July 1997 Bulletin

History lesson

(In response to statements that the American Orthopaedic Association was responsible for founding the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.) The Clinical Orthopaedic Society, which has been in continuous operation since 1912, at their meeting of Oct. 29, 1931 in Kansas City, initiated the idea of a general membership academy. Edwin W. Ryerson, MD, a founding member of The Clinical Orthopaedic Society, discussed the feasibility of forming a national orthopaedic society at that meeting.

A committee was appointed, including Dr. Ryerson as chairman; and Willis Campbell, MD; Frank Dixon, MD; Frederick Gaenslen, MD; Ellis Jones, MD; Philip E. Lewin, MD; E. Bishop Mumford, MD; and H. Winette Orr, MD. On Oct. 30, 1931, the committee recommended that The Clinical Orthopaedic Society invite as guests to the 1932 meeting of The Clinical Orthopaedic Society, orthopaedists representing different sections of the country with the idea of forming a national orthopaedic organization. The committee established guidelines for a national organization.

Academy historian Dr. Lewin reported that on Oct. 11, 1931, Dr. Campbell initiated a meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society at the Congress hotel in Chicago for the purpose of discussing a "matter of vital importance to the development of American orthopaedic surgery," presumably to further the nascent idea of formation of a national academy.

While it is unquestioned that the members of The Clinical Orthopaedic Society who were founders of the Academy were also members of the American Orthopaedic Society, it is also unquestioned, as documented in the minutes of the Clinical Orthopaedic Society, that the initiation of the idea occurred at the Clinical Orthopaedic Society.

This is certainly not an attempt to claim exclusive credit for the founding of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons by The Clinical Orthopaedic Society, but it is certainly manifest that the individuals who founded the Academy were members of both The Clinical Orthopaedic Society and the American Orthopaedic Society.

Boone E. Brackett III, MD
Oak Park, Ill.
(Dr. Brackett is librarian and historian of The Clinical Orthopaedic Society.)

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