History of the AMI
First AMI Annual Meeting, Philadelphia 1946, Tom Jones is fourth from left in front row. Muriel McLatchie is seated next to him.
In 1937, W.B. Saunders and Company, medical publishers, chose to honor Max Brödel as a way of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their first copyright. Brödel was a master artist, medical and scientific researcher and scholar, and was the first Director of Art as Applied to Medicine at John Hopkins. Brödel spoke with pride about his 27 years of teaching and his graduates who had gone on to work as medical illustrators in universities, hospitals, research institutes, and clinics. Brödel's students were destined to become a large percentage of the founding members of the Association of Medical Illustrators.
Muriel McLatchie, another Hopkins graduate, went to Boston in the early thirties and later established a unit of Medical Art at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She felt acutely the need for a professional society for medical artists. In 1944, she enlisted the help of Tom Jones, Professor of Medical Illustration at the University of Illinois Medical School. Tom Jones understood the use of visual education in medicine and envisioned the future medical artist as multi-disciplined. His experience and guidance lent the support that was needed - this was the turning point in the establishment of a professional association.
On July 10, 1944, Muriel McLatchie visited Chicago and met with a group of medical illustrators at the University of Illinois Medical School. They were known as the Nucleus Committee of Five. This Committee was composed of medical artists representing five geographical sections: East (Muriel McLatchie), West (Ralph Sweet), North (Tom Jones), South (Jack Wilson or Elon Clark), and Canada (Marie Wishart). The Nucleus prepared a Constitution and By-laws, applied for a Charter, designed an application form for new members, and enlisted 4 more medical artists from each geographical section for a total of 20 members by the summer of 1945.
By January 1945, Jones had been selected Chairman of the Nucleus Committee and the date of July 16, 1945 was chosen for the meeting in Chicago to launch this new association.
During July 16 -19, 1945, thirty medical illustrator delegates gathered in Chicago for the purpose of organizing a society, which they named, "The Association of Medical Illustrators." The object of the AMI would be: To promote the study and to encourage the advancement of medical illustration and allied fields of visual education, to promote understanding and cooperation with the medical and dental professions including public health and nursing, and to advance medical illustration.
The meeting was held at The University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. In the span of four days, these delegates not only decided on the Constitution and By-laws, but also on the dues of the organization, the categories of membership, the election of additional medical illustrators to charter membership, the election of officers, the election of the Board of Governors, and the dates of the fiscal year. Charter membership of the association was about 55 illustrators.
First elected AMI officers:President: Tom Jones
Vice President: Willard Shepard
Secretary: Muriel McLatchie
Treasurer: Elizabeth Brödel
Chairman of the Board: Elon Clark
The first Board of Governors meeting took place Thursday, July 19, 1945. The Committee on Education, Committee on the Ethics of Publicity, Finance Committee, Committee on Membership, Committee on Professional Relations, Committee on Publications and Directory, Committee for Suggestions and Ideas on Insignia were all established by February 6, 1946.
The First Annual Meeting of the Association of Medical Illustrators was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 23 - 26, 1946. About forty members and guests were present. The Constitution and By-laws were adopted by unanimous vote.
President Jones gave a remarkable address. He began by stating that medical illustration was virtually non-existent in the early 1900's. He went on to talk about the changes wrought by the impact of photography, motion pictures and animation, the introduction of medical exhibits. He also commented that 3-dimensional teaching aids would be much more in demand. How right he was, even though he could never have envisioned the astonishing work of the computer in the world of 3-dimensional art. In conclusion, President Jones said that one of the primary concerns of the Association would be the training of the medical illustrator via the Committee on Education. He also pointed out the need of a registry, a newsletter, and even a journal.
By March 1947 Graphics #1 was published. It was the official AMI newsletter containing an introductory essay by Elizabeth Brödel, reports from Officers, Committees, and the Chairman of the Board of Governors.
Condensed from text by Robert Demarest and Edith Tagrin in The History of the Association of Medical Illustrators 1945-1995, edited by Robert Demarest © AMI 1995
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