Scope and Content
Title: American Pain Society Records,
Date (inclusive): 1977-1991
Collection number: 123
American Pain Society
Extent: 5 cubic-foot cartons
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library
History and Special Collections Division
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1798
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
The American Pain Society Records were given to the John C. Liebeskind History of Pain
Collection by the American Pain Society in October, 1995.
Information on permission to reproduce, quote, or publish is available from the History &
Special Collections Division.
[Identification of item], American Pain Society Records, Manuscript collection 123,
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, History & Special Collections Division,
University of California, Los Angeles.
Bonica, John J., 1917 -.
Wolff, B. Berthold.
Fink, B. Raymond.
American Pain Society.
International Association for the Study of Pain.
The American Pain Society (APS) was formed by American clinicians, researchers, and
teachers in the field of pain in response to a growing interest in and need for a
national pain organization that would also serve as a chapter of the International
Association for the Study of Pain. The society was to foster research and education in
the multidisciplinary field of pain in the United States.
Organizational work began in 1977, when John J. Bonica, on February 18, sent a letter to
twenty-six other key American colleagues asking them to attend a meeting in Chicago just
sixteen days later as members of "the Advisory Committee for the founding of the American
Pain Society." Despite the short notice, all but six of the invitees attended the
meeting. (Bonica missed it as well due to complications from hip surgery.) All motions
were unanimously approved: the decision to found a national society compatible with the
IASP; the provision for regional, state, or other subgroups; that B. Berthold Wolff-who
was co-chairing the meeting along with B. Raymond Fink--should chair a Steering
Committee; and that there would be a Membership Committee.
Membership in the Society was initially solicited by Wolff in a letter dated June 28,
1977 and sent to all American members of the IASP and its Eastern and Western Regional
Chapters. Ultimately, there were 510 charter members of the Society by the time it was
officially inaugurated in December, 1978. The APS had its first Annual Scientific Meeting
in San Diego on September 9-10, 1979.
In 1989, 63% of APS members responding to a survey voted that the APS should have its own
APS Journal debuted with the Spring 1992 issue and
has been published as
Pain Forum since 1995.
In the past twenty years, membership has grown to include over 3000 pain professionals.
Scope and Content
The American Pain Society Records represent a period of growth for the Society. Although
foundational documents are minimal, the collection features correspondence and records of
the activities that built the organization, during the 1980s, into what it is today.
These documents include financial papers, committee formations, the records of important
general and board meetings, membership building practices, and publication records,
including the membership's decision to publish a journal.
The American Pain Society Records were processed in 1998 by David C. Gartrell. The
collection is organized into five major series. Brief descriptions of each follow.