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Paradigm Sidetracked: Explaining Early Resistance to the Alcoholism Paradigm at Yale's Laboratory of Applied Physiology, 1940-1944
Revised version of a paper originally presented at the Alcohol & Temperance History Group's International Congress on the Social History of Alcohol, Huron College, London, Ontario, Canada, 13-15 May 1993. The author thanks Philip J. Pauly, Susan Brady, Mark Keller, Robert Straus, John C. Burnham, and Jack S. Blocker, Jr. for generous assistance and editorial suggestions.
Two intriging developments occurred in the scientific wing of the U.S.'s modern alcoholism movement in the period from 1940 to 1944. First, the main locus of mainstream science's "new scientific approach" to alcohol shifted from the Research Council on Problems of Alcohol (RCPA), in New York City, to Howard W. Haggard's Laboratory of Applied Physiology at Yale. Second, Haggard's new Yale-based group resisted, rather than fell into step with, the RCPA's 1939 decision to focus most new research and public relations energy on the problem of alcoholism. Both the RCPA and Alcoholics Anonymous (the latter, in the new movement's lay treatment wing) would remain committed to the alcoholism focus over the 1940-1944 period. But the Yale-based group soon developed a different and competing paradigm--which I'll call an "alcohol problems perspective."1 It would not be until 1944, following the formation at Yale of Marty Mann's National Committee for Education on Alcoholism (later renamed and better known as the National Council on Alcoholism), that the Yale-based group would come to devote most of its energies to an alcoholism-based conceptual focus and promotional campaign (see Johnson, 1973).
Hence, the period 1940-1944 at Yale represents a notable interlude, or even reversal, in the early development of the modern alcholism movement's foremost focus and leading conceptualization, disease alcoholism. Why, in this early and formative period, did the Yale-based group relatively downplay alcoholism and instead define and employ an alternative, alcohol problems perspective? What role did Yale's new conceptual perspective play in moving the movement's center of gravity from the RCPA to Yale? What role did it play in furthering the early development of a scientific "ownership" claim (Gusfield, 1975) and a new science-based assault on the nation's alcohol-related problems?
I will argue that the key to understanding the Yale-based group's early paradigmatic preference lies in the fact that the group was initially primarily oriented around the diffusion (rather than the creation) of scientific knowledge about alcohol.2 A knowledge-diffusing orientation could make little use of the RCPA's alcoholism focus because little was thought to be known about alcoholism at the time. Narrowing the broad field of alcohol-related problems to a singular focus on alcoholism would also tend to exclude a great variety of potentially usable scientific grist from Yale's information-diffusing mill. Hence, the eclectic and welcoming conceptual framework that Haggard and his Yale co-developer, E.M. Jellinek, fashioned was much more compatible with the group's information-diffusing enterprise. Such a framework also could make much better use of the fruits of an on-going literature-reviewing and abstracting project, directed by Jellinek. Finally, Yale's alcohol problems perspective--particularly in the framework of the Yale Summer School--seems to have provided Jellinek with an almost limitless and flexible store of rhetorical resources for selling the merits of scientific "ownership" of the alcohol problems sphere, per se, to his audiences.
Howard W. Haggard and Science Diffusion:
Howard Wilcox Haggard, M.D. (1891-1959) was an immensely popular lecturer (Keller, 1991) and prolific author, a professor of applied physiology at Yale, and a protege of Yandell Henderson, Ph.D. (1873-1944), the founder (in 1920) and first director of Yale's Laboratory of Applied Physiology. Both Haggard's and Henderson's primary research focuses lay in respiratory physiology, particularly relating to the physiology of respired toxins. According to Haggard's QJSA obituary, this area of research included work on such diverse problems as "mine rescue, the prevention of industrial poisoning, the development of the modern gas mask, inhalation therapy, anesthesia, the ventilation of vehicle tunnels, decompression in diving and caisson work, resuscitation from drowning, gas poisoning and electric shock" (L.A.G., 1959, p. 211).3 Haggard was the Laboratory's director from 1938 (Page, 1988, p. 1100) to his retirement in 1959. He was also the initiator of a key, post-Repeal alcohol studies group in his Laboratory--originally named the Section on Studies of Alcohol and, later, the Yale Center of Alcohol Studies. Thus he was also one of the founding fathers of the scientific wing of the modern alcoholism movement.
