A struggle to survive: the founding and early life of the Journal of Comparative Neurology (1891-1908)

D. E. Haines
University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA

The Journal of Comparative Neurology, arguably one of the most famous (and earliest) neuroscience journals in the world, was founded in 1891 by Clarence Luther Herrick based solely on his own initiative. He had no corporate or institutional support and the full editorial and financial responsibility fell on the Herrick family. The early period (1891-1893) was complicated by Herrick's mistreatment by W. R. Harper, the president of the University of Chicago regarding a job offer at that school, his coming down with pulmonary tuberculosis (Dec. 1893), and his subsequent move to New Mexico (spring, 1894) for health reasons. In addition, the new journal worked hard to attract adequate numbers of suitable papers. In spring of 1894 the editorial responsibility shifted to the younger brother, Charles Judson Herrick, then a student working on his M.S. degree at Denison University. Although C. L. Herrick was identified as the "Editor" from 1894-1903, the moving force behind the survival of the journal was C. J. Herrick. Acutely aware of the difficulties facing the journal C.J. Herrick continued to solicit good papers, function as the editor, manager and publisher, and if a deficit appeared at the end of the fiscal year (as it did every year) he made up the difference out of his own resources. In the period of 1894 - about 1898 C. J. Herrick periodically communicated with H. F. Osborn and O. S. Strong concerning the possibility of Columbia University assuming a formal financial and managerial role in the journal. Although Columbia made some small financial donations, a formal affiliation never materialized. Strong did become an Associate Editor of the journal in 1896. On firmer ground by 1898, the editorial board included such notables as H. H. Donaldson, L. Edinger, A. van Gehuchten and G. C. Huber. In 1904 these individuals were joined by R. M. Yerkes, G. E. Coghill, R. G. Harrison and C. S. Sherrington, along with a change in the journal's name to The Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology (returned to its original name in 1910). In the period of about 1898-1907 the journal published many papers from notable scientists world-wide, although the financial pressures remained. After many years of partially supporting the journal out of family resources, C. J. Herrick finally balanced the books for the year 1907. In January of 1908 he transferred ownership to the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology. This presentation focuses on the personalities and events surrounding the formative years of this great journal.


Session V
Saturday, 21 June 1997, 8.25 - 8.45

Second Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) and 6th Meeting of the European Club on the History of Neurology (ECHN)

Leiden, The Netherlands