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ASPET History

Organizing Meeting — Baltimore, Maryland,
December 28, 1908

On the invitation of John J. Abel, 18 pharmacologists met in Abel's laboratory to organize a new society. They elected Abel as Temporary Chairman and Reid Hunt as Temporary Secretary.

Minutes

Hunt took three pages of minutes, which he and Abel both signed, and had them mimeographed. Four articles of agreement were unanimously adopted.

In order to further the growth of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics in this country and to facilitate personal intercourse among investigators in these branches of science, we hereby organize the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and subscribe ourselves thereto as its founders.

The management of the Society will be left in a Council of seven members — a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and four councilors.

The Council is to prepare a constitution, to consider ways and means for permanent establishment of the Society, and furtherance of its purposes by calling meetings.

Twelve members in the person or by proxy will constitute a quorum until a constitution is adopted.

The officers for the following year were elected: J. J. Abel, President; R. Hunt, Secretary; A. S. Loevenhart, Treasurer; S. J. Meltzer, T. Sollmann, C. W. Edmunds, and A. C. Crawford, Councilors. Before adjournment Abel announced the establishment of The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (JPET) and invited the members to be collaborators. The sentiment of the Society was that although members pledged collaboration, they had neither official duties nor rights. 

Founders

Of the 18 founders, Abel initially used his private address, 3 New Yorkers their office addresses, and all others their university or government affiliation as follows:

John J. Abel, Station L, Baltimore, Maryland

Carl L. Alsberg, Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

John Auer, 13 W. 121st Street, New York, New York City

Albert C. Crawford, Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Charles W. Edmunds, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

J. A. English Eyster, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

W. Worth Hale, Hygienic Laboratory, 25th and E Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Robert A. Hatcher, 414 E. 26th Street, New York City

Velyien E. Henderson, Pharmacological Department, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Reid Hunt, Hygienic Laboratory, 25th and E. Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Arthur S. Loevenhart, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Samuel A. Mathews, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Samuel J. Meltzer, 13 W. 121st Street, New York City

William Salant, Bureau of Chemistry, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Torald Sollmann, Medical Department, Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Maurice V. Tyrode, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Carl Voegtlin, Johns Hopkins Medical School, E. Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland

Horatio C. Wood, Jr., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

After the New Year of 1909 Abel corresponded repeatedly with C. W. Edmunds on the extension of membership, the draft of the constitution, and publication of JPET. Although the typewriter was available at the time, they frequently wrote in longhand to each other and to other members of the Council. It should be noted that the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics started out as a joint project between Canada and the United States because V. E. Henderson was from the University of Toronto. The founders first thought of calling the new society the American Pharmacological Society, but this was already in use by a commercial group, so they chose a different name and made it longer by adding "Experimental Therapeutics"—chiefly to emphasize the relation to chemotherapy and a prophecy of things to come. This was revealed by T. Sollmann in his after-dinner speech in Detroit on April 21, 1949. It now appears very appropriate in view of the establishment of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology (now the Division for Integrative Systems, Translational and Clinical Pharmacology). In fact, many of the papers published in JPET throughout the years conform to the true meaning of the last two words of ASPET.

For more information on the history of ASPET see:

Chen, K. K.,  The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics - The First Sixty Years 1908-1969, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1969.

Parascandola, J., A Brief History of ASPET on Its Centennial Anniversary, Molecular Interventions 7: 288-302 (2007).

Cohen, M.L., Brevig, H., Carrico, C. and Wecker, L.,  Women in ASPET:  A Centennial Perspective, 2007. 

ASPET's Past Presidents 

See pictures  from ASPET's 100th Anniversary Meeting!


Last updated: December 29, 2015

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