An Elder Statesman
A man unselfishly dedicated to human welfare and law enforcement; a public servant of sterling character and integrity; an administrator of demonstrated superb ability; a diplomat of great distinction and international renown; and a valued and true friend of pharmacy.
–Delta Kappa Sigma Alumni Association, 1958 Merit Award
In 1959, Anslinger received Pennsylvania State University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor given to alumni.
President Kennedy appointed Anslinger, and Henry Giordanon Anslinger’s deputy at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, to be America’s representatives when the U.N. met to establish one single international treaty to control the production of specific drugs under license.
This convention, amended twice over the years, is still in effect today with 195 signatory countries.
Upon his retirement the citizens of Blair County held a “Harry J. Anslinger Day” event in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, on August 8, 1962. There was a picnic, testimonials by local, state and national dignitaries, and a plaque unveiled to be hung in the lobby of the County Courthouse.
Newly elected Senator Robert Kennedy thanked Anslinger, recognized his efforts for international drug control, and asked for advice. Anslinger and Robert Kennedy had known each other for many years, bonding over investigations of the mafia.
In a 1968 interview, when asked to justify penalties for marijuana when alcohol also contributes to traffic fatalities, Anslinger responded, “Why condone a second hazard?”
Following his retirement from the federal government, Anslinger continued to serve the nation, working on treaties and efforts to control international drug trafficking.
Letter from President John F. Kennedy on the Death of Martha Anslinger, 1961
Martha Denniston Anslinger, Harry’s wife, passed away in October 1961 and was buried in Anslinger’s home town of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.