In the previous section of the RSNA history review, we discussed the establishment of the RSNA’s journal, Radiology, and the steps that took place before the journal was published consistently.
In this part, we discuss the difficulties the RSNA had to face during 1920s depression. At the beginning, RSNA was getting revenue from publishing advertising materials in its Radiology Journal; in addition to other financial resources such as renting floor for exhibitors at the RSNA annual meetings, the revenue was used to cover the expenses which were increasing year after year. However, stock market collapsed in the United States, resulting in an economic depression, which affected every business in the country.
RSNA management decided that their journal is to continue regardless of the economic crisis. They were supported by a nonprofit organization, Chemical Foundation, who offered to support the journal financially while the foundation is able to publish original articles discussing cancer from all over the world. RSNA executives accepted the offer which resulted, in the beginning, in significant improvement in Radiology Journal.
Yet, Chemical Foundation started to demand changes that would destroy the democratic nature of the RSNA; the Foundation requested that the RSNA was to be managed by a limited governing body and an executive office. When the RSNA management refused these demands, Chemical Foundation ceased its financial support provided to the journal.
With no financial support, RSNA continued to face even worse economic conditions. RSNA still published it Radiology journal to the credit of the society’s executive committee and its president and former editor, Bundy Allen, MD. The society was now facing more financial difficulties that were threatening its existence.
Things started to get better for RSNA following the appearance of Smythe Childs, MD, who was born in 1888 in New York. Dr. Childs used to love photography and was asked by Robert B. Osgood, MD, who created the Osgood Orthopedic Clinic in Boston, to repair an X-ray device in the clinic in 1914. At World War I, Dr. Childs was serving at the Army Medical Corps, using his experience gained from the Osgood Clinic
Later, Dr Childs was chosen to be the second vice president of the RSNA in 1927. He was also appointed as the business manager of the RSNA’s Radiology journal. Dr. Childs made significantly critical decisions which helped the RSNA to survive the economic crisis. He contacted Marguerite Hogan Henry, who served in the advertising department of a commercial service company, and suggested het to supervise the publication of Radiology. She accepted and was appointed later as the executive director of the RSNA. Then, Dr. Childs and Marguerite had an approval from the RSNA executive committee to seek a company that would publish and mail Radiology journal to its members at accepted prices.
Mack Printing, a company form Easton, PA, was chosen to carry out this task. In 1931, Leon J. Menville, MD, from New Orleans, LA, became an editor of Radiology. Dr. Childs actually did a lot for the continuing of Radiology, Marguerite Hogan Henry commented on his efforts saying that “He was a business man, with a keen mind and the ability to evaluate human nature,” she added “His inherent honesty, fair play, and outgoing personality were superb attributes”
Dr Childs later started to address the needs of the RSNA annual meeting. He used to check for every possible convention center, with the help of Marguerite, to conduct cost effective events. He used to schedule each meeting in the last week of November to be able to have the best convention rates for the RSNA annual meetings. Dr. Childs succeeded in his approach and the Society was actually holding an educational meeting annually during the 1930s, the meetings took place in several cities such as Memphis, Detroit, and Cincinnati. The annual meeting also came back to Chicago every while.
In this part, we discussed how the RSNA stood against economical crisis in one of the most significant obstacles faced the society. It was thanks to contribution of great men who believed in its role in improving radiology in the United States. Men such as Dr. Childs made their best effort to maintain a steady progress of the RSNA and its Radiology Journal. Such men are always remembered in history and their names will never be forgotten.
To be continued…