In his own day, however, Haggard was more widely known as a prolific science popularizer and textbook author. Between 1927 and 1940, Haggard published a succession popular histories of medicine, guides to better health, and physiology textbooks (Haggard, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1938a, 1938b). Commercial houses published these volumes, sometimes outfitting them with snappy, three-word titles, doubtless in order to encourage popular sales. Haggard's best-known works included Devils, Drugs, and Doctors: The Story of the Science of Healing from Medicine-Man to Doctor (Haggard, 1929),4The Lame, the Halt, and the Blind: The Vital Role of Medicine in the History of Civilization (Haggard, 1932), and Mystery, Magic and Medicine: The Rise of Medicine from Superstition to Science (Haggard, 1933). In 1937, he published a small, hand-sized volume titled Staying Young Beyond Your Years (Haggard, 1937), whose inexpensive format and simple language clearly intended it for a mass audience. In the early 1930s, Haggard presented a series of radio talks based on Devils, Drugs and Doctors to a nationwide CBS audience at 8pm on Sunday evenings, sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company (Haggard, 1931). Haggard's obituary in the QJSA also acknowledged his popularizing skills, noting that to "a much broader audience he has left his many scientific and provocative popular publications..." (L.A.G., 1959, p. 211).5
The literature's account of how Haggard first became involved in the post-Repeal alcohol research movement--e.g., Keller 1979, 1982, 1985, 1990, 1991; Page, 1988; Johnson, 1973--is sketchy at best. Yale University scholars had a long tradition of involvement in alcohol-related issues stretching back through national prohibition and earlier.6 Yet no link between these earlier alcohol-related interests and Haggard's group appears to have existed. The proximate origins of Haggard's alcohol interests is ordinarily traced to the early 1930s. This may be a reference to Henderson's early involvement with the U.S. Congress' deliberations over the legalization of "3.2" beer on grounds that beer of this alcoholic content is nonintoxicating. According to Pauly's (1994) valuable account, Henderson had become involved in the beer issue almost accidentally and without a background of significant work in alcohol research. Dry advocate, Ernest Gordon (1946) pilloried Henderson for this lack of alcohol-related knowledge and research experience. If and how Haggard was associated with Henderson's involvement in the beer controversy is unknown, but whatever Haggard's connection, it is doubtful that it constituted a serious research preoccupation. Haggard published a number of papers on alcohol's absorption by the body, usually in coauthorship with Leon A. Greenberg, in the mid-1930s.
Haggard's initial contact with the RCPA appears to have turned on his December 1939 offer to provide this group, gratis, with a new journal, the QJSA, to function as its official organ. In May of 1939, the RCPA won its first substantial grant, a $25,000 award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Carnegie-funded project was directed by Norman Jolliffe, of New York University Medical School and Bellevue Hospital, and under the daily management of E.M. Jellinek, who had been newly recriuted into the alcohol field, according to Page's account (1988, p. 1099), from Worcester State Hospital in Massachusetts, where he was involved in neuroendocrine research. Mark Keller (1991) has suggested that this offer derived from Haggard's wish to provide a publication outlet for the RCPA's Carnegie-funded literature-review and abstracting project. Keller's account seems unlikely to me, however, because the Carnegie-funded project was, in fact, little more than three months old at the time Haggard made his generous journal offer to the RCPA and was thus still a long time from generating its various reports. Nevertheless, articles based on the Carnegie project did indeed supply a significant portion of the QJSA's pages once its publication commenced in June, 1940.
