1915 - 1925

Published on September 16, 2015
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The JAVMA is celebrating its centennial this year, but the AVMA under another name published the first issue of the Journal under another name in 1877. 

The United States Veterinary Medical Association first published the American Veterinary Review in 1877. The Review went private in 1881 under its editor, Dr. Alexandre F. Liautard, while the USVMA became the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1898. In 1915, the AVMA bought back the Review and changed the name to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

This photo, which appeared in the October 1919 issue of the JAVMA, depicts a group of AVMA members who participated in a trip to the Lederle Antitoxin Laboratories in Pearl River, New York, as part of the July meeting of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society.

The publication changed less in format than in content. Dr. Pierre A. Fish, 1915-1918 editor, wrote in November 1915: “It has not been our desire to inaugurate violent changes as regards the form and appearance of the Journal. Some may be desirable, others unavoidable. We prefer a gray cover because that is the academic color for veterinary medicine.”

Drs. L.A. Merillat and Delwin M. Campbell, veterinary historians, wrote that the JAVMA in its early years “was little more than an installment publication of the proceedings of the AVMA, in lieu of the annual bound volume.”

“A primary purpose of acquiring the Review had been as a vehicle for the proceedings of the meetings,” noted Dr. J.F. Smithcors, veterinary historian. He continued, “It might be noted, however, that while the new Journal carried some 600 pages of Association matters and papers its first year (1916), considerably more of the remaining 1,100 pages was devoted to scientific subjects than had been the case with the Review in its declining years.” 

The JAVMA contained scientific papers, clinical and case reports, and abstracts as well as news of the AVMA and other associations, book reviews, communications, European chronicles, editorials, miscellaneous news items, and obituaries (under the heading of “Necrology”), plus the proceedings of the Association. Toward the end of World War I, the Journal added a heading for articles about the Army Veterinary Service.

Just a few of the article topics from 1915 and 1916 were as follows:

  • Infected serum spreading foot-and-mouth disease.
  • Annual financial losses from the diseases of livestock.
  • Work of the committee on reorganization of the AVMA.
  • Ideal state law for cooperation between state and federal authorities in eradicating contagious animal diseases.
  • Report of the AVMA Committee on Advertisements of Veterinary Remedies.
  • Dyeing of war horses to make them dark chestnut to reduce their visibility.
  • Veterinary preparedness for war.
  • Opposition of butchers to a municipal meat inspection ordinance. 

The JAVMA reported on the formation in 1916 of the AVMA Executive Board, now the AVMA Board of Directors, and the adoption in 1921 of a caduceus, a winged staff with two snakes, as the emblem for the AVMA. The Journal also reported on activities of the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Veterinary Medical Association, established in 1917.     

Index for the first volume of the JAVMA The Journal reported on activities of the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Veterinary Medical Association, established in 1917. This emblem incorporates the caduceus that the AVMA adopted as an emblem in 1921.

Headings expanded in the 1920s to births, commencements, engagements, examinations, marriages, meeting announcements, personals, and publications received by the AVMA. Personals covered topics such as relocations, appointments, and hospital openings.   

Editorials and miscellaneous news items from 1915-1925 focused on subjects such as World War I, the AVMA, veterinary meetings, horses, agriculture, sanitation, legislation, and veterinary education. A March 1925 editorial on “Small Animal Practice” stated: “Small animal practice, especially in our cities and larger towns, has assumed important proportions during recent years, and now goes a long way to make up the loss in city practice caused by the replacement of a large number of horses with motor vehicles.”

Most of the illustrations in the JAVMA accompanied scientific articles. Other images were of notable veterinarians and buildings, groups of veterinarians, and cities hosting the AVMA meeting.

Following Dr. Fish as editor were Drs. William H. Dalrymple from 1918-1919 and John R. Mohler from 1919-1923. Dr. Horace Preston Hoskins came on as editor in 1923 and stayed until 1939.