Department of History
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Vancouver Island University
Nanaimo, British Columbia
Frances Oldham Kelsey, Thalidomide and the Quest for Good Science in the Nuclear Age
Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey, Canadian-born pharmacologist, was, in the early 1960s, one of the most famous women in North America. Kelsey blocked approval of a popular European sedative, Kevadon (Thalidomide) from entering the U.S. market, saving potentially thousands of American babies from horrific birth defects. This paper analyzes a sample of the thousands of letters she received from the public.