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March 27, 1987

Medicine 100 Years AgoI. JAMA and the Competition: 1887

Author Affiliations

From the American Medical Association, Chicago.

From the American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1987;257(12):1642-1643. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390120104034

IN THE 1880s the aristocrat of medical journals was undoubtedly The American Journal of Medical Sciences (founded in 1827). A quarterly, with about 300 octavo pages per issue, it was easily the most scholarly medical periodical in the United States. The contributors included leading British as well as American physicians and surgeons. Publication was prompt, and there was "liberal compensation for articles used."

Each issue had about ten "original communications." Some dealt in depth with clinical conditions, others with various aspects of the preclinical sciences. Much experimental work was included. In a single issue the papers would range from an experimental study of ulcerative endocarditis to pancreatic surgery to a clinical study of cerebral localization.

Much of the journal was devoted to long, critical, and analytic book reviews that were usually superbly informative.

At least 90 pages per issue were given to a systematic survey of current literature, arranged in