Dr. Charles C. Edwards was born on September 16, 1923, in Overton, Ohio. He attended Princeton University (1941-43) and then transferred to the University of Colorado, where he completed his A.B. in 1945 and his M.D. in 1948. He received an M.S. in surgery from the University of Minnesota in 1956. After teaching surgery (1957-62), maintaining a private practice (1956-61) and serving in several capacities at the American Medical Association (1962-67), Edwards was appointed Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration in December of 1969. His work in the FDA (1969-73) included the discovery and recall of tuna fish poisoned with mercury, the standardization of food nutrition labels, a ban on the cattle fattening chemical D.E.S., and the removal of dangerous dyes and other substances from cosmetics. In April of 1973, Edwards was appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary for Health of the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Caspar Weinberger. In this position he continued to focus on consumer safety while expanding his responsibilities to encompass investigations concerning the regulation and equitable provision of health care in the United States and world-wide.
In 1975 he resigned as assistant secretary to accept a position as senior vice president of Becton, Dickinson and Co., a world-leading manufacturer of medical supplies and equipment. In 1977 Edwards was appointed president and chief executive officer of The Scripps Research Institute (Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation). He also served as president of the National Health Council in 1977.
Dr. Edwards currently resides in La Jolla, California.
From the guide to the Charles Edwards Papers, 1970 - 1979, (University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.)