Following the QJSA's launch, Haggard launched two more information-diffusing enterprises in as many years. Both were aimed at a popular or lay audience rather than a technical one. He co authored, with Jellinek, a nontechnical introduction to alcohol titled Alcohol Explored, which was published in 1942. He also launched the famous Yale Summer School of Alcohol Studies, whose doors first opened in 1943. All three enterprises--the QJSA, Alcohol Explored, and the Yale Summer School--can be regarded as remarkable and puzzling on account of their early appearance in the just-launched "new scientific approach" to alcohol problems. The QJSA had been offered to the RCPA at a time when that organization had hardly begun successfully garnering support for its roster of approved scientific projects. Even in the best of circumstances, long months and years would have to pass before the RCPA's planned projects were completed and ready for scientific publication. Haggard began writing Alcohol Explored in the Spring of 19417 and well before the Carnegie-funded project had reached full completion. The book was part of an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) series of nontechnical monographs. And because the AAAS also bore administrative responsibility for the Carnegie-funded project (the RCPA was an AAAS affiliated society), Haggard's plan to publish Alcohol Explored initially raised questions of prematurity in the mind of AAAS president, Walter B. Cannon.8 The Yale Summer School also addressed its lay audience long before the new scientific movement could be said to have generated the substantive wherewithall for a new alcohol pedagogy. Additional information-diffusing enterprises were also established. The QJSA published a series of Lay Supplements intended to convey current scientific knowledge to a wider public. The Carnegie-funded project evolved into the Classified Abstract Archive of the Alcohol Literature (CAAAL), which was kept up-to-date on the alcohol-related scientific literature and supplied service subscribers with abstracts (Page, 1988, p. 1100).9
What would be the content of these information-diffusing enterprises, and where would the content come from? The actual contents of Yale's then-current diffusion enterprises--in the pages of the early QJSA, Alcohol Explored (Haggard and Jellinek, 1942), and Alcohol, Science andSociety, the oft-reprinted account of the Yale Summer School's lectures and discussions in its second year, 1944 (Alcohol, 1945)--can now provide us with a revealing map of how the Yale-based group solved their what-to-diffuse problem. They relied on several strategies. First, they relied on what science already knew about alcohol, often drawing material from the Carnegie review project. Second, they made multiple uses of the same, or virtually the same, text--so, for example, a lecture presented to the Summer School might also become a QJSA article, a QJSA Lay Supplement, a chapter in Alcohol, Science and Society or one of the other book-format Section publications. Third, especially Jellinek devoted a great deal of attention and rhetorical acumen to his conception of science's particular virtues and strengths with respect to alcohol-related questions.
Strategies varied by medium of communication. The QJSA relied in part on attracting a portion on the on-going trickle of scientific papers in an alcohol-related topic, on news items relating to the RCPA current business and affairs, and on special features such as "Medico-Legal Notes" and "Classics of the Alcohol Literature" (archaic commentaries on alcohol drawn from centuries past). The Summer School might generate content by inviting (perhaps commissioning) distinguished scholars from a variety of disciplines to prepare lectures on alcohol's overlaps with their fields. One suspects this sort of strategy behind a number of the Summer School lectures published in Alcohol, Science and Society--for example, anthropologist Donald Horton's (1945) cross-cultural essay, social scientist John Dollard's (1945) examination of drinking and social class, and historian Edward G. Baird's (1945) study of alcohol and legal regulation. Some lectures might be drawn form the Laboratory's on-going or relatively long-term work (e.g., Greenberg's  alcoholometer lecture). Still other work came from more recently begun scientific work in the Yale-based group (e.g., Anne Roe's  study of alcoholism and heredity, or Selden Bacon's analysis  of drinking in complex society). Like the QJSA, the School could also draw some pedagogy from the Carnegie literature-review project.
Jellinek's Science-Marketing Rhetorical Strategy:
As already noted, Yale's focus on information diffusion harbored greater affinity with an alcohol problems perspective than with an alcoholism perspective. The new Yale group faced the problem of finding, recruiting, and gathering suitable scholarly content in a circumstance in which relatively little new alcohol science was being generated. They were better served, therefore, with a perspective that was eclectic and welcoming of what didactic material was available or could be recruited into existence. Scientific research on alcoholism had hardly begun under the RCPA's new framework. In fact, in this early period RCPA scientists conducted a preliminary and apparently sometimes heated debate over how, exactly, "alcoholism" or "alcohol addiction" should be defined. Alcoholics Anonymous had been founded on the idea that scientific and psychiatric knowledge on alcoholism was insufficient to treat the problem (Leach and Norris, 1977). Hence, and for the time being at least, the alcoholism topic could scarcely provide the Yale-based group with either the sort of information flow it needed or the claim to scientific authority it wished to project.
