Morris Fishbein

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Morris Fishbein
Morris Fishbein LC-DIG-hec-24833.jpg
Born (1889-07-22)July 22, 1889
St. Louis, Missouri
Died September 27, 1976(1976-09-27) (aged 87)
Chicago, Illinois
Employer Journal of the American Medical Association
Title Editor
Term 1924-1950
Spouse(s) Anna Mantel Fishbein

Morris Fishbein M.D. (July 22, 1889 – September 27, 1976) was a physician who became the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from 1924 to 1950. In 1961 he became the founding Editor of Medical World News, a magazine for doctors. In 1970 he endowed the Morris Fishbein Center.[1] He was also notable for exposing quacks, notably the goat-gland surgeon John R. Brinkley, and campaigning for regulation of medical devices.


He was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 22, 1889. He studied at Rush Medical College where he graduated in 1913. Fishbein served for 18 months as a resident physician at the Durand Hospital for Infectious Diseases.[2]

He joined George H. Simmons, editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), as an assistant and advanced to the editorship in 1924, a position he maintained until 1950. He was on the cover of TIME on June 21, 1937. In 1938, along with the AMA, he was indicted for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.[3] The AMA was convicted and fined $2,500 but Fishbein was acquitted.[4]

In 1961 he became the founding Editor of Medical World News, a magazine for doctors. In 1970 he endowed the Morris Fishbein Center for the study of the history of science and medicine at the University of Chicago. Its first activity was a lecture series taking place in May of that year. Allen G. Debus served as director of the Center from 1971 to 1977. Fishbein also endowed a chair at the university for the same subject, a chair taken up by Debus in 1978. The 7th floor in Shoreland Hall at the University of Chicago was known as Fishbein House, using the Fishbein name as its namesake.

He died on September 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois.[5] He was survived by two daughters, Barbara Fishbein Friedell and Marjorie Clavey, and his son, Justin M. Fishbein.



  1. ^ Barclay, (1976), p.2212.
  2. ^ "Morris Fishbein: transcript of an interview interviewed by Charles O. Jackson," (Interview). March 12, 1968. 
  3. ^ "Medicine: A. M. A. Indicted". Time Magazine. 2 Jan 1939. 
  4. ^ Carl F Ameringer (2008). The Healthcare Revolution (PDF). University of California Press. p. 35. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Dr. Morris Fishbein Dead at 87. Former Editor of A.M.A. Journal.". Associated Press in the New York Times. September 28, 1976. Retrieved 2009-07-18. Dr. Morris Fishbein, a prominent medical authority and for many years the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, died today. He was 87 years old. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Theme Issue: The Fishbein Festschrift, Medical Communications, Vol.5, No.4, (1977).
  • Barclay, W.R., "Morris Fishbein, MD-1889-1976, editor of JAMA-1924-1950 (Obituary)", Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol.236, No.19, (8 November 1976), p. 2212.
  • Brock, P., Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, Crown Publishers, (New York), 2008. ISBN 978-0-307-33988-1
  • Fishbein, M., The Medical Follies: An Analysis of the Foibles of Some Healing Cults, including Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, and the Electronic Reactions of Abrams, with Essays on the Anti-Vivisectionists, Health Legislation, Physical Culture, Birth Control, and Rejuvination, Boni & Liveright, (New York), 1925.
  • Fishbein, M., The New Medical Follies: an encyclopedia of cultism and quackery in these United States, with essays on the cult of beauty, the craze for reduction, rejuvenation, eclecticism, bread and dietary fads, physical therapy, and a forecast as to the physician of the future Boni & Liveright (New York) 1927 and AMS Press (New York) 1977. ISBN 0-404-13262-6.

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