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David Herzberg

Associate Professor
office: 565 Park Hall
phone: (716) 645-8416
personal web page:


BA, Wesleyan University 1993
MA,   University Of Wisconsin-Madison 1997
PhD,   University Of Wisconsin-Madison 2005

Courses Regularly Taught

Post-45 U.S. History
Alcohol & Other Drugs in American History
Health and Illness in American History


US History,  Gender/Sexuality, Medicine/Disability/Science, Social/Cultural History

Research Interests

Medicines & Drugs; Popular Culture

Current Research

History of prescription drug abuse; 20th century pharmaceuticals and the consumer culture.

Selected PublicationsHerzbergbook


Happy Pills in America: From Miltown to Prozac, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009


“Entitled to Addiction? Race and Pharmaceuticals in America’s First Drug War,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine (forthcoming, Fall 2017)

with Honoria Guarino, Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, and Alex S. Bennett, “Recurring Epidemics of Pharmaceutical Drug Abuse in America: Time for an All-Day Drug Strategy,” American Journal of Public Health, March 2016: 408-10.

“Pills” in Rethinking Therapeutic Culture, eds. Timothy Aubrey and Trysh Travis (University of Chicago Press, 2015)

“Introduction: Boundaries in the history of alcohol and drugs,” Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, Spring 2013

“Busted for Blockbusters: ‘Scrip Mills’ and Prescribing Power in the 1970s,” in Jeremy Greene and Elizabeth Segal Watkins, eds., Prescribed: Writing, Filling, Using, and Abusing the Prescription in Modern America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)

“Blockbusters and Controlled Substances: Miltown, Quaalude, and Consumer Demand for Drugs in Postwar America,” Cambridge Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological Sciences 42(4), December 2011: 415-26

with Jeremy Greene, “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Popular Promotion of Prescription Drugs in the 20th Century,” American Journal of Public Health (May 2010): 793-803 –Winner of AJPH‘s “Paper of the Year” Award

“Tranquilizing the Caveman: Miltown and Manhood in the Cold War Era” in Angela Laflen and Marcelline Block, eds., Gender Scripts in Medicine and Narrative(Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010)

“’Will Wonder Drugs Never Cease!’: A Prehistory of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising,” Pharmacy in History 51(2), 2009, p. 47-56

“‘The Pill You Love Can Turn On You’: Feminism, Tranquilizers, and the Valium Panic of the 1970s.” American Quarterly (March 2006): 79-103

Awards & Major Grants/Fellowships

  • IFRIS Visiting Scholar at the Interdisciplinary Research Unit “Sciences, Innovation and Society” (LISIS) at Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée University and at the Research Center for Medicine, Health and Society (CERMES3) at Paris Descartes University, Spring 2017
  • National Institute of Health / National Library of Medicine, Grant for Scholarly Work in Biomedicine and Health (G13), 2015-2018.
  • Paper of the Year Award from the American Journal of Public Health, the official organ of the American Public Health Association, 2011.
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, 1997-2001.
  • Baensch Prize in Wisconsin History, University of Wisconsin, 1998.

Affiliations and other notes

  • Alcohol and Drug History Society
  • American Institute for the History of Pharmacy
  • American Association for the History of Medicine
  • American historical association
  • American Studies Association
  • Organization of American Historians