[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 3, 1989

An Informal History of W. B. Saunders Company: On the Occasion of Its Hundredth Anniversary

JAMA. 1989;261(9):1347. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420090113047

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Any reader of medical texts who notices publishers at all must surely recognize that the WB Saunders Company is one of the best in the business. What has made it so John L. Dusseau, retired vice president and editor, reveals in his accurately titled informal history.

Like most in-house histories that I have seen, this one is highly subjective, generally laudatory, relentlessly upbeat, and, one suspects, judiciously discreet. But, in the best tradition of reminiscence—including the genres of autobiography and oral history—it is revealing, informative, and a repository of information and perspective that might otherwise be lost.

Walter Burns Saunders was a bookseller who became a publisher in 1888 with the goal of providing medical texts to practitioners who needed a bridge between the advances of the time and clinical practice. Finding the right topic, incarnating it in the right text, and offering it to the right audience have been