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Veterinarians are often unaware of their profession's historical importance. Generally, like so many others, they do not know or fully realize the significant role that veterinary medicine has played in American history.

In particular, the profession has:

  • Boosted static economics.

  • Facilitated and contributed to war victories.

  • Provided safe meat and dairy products.

  • Helped build thriving livestock industries.

  • Been instrumental in the development of human health measures.

  • Advocated for animal welfare.

  • With human medicine, contributed to the control of many infectious diseases.

  • Promoted companion animal health care.


  • To become aware of published and unpublished materials and artifacts pertaining to the history of veterinary medicine and health care of animals, primarily in the United States and Canada.

  • To promote research, study, and writing on veterinary history and related topics.

  • To communicate information about veterinary medical history through publication of a journal and newsletter, seminars and meetings, and other avenues.


  • To serve as a resource for individuals and groups seeking information about the history of veterinary medicine.


  • To develop and distribute educational materials on the history of veterinary medicine.


  • To assess the role of veterinarians in society and study their impact on animal and human health and scientific research.


  • To establish and foster rapport with other national and international veterinary organizations.


  • Holds annual meetings with AVMA CE program speakers on history topics and has an educational exhibit booth in association with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Conventions held in various cities across the United States and Canada.


  • Sponsors regional history meetings with presented papers occasionally in association with other events, such as state veterinary medical association meetings.

  • Publishes a semi-annual journal, Veterinary Heritage (ISBN: 1096-5904), in May and November. It features original research articles as well as winning essays from the annual Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest.

  • Encourages overall scholarship, research, and education and information sharing related to veterinary history, including the preparation of manuscripts and presentation of talks locally, regionally, and nationally.

  • Distributes  issues of the Interim News & Comment newsletter several times per year.

  • Sponsors and hosts the annual J. F. Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay contest with prizes awarded in honor of Dr. Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence.  The contest was established in 1991 to encourage students at veterinary schools in the United States and Canada to research and write on a veterinary history topic.

  • Compiles a Registry of Heritage Veterinary Practices that includes veterinary hospitals and clinics that have been in continuous operation and service to their communities for 50 or more years regardless of owner, location, and name change.

  • Encourages oral history interviews to be conducted, recorded, and transcribed with senior and other notable veterinarians who have witnessed significant changes in the practice of veterinary medicine over the years. 

  • Compiles a guide to veterinary museums and historical exhibits across the country to assist travelers and encourage the preservation of antique instruments, memorabilia, and artifacts.

  • Encourages the establishment and development of institutional and private archival collections that preserve and make available veterinary instruments, artifacts, memorabilia, and publications related to veterinary history.

  • Compiles a series of short historical stories, called Time-Bites, that are published exclusively on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).

  • Identifies and encourages transcription or reprinting of  "classic" out-of-print veterinary history books, pamphlets, and other printed items.


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