Yale's orientation differed sharply from that of the the RCPA's and created markedly different rhetorical needs for the two groups. If the RCPA needed to declare the cup of scientific knowledge half-empty in order to promote new scientific research, the Yale-based group needed to declare the cup half-full in order both to provide itself much needed content and, equally importantly, to supply scientific authority for the information being diffused. In the long-run the RCPA's and Yale's orientations might have harmonized--with the RCPA's knowledge-generating activities supplying the content for Yale's knowledge-diffusing activities. But the Yale-based enterprise apparently could not wait for the long-run.
Yet, Haggard and Jellinek could not simply offer a grab-bag of opportunistically assembled putative scientific knowledge about alcohol to a lay audience. Some sort of rhetorical packaging or framing was necessary. Absent such framing, the various scientific presentations and texts would provide neither a coherent picture of society's alcohol domain nor compelling reason to honor science's new ownership claim. What sort of a conceptual scheme might be stretched across this diverse array of putatively scientific knowledge about alcohol? And how might its great diversity--reflecting, as it did, a great many disciplinary perspectives and problem focuses--be turned to advantage?
The Yale-based group's alcohol problems perspective or paradigm provided that framework. There is no locus classicus for the alcohol problems perspective. It may be found in a variety of works, particularly in Alcohol Explored (Haggard and Jellinek, 1942) and Jellinek's various alcohol-and-science-framing enterprises, usually, though not always (e.g., Jellinek, 1942), first presented at the Yale Summer School (Jellinek, 1943a, 1943b, 1943c, 1944a, 1944b, 1945a, 1945b, n.d. [1945?]). At bottom, the paradigm asserted that the country was faced with not a single "alcohol problem" but instead with a multiplicity of "alcohol problems," each one with its own indelible character and causes. This severality of alcohol problems did not, however, imply that each represented a fully independent existence (see Jellinek, 1945b, p. 13). Instead, severality's cardinal rhetorical implication was that the comprehensive and integrative vantagepoint and skills of the scientist were necessary for society truly to understand and, ultimately, to address its alcohol problems. For convenience of reference, I'll label this Jellinek's emphasis on science's synopticism.
Synopticism offered notable rhetorical utilities. It could serve to outflank any particular proposition, perspective, or belief about alcohol--for example, an assertion that might be offered by a "dry" School student--by claiming that, true as such an assertion might well be, the assertion represented only a part of a much larger whole that must ultimately be understood at a higher level of integration. Jellinek would play this rhetorical card over and over again, each time exploiting a different facet. In his plan for the RCPA's research agenda (Jellinek, 1942), for example, Jellinek rhetorically tied science's disinterestedness to its capacity to view alcohol problems synoptically. How shall we decide what problems are most in need of scientific research, Jellinek asked, when the concept of "problem" is itself relative to an observational position? "To a police court justice the most urgent problem of alcohol may seem to be a 100 per cent valid criterion of intoxication," Jellinek continued. "The physician engaged in treating alcoholic polyneuropathy will regard as most urgent some aspect of the pathogenesis of disease" (Jellinek, 1942, p. 103). The scientific perspective, on the other hand, could be defined by its comprehension of all such included perspectives. "The Council [i.e., the RCPA] is a scientific representation of society, as far as the problems of alcohol are concerned," Jellinek asserted, "and consequently what is most urgent must be judged by it in terms of the total problem" (loc. cit.). The term "total problem" was one of Jellinek's most frequently used means of referencing science's synoptic responsibility and capacity.
Perhaps Jellinek's most elaborated presentation of the synoptic theme appears in a problem-framing lecture delivered to the first (1943) summer session of the Yale School (Jellinek, 1943b). Jellinek commenced by asserting that "[t]he purpose of this lecture is to deal with the problems of alcohol as a totality rather than with any of its aspects in particular" (p. 446). Our commonsense or nonscientific handling of the alcohol problem, Jellinek later asserted, could lead us to mistake propositions drawn from and applying to limited domains for broadly valid generalizations. Jellinek made bold to confess that even science, itself, on occasion fell victim to this sort of perceptual and cognitive bias. For example, Jellinek noted that the observational vantage points of the experimental psychologist, psychiatrist, prison psychiatrist, general-hospital physician, or general pratitioner were all subject to important biases (see pp. 455-457). Indeed, Jellinek confesses that he himself had fallen victim to incomplete synopticism in not at first appreciating that temperance publications were not merely past repositories of, by now, largely incomplete statistics, secondary accounts of experimental data, and obsolete scientific material, but were also, themselves, a part of the great expanse of phenomena to be comprehended in a fully synoptic science of alcohol. "Until recently," Jellinek reports, "I had not realized that the temperance literature, in a certain sense, constituted a part of the evidence to be considered" (p. 447).
