Objective: To review membership application materials (especially rejected applications) to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) during its formative years (1947-1953). Methods: Detailed study of materials in the AAN Historical Collection. Results: The author identified 73 rejected applications. Rejected applicants (71 male, 2 female) lived in 25 states. The largest number was for the Associate membership category (49). These were individuals "in related fields who have made and are making contributions to the field of neurology." By contrast, few applicants to Active membership or Fellowship status were rejected. The largest numbers of rejectees were neuropsychiatrists (19), neurosurgeons (16), and psychiatrists (14). Conclusion: The AAN, established in the late 1940s, was a small and politically vulnerable organization. A defining feature of the fledgling society was its inclusiveness; its membership was less restrictive than that of the older American Neurological Association. At the same time, the society needed to preserve its core as a neurologic society rather than one of psychiatry or neurosurgery. Hence, the balance between inclusiveness and exclusive identity was a difficult one to maintain. The Associate membership category, more than any other, was at the heart of this issue of selfdefinition. Associate members were largely practitioners of psychiatry or neurosurgery. Their membership was a source of consternation and was to be carefully been held in check during these critical formative years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology