The growth of medical literature and its applicability to the practice of medicine is one of the interesting historical phenomena associated with our profession. When printing with movable type was developed, all manner of learning received a mighty impetus. Because medicine is so close to the life of man, medical contributions were among the first to be published. Very early, however, medicine was merely included in publications dealing with science in general. Then as medicine began to specialize and as the value of medical publications for medical advancement began to be realized, periodicals multiplied tremendously.
In a lecture recently delivered by Prof. William Bulloch1 he reminds us that John Shaw Billings estimated in 1881 that there were 180,000 doctors in the world and that 1,600 of them were contributors to medical literature. In the medical journals of 1879 available to him he counted 20,000 original articles. Today it is
MEDICAL LITERATURE AND MEDICAL LIBRARIES. JAMA. 1935;105(21):1686. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760470040014