Snyopticism harbored another important utility on a purely pedagogic level--namely, talk of synopticism could serve ostensibly to stitch together the disparate offerings of the School's full lecture program. "The lectures you will hear in the next 4 weeks," Jellinek (1945b) began his problem-framing talk to the 1944 School class, "will present to you many aspects of the problem of alcohol and there may be a tendency to view those aspects as subjects of independent existence" (p. 13). Jellinek's "total problem" perspective would, in turn, provide the framework in which to place the various lectures into a meaningful whole. "This may aid you further," Jellinek offered, "in integrating the many subjects of our course" (loc. cit.).
Jellinek never described precisely how science or scientists managed to acquire or exercise this magisterial synopticism. In fact, Jellinek's impressive image of scientific synopticism was often rhetorically balanced elsewhere in his talks and texts with expressions of the humble, preliminary, and provisional character of science's present state of knowledge about alcohol problems. For example, in his opening lecture to the first School session, Jellinek elaborated a particularly scientific aspect of this humility as follows:To those who have doubts about the value of the scientific approach in this particular field I must say that to a certain extent my colleagues and I share their doubts. Where science is concerned, the scientist cannot believe in untested propositions, and this proposition has not been tested. The scientist may form an hypothesis, but an hypothesis is only a belief. In a sense this School will be a test of the applicability of scientific thought to the problems of alcohol. Because of the composition of the student body of this School [i.e., its mix of "dry" and "wet" students, R.R.] it should be an excellent testing ground. (Jellinek, 1945a, p. 5)Jellinek quoted this passage verbatim in his second (or 1944) introductory lecture to the school. Jellinek made note of science's native humility in other ways, too--for example, in the need for years of patient research to be done, in the scientist's role of information-provider rather than political decision-maker with respect to the wider community (Jellinek, n.d. [1945?], pp. 11-12), and in light of the daunting complexity of the alcohol problem.
Synopticism, however, was not the only rhetorical utility of Jellinek's conception of the severality of alcohol problems. Severality might also be employed subtly to distance the School's perspective from dry thought. Dry preoccupation with "the alcohol problem," as a singularity, was cast as simplistic and counterproductive.10 When alcohol problems were defined in terms of a single problem (namely, alcohol), society was too easily misled to define a single solution (namely, the elimination of alcohol) (Jellinek, 1945b, p. 12). Wets might also see in this formulation the encouraging implication that alcohol's causal responsibility for each was being subtly attenuated--as each problem was outfitted with its own complement of causal and contextual factors. On the other hand, dry thought could also find encouragement in the plural approach in that severality tended to multiply or ramify the scope of society's alcohol problems. Influential dry, Ernest H. Cherrington could approvingly cite the School's statement of purpose: to "'cover the alcohol problem in its widest ramifications, rather than concentrate on any specific aspect'" (Cherrington, n.d. [1943?], p. 6).
