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The publication and distribution of medical knowledge was one of
the central goals envisioned by the founders of the College upon
its creation in 1915. With the conclusion of the First World War,
around 1919, the Councillors of The American College of Physicians
decided to publish a medical journal, "in the interests of American
Medicine." April 1920 marked the debut of the Annals of
Medicine. Intended to be published quarterly, at $10.00 for a
yearly subscription, Annals of Medicine offered articles
from leading medical writers and a section for Abstracts from the
The first issue contained a list of both ACP members and members
of the American Congress on Internal Medicine current to that
period. The central article of the first issue, "The Field of
Internal Medicine," was authored by the College's first president:
Reynold Webb Wilcox. The journal was also filled with photos of ACP
officers and Convocation events, which was held in Chicago on
February 20, 1920.
Unfortunately the journal was canceled after its first volume.
According to ACP historian William Gerry Morgan, such an endeavor
was ultimately "too ambitious for a young and struggling
organization." The College's next journal, Annals of Clinical
Medicine, began publication in July of 1922 as the "official
publication" of the College and the American Congress on Internal
Medicine (which merged with ACP in 1926). This bimonthly
publication was published for the College by the Williams and
Wilkins Company of Baltimore. The original design of this journal
was to have each yearly volume consist of approximately 600 pages
and cost $6.00 for an annual subscription in the United States;
$6.25 in Canada, Mexico and Cuba; and $6.50 everywhere else.
College members were offered a discounted rate of $5.00
Beginning with Volume 2 in July of 1923, College members in good
standing were offered the journal free of charge. The price
structure for subscriptions changed the following year in 1924, as
nonmembers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba had their
rate raised to $7.00, while the subscription rate in other
countries was now $7.50. By its third year, the Annals of
Clinical Medicine had become successful enough to have evolved
into a monthly publication; year-long volumes were now over 1000
pages. A concerted effort was made to forge the Annals of
Clinical Medicine into a journal that would address all the
potential needs of internists. Articles were not simply geared to
issues of internal diseases, but towards those areas where internal
medicine intersected with other branches of practical medicine.
Friction had developed between the Editor's office and the
Williams and Wilkins Company by 1924. This was mostly due to the
publishing contract, which the College came to view as being almost
totally in favor of the Williams and Wilkins Company. The Board of
Regents directed Executive Secretary Edward R. Loveland to survey
the publishing contract in May of 1926.
The College was eventually able to have the contract with the
Williams and Wilkins Company legally terminated. As a result the
College could neither publish their journal nor call a journal the
Annals of Clinical Medicine, as that title was the
copyrighted property of the Williams and Wilkins Company. The
leadership of the College chose the name Annals of Internal
Medicine for it next publication, which began July 1, 1927.
Eighty-four years later, this publication has not only developed
into the leading journal for internal medicine but has become one
of the most influential medical journals in the world.
-Prepared April 2011 by Eric Greenberg, based on materials
from the Archives of the American College of Physicians and Morgan,
W. G. (1940). The American College of Physicians It's First Quarter
Century. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians.