AAP Founding

Lawrence Gartner, MD, FAAP and Carol Gartner, PhD
​Pediatric History Center​
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​Founding of the American Academy of Pediatrics


The following is an excerpt from the book: Dedicated to the Health of all Children by Jeffrey P. Baker and Howard A. Pearson. 

The actual origin of the AAP can be traced to a fateful gathering on July 19, 1929 during the American Medical Association (AMA) Section on Diseases of Children meeting in Portland, OR at the home of James W. Rosenfeld, MD . William P. Lucas, MD, of San Francisco, CA, described some of what transpired at that dinner in a 1941 letter to AAP historian Ernest Caulfield, MD.

Most of those present supported the forming of a new society. It was suggested by Dr Abt  that the name of the new society could be the American Academy of Pediatrics. It was also unanimously recommended that Clifford G. Grulee, MD , of Chicago should be asked to serve as the first executive secretary. 

Drs Abt, Adrich, and Grulee drafted an outline of the purposes of the new society, which was mailed to pediatricians round the country in February 1930. An organizational meeting for the new society was held in the library of Harper Hospital  in Detroit, MI, on June 23 and 24, 1930, with a group of 35 pediatricians in attendance. Committees were established to lay the groundwork for the new society. A constitution and bylaws were adopted, and the new organization was formally named the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

A list of approximately 400 pediatricians was compiled and these pediatricians were invited  to become charter members. The first president was Dr Abt  and the initial vice president was John L. Morse, MD, who was a respected and admired pediatrician from Boston, MA.

The AAP was officially incorporated in July 1930 in Dr Grulee’s home state of Illinois and the central office was established in Evanston. At the time of the first AAP Annual Meeting in Atlantic City , NJ, held on June 12 and 13, 1931, there were 304 enrolled members of the AAP. Ninety-three members, including at least 3 women, attended the Atlantic City meeting.​

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