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  1. FDA Leadership: 1907 to Today

Charles A. Browne

 Photo of Charles A. Browne, Ph.D.

Charles A. Browne, Ph.D.

7/1/1924 - 6/30/1927

Dr. Charles Albert Browne, born in North Adams, Massachusetts on August 12, 1870, was an eminent agricultural chemist with an international reputation for his work on sugar. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Williams College in 1892, and then went to Germany where he studied sugar chemistry and received his doctorate at the University of Gottingen in 1901. He had served for ten years as a chemist in two state experiment stations when he was hired by Dr. Harvey Wiley as Chief of the Sugar Laboratory in the Bureau of Chemistry. He remained in this position for only two years, 1906 and 1907, and then spent the next sixteen years as head of the New York Sugar Trade Laboratory, a position from which he gained a national reputation.

Browne was admirably suited to directing the scientific work of the Bureau of Chemistry, and Browne's tenure was characterized by a high level of research and technological work. Enforcement work, however, lagged. In 1927, the research work of the Bureau of Chemistry was transferred to a newly created Bureau of Chemistry and Soils. Browne accepted the position of Chief of Chemistry and Technical Research in the new bureau. The regulatory responsibilities of the Bureau of Chemistry were left intact, but the bureau was renamed the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration.

Browne remained in government service and retired in 1940 from his last position as Supervisor of Research in the Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering. In 1944, at the fifth annual meeting of food technologists he was awarded the coveted Nicholas Appert Medal for outstanding contributions to food technology. The jury of prominent technologists who elected him for that honor cited the fact that he had been an "unfettered investigator who had struggled to remain free of administrative burdens."

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