The Scientific Director
One of the most fascinating people behind Johnson & Johnson was Dr. Fred B. Kilmer, who was the Director of Scientific Affairs for Johnson & Johnson for 40 years, starting in 1889. Company Founder Robert Wood Johnson (who lived as well as worked in New Brunswick) became friendly with Dr. Kilmer when he visited Kilmer’s pharmacy -- the Opera House Pharmacy -- in downtown New Brunswick. Besides being a scientist, Dr. Kilmer (a president of the New Jersey Pharmaceutical Association) understood marketing and promotion, and was a writer. Another of Kilmer’s customers at the pharmacy was the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who bought supplies to use in his experiments at his lab in Menlo Park.
In 1888, Kilmer and Johnson collaborated on “Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment." The booklet was a groundbreaking summary of the latest views of the medical profession on wound treatment…and contained a catalogue of Johnson & Johnson products that could be used in the antiseptic treatment of wounds.
Dr. Kilmer furthered the scientific direction of the Company and helped make its expanding product lines trusted by physicians and patients. He was instrumental in early Johnson & Johnson publications such as Red Cross Notes, a scholarly journal directed toward the medical profession; and Red Cross Messenger, a trade publication whose audience was pharmacists. Dr. Kilmer was also responsible for preserving the Company’s early history, including the products, documents and photographs seen on this site. Dr. Kilmer was the father of renowned poet Joyce Kilmer, who was killed in World War I. His house (where Joyce was born) is still standing, at 17 Joyce Kilmer Avenue in New Brunswick.