Arthur Sherwood Flemming
|Arthur Sherwood Flemming|
|3rd United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare|
August 1, 1958 – January 19, 1961
|President||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Preceded by||Marion B. Folsom|
|Succeeded by||Abraham A. Ribicoff|
|Chairman, United States Commission on Civil Rights|
|Preceded by||Theodore M. Hesburgh|
|Succeeded by||Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr.|
June 12, 1905|
Kingston, New York, USA
|Died||September 7, 1996
|Resting place||Montrepose Cemetery in Kingston, New York|
Arthur Sherwood Flemming (June 12, 1905 - September 7, 1996) was United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare between 1958 to 1961 under U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Flemming was an important force in the shaping of Social Security policy for more than four decades. He also served as president of the University of Oregon, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Macalester College. In 1966, he was elected to a four-year term as president of the National Council of Churches, the leading Christian ecumenical organization in the United States. From 1974 to 1981, he was the chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Early life and education
Federal government career
Dr. Flemming's government career began in 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him to the U.S. Civil Service Commission. He was a member of the Hoover Commission which studied the organization of the federal government in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Flemming was the Chairman of the White House Conference on Aging in 1971 and was appointed U.S. Commissioner on Aging by President Richard M. Nixon. Flemming was also a co-founder of the Save Our Security coalition, a Social Security advocacy group. He was the recipient of two Presidential Medals of Freedom, one in 1957 from President Eisenhower and the second one in 1994 from President Bill Clinton. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala said of Flemming: "He was one of the great intellects of social policy, combining extraordinary knowledge with a rare gift for policy-making."
Cranberry scare of 1959
On November 9, 1959, Secretary Flemming announced, seventeen days before the Thanksgiving holiday, that some of the 1959 crop of cranberries contained traces of aminotriazole, a weed killer, which had been shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats in laboratory testing. Although the sale of cranberries was not banned, Flemming cautioned that if a housewife didn't know where the berries in a product came from, "to be on the safe side, she doesn't buy". Flemming acknowledged the impact of his announcement prior to the holidays, but added "I don't have any right to sit on information of this kind." 
After decreased sales of cranberries during the holiday season, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined, in January, 1960, that 99 percent of the crop had not been contaminated. However, the incident did cause cranberry growers to cease using amitrole as a herbicide, as demanded by the farmers' largest consumer, the Ocean Spray company. Prior to 1959, cranberries were seldom consumed except during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and cranberry juice was available, but not popular. After the disastrous holiday season, Ocean Spray promoted the popularity of the juice, and the production of the berries was increased in the long run.
Barely out of his degree at AU, Flemming was petitioning Roosevelt for New Deal funds to start a program at American University. The program was the School of Public Affairs, and Flemming would be its first director. 
Flemming served as president of Ohio Wesleyan University. He was the university's first president to be an alumnus and a layman (non-ordained minister). Having served in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, his Wesleyan inauguration at the June commencement of 1949 drew many famous speakers and celebrities.
From 1961 to 1968, Flemming served as president of the University of Oregon. During his popular and controversial tenure, the number of students grew from 8,000 to 14,000, and federal funding that the University received rose dramatically. Flemming was responsible for the addition of the School of Community Services and Public Affairs, the Pine Mountain Observatory and the building of various laboratories on campus. He defended the right of Communist Party USA leader Gus Hall to speak on campus and also convinced Tom Autzen to contribute money toward the building of Autzen Stadium.
- "The Cranberry Boggle", TIME Magazine, November 23, 1959
- "Northwest Cranberries Found Contaminated", Lincoln (Neb.) Evening Journal, November 9, 1959, p1
- Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears About the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971 (Resources for the Future, 2004), p112-113
- Papers of Arthur S. Flemming, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
- Arthur Flemming, from the United States Social Security Administration
- Oral History Interview with Arthur S. Flemming
- Paul Douglas Ethics in Government Award
- A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Arthur S. Flemming (February 27, 1952" is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
Marion Bayard Folsom
|United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
August 1, 1958 - January 19, 1961
Abraham A. Ribicoff
Theodore M. Hesburgh
|Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
Arthur Sherwood Flemming
Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr.