Collection description: According to EPA Order 1000.27 the “EPA History Program” dated March 1992, the EPA must conduct an Oral History Program. Michael H. Gorn and Dennis Williams served as the first historians of the EPA, and conducted the five oral history interviews with administrators and a deputy administrator.
Regulatory significance: Though few in number, the interviews provide rich details on the early history of the EPA and its structural dynamics. Many interviews include comments on the EPA’s relationship with the White House, Congress, OMB, regulated industries, public interest groups, and state and local government. They also include insightful discussions of regulatory conflicts over pesticides, industry emissions, crises like Love Canal, and scientific determinations.
Project description: The FTC catalogues oral histories with eight former commissioners. Only one of these interviews was conducted by the FTC; the rest were conducted for presidential libraries and universities.
Regulatory significance: Some of these interviews deal at length with regulatory issues at the FTC during the commissioners era and beyond—see especially the interview with Mary Gardiner Jones, and to a lesser extent, those with Stephen Spingarn and Lowell B. Mason. Others, such as the interview with Leon Higginbotham, deal mostly with Washington personalities and the longer political biography of the interviewee (particularly in connection with the presidents they served under).
Interview dates: Widely varied
Digital access: Transcripts are available online for interviews with Mary Gardiner Jones (1964-1973); Leon Higginbotham (1962-1964); Stephen Spingarn (1950-1953); Lowell B. Mason (1945-56).
Physical access: Interviews in various repositories, including presidential libraries and Columbia University.