and health and its influence on the present and future of the field.”

SHHS is delighted to have NIOSH contributing to its mission of Celebrating the Past of safety and health in the United States. SHHS will now work with the NIOSH representative to identify and develop historical information relevant to NIOSH in particular and safety and health in general. SHHS will add a page on its web site devoted to NIOSH history.


Safety and Health Historical Society Receives Book Donations for Its Collection

SHHS recently received a donation of 27 books from Nancy McWilliams and Edward Landry (deceased). Most are 70 or more years old and classical publications in safety and health. One is even 123 years old. Before his death, Mr. Landry had given some of his older safety and health books to Ms. McWilliams, who decided to contribute them to SHHS. In the collection are the first two issues of the Journal of ASSE, published in February and May 1956 within the National Safety Council’s National Safety News.

Edward B. Landry served as President of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) during 1955-1956. At the time he was employed as the Director of Safety and Health for the United States Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. ASSE honored him as a society Fellow in 1965.

Nancy J. McWilliams served as ASSE President during 1996-1997 and received the honor of Fellow in 2016. During her career in safety and health, she worked for various agencies of the U.S. government. SHHS also received a copy of the 1951 edition of Lionel S. Marks Mechanical Engineering Handbook from the estate of Bruce A, Hertig, D.Sc. Dr. Hertig completed his studies in industrial hygiene at the University of Pittsburgh and for much of his career taught ergonomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was active in the American Industrial Hygiene Association and served as President of the Chicago Section.

SHHS wishes to thank these contributors.


April 2019 Issue Released: The Archives of Safety and Health

The main publication of the Safety and Health Historical Society is a quarterly journal, The Archives of Safety and Health. The April 2019 issue (Volume 2, Number 2) contains articles of interest for people engaged in and interested in safety and health. Here are summaries of key articles:

  • An 1873 a bridge collapsed in Dixon, Illinois during a church “Baptism Sunday” while the choir sang during the celebration. The crowd exceeded the bridge load capacity, causing the bridge to fail. There were at least 45 fatalities and 56 injured at the festivity, along with loss of horses and wagons. The article also discusses bridge failures at Florida International University, at I-35 in Minneapolis and the famous “Galloping Gertie” spanning the Tacoma Narrows.
  • During five days in 1916 and without federal appropriations, the U.S government held its first Federal Government Safety Exposition in Washington, D.C. At least 10 departments and agencies participated. Among honored attendees were President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, who found several of the exhibits of great interest.
  • An article written by an historian (Allen Cornwell) and previously published on the web site: discusses the plight of children workers during the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is the first guest article for The Archives of Safety and Health.
  • During WWII while very many of the young men in the U.S. were engaged in the war, women began to fill numerous traditional male roles. The national symbol for women in industrial war-production jobs was “Rosie The Riveter.” This article discusses the history of war-time employment for women and the conditions they faced.
  • A short-lived, but significant U.S. institution that promoted workplace safety was the American Museum of Safety in New York City. It existed from 1907 to 1918. It joined a movement of 26 similar museums in the world that used exhibits (there was no radio, TV or Internet) as a way to educate workers, managers, and the public about the importance and components of safety. With the help of many contributors, the museum activities expanded to training and publications. The museum later became the Safety Institute of America that also no longer exists.


Needs of the Safety and Health Historical Society

SHHS is an educational, charitable non-profit organization and financial donations are tax deductible. SHHS welcomes individual contributions and grants from corporate foundations. Currently, SHHS depends on volunteers to accomplish its work.

Funds Needed to Distribute The Archives of Safety and Health to S&H Degree Programs. SHHS is seeking funds to publish and distribute Volumes 1 and 2 to safety and health degree programs in the United States at no charge to the schools. The cost of that project is $4000. The goal is to develop interest among S&H students in the rich history of S&H practice and events.

Funds to Expand and Enrich the SHHS web site. The initial SHHS web site was completed from borrowed funds. SHHS seeks to enrich its web site with additional contents and features and contributions to SHHS will expand access to many items of information about S&H history. If your company has a foundation that may be a source of funds, please contact SHHS.

Join SHHS as a Patron (individuals) or Contributor (organizations)! Visit the Web Site!