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ACP History: Annals of Internal Medicine (Part Three) 1960 - 1972

1960 ushered in a major change for both the Annals of Internal Medicine and the American College of Physicians. In 1958, Dr. Maurice Pincoffs, the editor of Annals since 1933, announced to the Board of Regents (BOR) that he wished to retire by August of 1960. All through those years Dr. Pincoffs kept his editorial office in Baltimore, while the journal's business management was maintained at the College in Philadelphia. The BOR decided that the editorial office should be brought into the headquarters, and as a result, only suitable candidates from the Philadelphia region were interviewed. Dr. Joseph Russell Elkinton, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, became the new Editor of Annals in October 1960.

Dr. Joseph Russell Elkinton

Dr. Elkinton was the scion of a prominent Quaker family who had been in the Philadelphia region since 1673. At the same time, ACP Executive Secretary Edward Loveland retired and was replaced by Dr. Edward C. Rosenow, Jr., under the new title of Executive Director of the College. Dr. Rosenow was responsible for the financial management of Annals. Though they consolidated the publishing activities of Annals in the Philadelphia headquarters, the Board of Regents continued the policy of keeping editorial functions separate from the financial administration of the journal.

The Committee on Publications was formed to oversee the operation of Annals and other College publications. An Editorial Board consisting of specialists in various fields of internal medicine was created. This board, whose members were nominated by the Editor of Annals, would act as advisors on editorial matters. During his time as Editor, Dr. Pincoffs had reviewed most of the submitted manuscripts himself, occasionally seeking consultation from associates at the University of Maryland. Prior to accepting the editorship of Annals, Dr. Elkinton had insisted on the right to send all submitted papers to be reviewed by expert consultants throughout the country. A "Letters and Comments" section was added to the journal, enabling contributors a greater opportunity to respond and engage their colleagues. In 1970, the College contracted with R. R. Donnelley and Sons of Chicago to take over printing responsibilities. The shift to a standardized trim size format enabled both increased advertising and more text per page. Following Dr. Elkinton's retirement, Dr. Edward Huth was named Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine in July 1971.

In 1968, new regulations adopted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allowed taxation of income derived from advertising in the journal of a non-profit institution. An exception was given only if the advertising was directly related to the "exempt purposes" for which the organization had received the designation of a "charitable or educational institution." As a result, the IRS imposed federal income taxes on the net advertising revenues of Annals. The College paid the additional taxes, but in 1972 ACP filed a lawsuit to refund those income taxes paid for the year 1968-69, amounting to $376,977, claiming that the regulations under which the taxes were imposed during this period were invalid. Congress had enacted a new law, effective in 1970, which essentially approved the regulations previously adopted by the IRS. For this reason, success with additional claims was doubtful. From 1968 to 1972 the College paid $801,550 in federal taxes on income derived from advertising in Annals. Further lawsuits attempting to recover taxes paid by the College would continue until 1986.

-Prepared April 2012 by Eric Greenberg, based on materials from the Archives of the American College of Physicians and, Rosenow EC Jr. History of the American College of Physicians: Executive Perspectives, 1959-1977. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 1984., Huth EJ, van Steenburgh KC. "Annals of Internal Medicine: the first 50 years." Ann Intern Med. 1977; 87:103-10, and Huth EJ, Case K (2002). Annals of Internal Medicine at Age 75: Reflections on the Past 25 Years". Ann Intern Med 137 (1): 34-45.