In the rhetorical world Jellinek fashioned, severality also implied complexity. Indeed, Jellinek seems never to have tired of invoking this theme. Complexity was implied in the great breadth of the alcohol-related phenomena to be understood (Jellinek, 1945a, p. 2). In his report of the first (1943) Summer School session, Jellinek noted the crucial place of conveying an appreciation of complexity:While the lectures comprising the curriculum of the summer session did not touch upon solution of the problems of alcohol, they went beyond the mere presentation of scientific facts and were devised to give a picture of the extraordinary complexity of those problems. This was regarded as a particularly desirable aim since, in the past, alcohol questions had been dealt with in narrow segments only and this had led to oversimplified views and oversimplified applications. (Jellinek, 1943a, p. 189).Complexity also implied the need for developing and applying the knowledge of scientists from many different disciplines, studying many different topics, and coordinating the fruits of their efforts in a vast knowledge-organizing enterprise. Complexity, per se, could also offer a tacit rationale for scientific jurisdiction over alcohol problems to the extent that science in general was equated in the popular mind with the culture's most abstract and powerful intellectual capacities. Complexity also augured against the possibility of solving alcohol problems "by statutes alone" (Jellinek, 1945a, p. 2). In this connection Jellinek offered a "homely example" of botching the preparation of chicken a la king.I have before me a recipe for chicken a la king. This recipe calls for certain amounts of butter, fresh mushrooms, salt, flour, milk or chicken stock, chicken cut in pieces, pimentos, and pepper. Can you imagine the lumpy atrocity which would result if I were to dump all these ingredients into a bowl, mix them up and cook them in a pan?Jellinek went on to explain that the key to preparing the dish lay in the proper integration of the recipe's various ingredients. Alcohol research required just the same sort of need for integration, Jellinek suggested.
Most important of all, the complexity theme harbored a tacit imagery in which lay knowledge, current scientific knowledge, and complete scientific knowledge might be laid along a continuum. At one endpoint was no scientific knowledge; at the other, complete scientific knowledge. In this imagery, lay (or nonscientific) knowledge might be placed near the no-knowledge end; scientific knowledge, somewhere in the middle of the continuum. Just this imagery served the vital functions of justifying both scientific jurisdiction and authority over alcohol problems (because science had achieved much greater knowledge than laymen had) and, on the other hand, rationalize the seeming incompleteness of present alcohol science and the need for much more research (because science was still a long way from the continuum's complete-knowledge end). Complexity, in short, provided Jellinek's rhetorical solution to a fundamental dilemma in the marketing of science's ownership claim. By emphasizing and re-emphasizing the problem area's complexity, Jellinek could both rationalize the modesty of present knowledge (and thus the need for more research) and at the same time justify science's superior and knowledge-based authority claim.
In one discussion of the School's program, Jellinek offered the following summation:At the end of the course the students leave with a feeling that the problem of alcohol is much more complex than they ever imagined. That is a wholesome feeling. One of the barriers to the solution of these complex problems is that too many believe that they know everything that the solution requires. Too many problems have remained unsolved because they have not been approached with the respect which their magnitude demands (Jellinek, n.d. [1945?], p. 34).Finally, mention must be made of the concept of "culture lag," which also afforded Jellinek a crucial rhetorical mooring for scientific authority. Culture lag implied that scientists had already acquired and organized much knowledge relating to the alcohol but lay society was not abreast of scientific progress. Scientists themselves, Jellinek observed, were partly to blame, for scientists in general had too often shirked their responsibility to keep the lay public informed. In alcohol science, in particular, scientists had not taken concrete steps to keep the public up-to-date (e.g., Jellinek, 1943a, p. 187). Consequently, the "lag between scientific investigation and public knowledge has been considerable in all fields, but in the case of alcohol research the lag has become particularly pronounced" (Jellinek, 1943a, p. 187). The culture-lag theme allowed Jellinek to frame alcohol science's awakening sense of public responsibility in a wider shift in the scientific community's attitudes:The nature of all our researches is the reflection of a trend which is becoming, of late, more and more evident in all branches of science. The scientist is discovering his social responsibility and society is discovering the utility of specialized knowledge. The scientist is coming out of his seclusion and entering into the reality of life as it is lived. It is a consequence of the awakening of social responsibility that scientists must make their findings available and understandable to a wide public, and not to their professional colleagues only. It has been a curse that in the past there has been a lag of 40 to 60 years between the findings of research and the knowledge of the public. Scientists have wrung their hands in despair that the public was using obsolete facts and obsolete ideas which to them had become practically mythology. It had never occurred to these scientists that if any recrimination was called for, it should have been self-recrimination. (Jellinek, 1945a, p. 4; cf. Jellinek, n.d. [1945?], pp. 10-11)This sort of rhetoric had the indirect utility of parrying the question of why mainstream scientists suddenly had become involved in the alcohol territory in the absence of any specific scientific discovery, rediscovery, or insight. Instead, Jellinek's comments simply beg the question of why scientists did not become involved years earlier. Jellinek's confession of science's past indifference and aloofness, also tacitly affirms a separate scientific estate and superior scientific knowledge. Pronouncements of the need for scientists "to come down from their ivory towers" were very much a part of the contemporary Science & Society movement's rhetorical kit (Kuznick, 1987; Roizen, 1991).11
