Home Audiology What Was the Name of ASHA’s First Journal?

What Was the Name of ASHA’s First Journal?

by Mona Heath
written by
cover of first journal and it's ediitor

Next month we turn our clocks back as daylight-saving time ends for most of the country. Here at ASHA—at least for those of us maintaining the archives—we already turned back to the year 1936.

In honor of October being American Archives Month, the ASHA Archives staff created a new online exhibit sharing the history of our scientific journals.

In launching the journals’ long and distinguished history, ASHA printed the first issue of its first journal, Journal of Speech Disorders, in March of 1936. The first issue contained four articles spread across 34 pages.

ASHA saw a steady growth in its journals program over the next 60 years. Along the way, journal titles changed, publications merged, some ended, and eventually they all began publishing exclusively online. Each change reflected the association’s advancement and changes in the professions it represents.

In 1947, when ASHA changed its name from the American Speech Correction Association to the American Speech and Hearing Association to better reflect the growing number of members interested in audiology after World War II, the Journal of Speech Disorders became the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders (JSHD).

The increase in membership over the next decade resulted in a substantial increase in the amount of material submitted to JSHD. The Executive Council decided in 1956 to separate the JSHD into two journals. The new journal—Journal of Speech and Hearing Research—still exists as the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

The next 35 years witnessed the addition of four more journals, a monograph series and a conference proceedings publication.

The exhibit contains some little known facts such as:

  • The title of the first journal was to be the Journal of Speech Pathology.
  • ASHA’s first journal editor produced the journal single-handedly.
  • A “War Notes” feature appeared in the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders during WWII that reported on the activities of two committees of the association: a Committee on Civil Defense and a Committee on Rehabilitation.
  • The journal Asha kept the same cover for 20 years.
  • The Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools journal started as a booklet distributed free to those working in the schools.

The exhibit also features photographs of the first covers of the Journal of Speech Disorders, Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Asha, and Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools; the first editor of the first journal; and the rare covers of the introductory issues of the American Journal of Audiology and the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

The journals collection is the third online exhibit that ASHA has launched in anticipation of its 2025 centennial. It joins existing exhibits on the founding of ASHA and the five national offices. More exhibits on ASHA’s rich and interesting history will follow.

If you have artifacts or materials related to the professions or specific memorabilia that might be of interest to our archives in preparing for the centennial, please contact Mona Heath at mheath@asha.org.

Happy American Archives Month!

Mona Heath is ASHA’s information resources manager. mheath@asha.org 

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