In the years since Dr. Smithcors’ book was published, the amount of written material related to the veterinary profession in general and the American Veterinary Medical Association in particular has only grown. So, when the AVMA staff first started talking about celebrating the Association’s 150th anniversary in 2013, it quickly became clear that we had neither the time nor the resources to devote to a history project of that scope.
The book you hold, therefore, is not a definitive history of the AVMA. And, is not meant to be. That’s not to say that there isn’t history in it. Actually there’s quite a lot, including many interesting and, I hope, entertaining stories of the formation of the AVMA, its growth over the years, and the individuals who helped shape it.
What this book does represent is a celebration of the AVMA and all it has accomplished for its members and the veterinary profession during its first 150 years. Written from eight unique perspectives, it focuses on what have come to be called the core competencies of the AVMA: the annual convention and scientific journals and the AVMA’s roles in advocating for the veterinary profession and improving veterinary education. The USVMA was formed during the first annual meeting of the Association in response to a perceived need to elevate the visibility and standing of the veterinary profession, and education was one of the topics of discussion during that meeting. The JAVMA was originally published as a way to provide a lasting record of papers presented during the annual meetings. Other chapters focus on the volunteers who have been such an important part of the governance of the Association, the professional staff who have supported the Association’s efforts throughout the years, and the partners who help advance the Association’s goals.
I hope that you enjoy these stories of the AVMA and that you see this book not just as a look back at the history of the Association but also as a foundation from which we can look forward to the next 150 years. Of course, if you happen to have the next five or six years free, that definitive history of the AVMA still awaits.