The Clarence Pearson papers on the President’s Committee on Health Education (PCHE) date from 1969 to 1978, with the bulk dating from the life of the Committee, 1971-1973. Included are meeting agenda and minutes, correspondence, memoranda, reports, membership lists, newspaper and magazine clippings, budgets, brochures and pamphlets, photographs and film.
Although gaps in the materials relating to the PCHE exist, especially in the documentation of the Committee’s regional meetings and subcommittee activities, this collection clearly demonstrates the extent of the Committee’s work and the state of health education in the United States in the early 1970s.
Although these papers came from Pearson, they do not appear to have been his papers originally; rather it is clear from internal evidence that they were those of Charles A. Siegfried, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. who served as Vice Chairman of the Committee. Pearson was Associate Director of the PCHE and may have acquired the papers from Siegfried at the conclusion of the Committee’s work. He would later become first Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Health Education, 1975-1976.
The papers are organized in five series:
Series 1: Background Organizational, 1971-1972 (.74 cu. ft.)
Documenting the organizational structure and administrative activities of the Committee, this series attests to the general daily operations as well as the scope of the Committee’s work in evaluating current health programs in the United States through the work of its various subcommittees. Included in the records are membership lists, correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, agendas, proposals, handouts, newspaper clippings, articles, and photographs. Arranged alphabetically.
Among the documents in this series are two photographs of the Committee members and President Nixon gathered at the Cabinet Room of the White House on September 14, 1971. This date reflects the meeting at which the President’s Committee on Health Education was officially formed and received its mandate from the President.
Of special note is the folder entitled “Advisory Committee for the National Health Education Foundation,” which was the ad hoc group that developed into the President’s Committee on Health Education. These records lay the organizational foundation for the later committee.
Series 2: Meetings, 1971-1972 (.35 cu. ft.)
Distinct from the administrative meetings held by the Committee for the Committee, which can be found in the Background and Organizational series, this series records the regional and national meetings conducted by the Committee that provided a forum for health professionals to speak of the state of health education. In addition to the work of various information gathering subcommittees, these meetings provided the Committee with a general survey of the health education field on which they built their recommendation to the President. Included in these records are schedules, agendas, witness lists, papers presented, correspondence, brochures, and articles. Arranged chronologically by meeting date.
The regional meeting materials are extremely incomplete, with the Pittsburgh, PA meeting being the only one of the regional assemblies that is fully documented.
Please also see the subcommittee folders of the Background and Organization series for additional materials that evidence the Committee’s information gathering procedures, the
Reports series for a summary report of the testimony given at the regional meetings, and the film titled What You Don’t Know Can Kill You, for footage of testimony given at the regional hearings.
Series 3: Reports, 1971-1973 (.67 cu. ft.)
Includes position papers commissioned by the Committee and various preliminary reports written by the Committee that culminated in the Committee’s Final “The Report of the President’s Committee on Health Education.” The Final Report materials include drafts, correspondence and opinions regarding the Final Report from Committee members, Supplementary Statements and Dissents, and the Final Report itself. Arranged by position papers, preliminary reports, Final report materials and drafts, and the Final Report.
Of note is the folder entitled “Final Report Correspondence and Opinions” which illustrates the issues that various Committee members grappled with during the course of crafting what would be the Committee’s final recommendations. Some of the same issues, including opposition to the recommendation for the formation of a National Center for Health Education and the funding of such a center, can also be found in the formal Supplementary Statements and Dissents materials.
Series 4: General, 1969-1978 (.48 cu ft.)
Includes material that is unrelated or only peripherally related to the workings of the Committee. In part, this series reflects Clarence Pearson’s affiliations to organizations other than the PCHE. Formats included are brochures, articles, reports, correspondence, facsimiles, budgets, memoranda, and notes. Arranged alphabetically.
Folders in this series that relate peripherally to the work of the Committee are “External Inquiry Correspondence,” “Health Publications and Reports,” “Meeting on the President’s Committee on Health Education Report—Implications for Western PA,” “National Center for Health Education,” and “Nixon Materials.” The remaining documents in the series do not appear to relate to the Committee’s work.
Series 5: Film
Consists of two 16mm films on 12 1/4” reels produced for the PCHE. What You Don’t Know Can Kill You is a film of the testimony given at various regional hearings held by the Committee. The second film is footage of a PCHE press conference, date unknown.