Jellinek's Landmark 1942 Plan for Alcohol Research:
I would like to turn next to a brief consideration of Jellinek's (1942) "An Outline of Basic Policies for a Research Program on Problems of Alcohol," which was published in the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol and offered a scientific audience a comprehensive plan for the new movement's research agenda. There are two reasons for taking a moment to examine this paper. First, Jellinek's (1942) plan has been identified now and again as an expression of the Yale-based group's embracement and commitment to an alcoholism focus (see Room, 1978, 1982; Levine, 1991). That view runs contrary to the view I am advancing in this paper--that the Yale-based group articulated a perspective that in effect competed with the alcoholism focus until 1944--and therefore requires examination. Second, Jellinek's (1942) plan affords a wonderfully revealing window into the full complexity of the circumstance of alcohol science at this significant and formative historical moment--particularly in relation to the interrelationships of the Yale-based group, the RCPA, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It will be useful briefly to recall the general circumstances of Jellinek's (1942) paper before we examine it more closely for its content and meanings.
The background circumstances of Jellinek's 1942 plan have an almost soap-opera-like complexity. The prestigious RCPA had been struggling to find sources of financial support for its proposed new scientific research on alcohol ever since its founding in 1937 (see Roizen, 1991). As noted earlier, in 1939 the group finally landed its first big grant--the Carnegie Corporation of New York provided $25,000 in order to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature on "alcohol's effects on man." The Carnegie grant and project occupied a special place in the group's identity--it was their first big success in garnering support and it was their best symbol and indicator of the possibility of attracting future substantial support, despite rough going so far. Norman Jolliffe was installed as the project's director, and the project found quarters at the New York Academy of Science's Library of Medicine. Jolliffe soon recruited E.M. Jellinek to take-over day-to-day management. The project began in earnest in September 1939 and was originally scheduled for completion a bare 12 months later.
The grant had been justified to the Carnegie Corporation on two grounds. The first rationale was that the state of scientific knowledge about alcohol was in disarray as a result of the long struggle between wets and drys. Each side had produced competing and contradictory scientific claims over the course of the temperance-prohibition-repeal eras, so that no one could be certain what the authoritative body of scientific knowledge about alcohol actually comprised. The Carnegie project, therefore, promised to conduct an exhaustive and critical appraisal of the extant scientific literature. It also proposed a complex system of validation in which individual articles of scientific knowledge would be passed through a long sequence of successive validations by RCPA scientific authorities. Genuinely valid articles of scientific knowledge about alcohol would be the project's chief product (See Roizen, 1991, chap. VIII).
The second rationale was that any new scientific enterprise required an extensive review of the scientific literature in order to divine what research problems new science should address. This was the goal Jellinek's 1942 plan addressed. Between 1937 and 1939 the RCPA had, itself, drifted from a primarily information validating and diffusing orientation to one focusing primarily on the support of new scientific research. Therefore, by the time the Carnegie project was launched, RCPA scientists were probably more interested in whatever light it might shed on future scientific direction than in the project's fact-validating side. Soon after the Carnegie project was launched, however, RCPA leadership made a dramatic decision regarding the direction of its own program of future research. The group was encountering great difficulty in securing financial support for its various proposed projects from foundations and individuals of means, but it had apparently been approached by representatives of the alcoholic beverage industry with offers of support. These had been declined at first--RCPA leadership feared that industry funding would tarnish the group's reputation and raise the possibility of bias in the results of the group's scientific work.
In the absence of other sources of support, however, the RCPA's leadership turned to the question of how industry support might be structured in such a way as to make it acceptable and ethically defensible. Karl Bowman, the group's Executive Secretary, put forward the proposal that since research focused on alcoholism--unlike research focused on alcohol--did not have direct rhetorical benefits for either wets or drys, therefore a program of research centered on alcoholism could accept industry support without fearing that such research's results would be biased on that account. "Bowman's Compromise," as I have called this proposal elsewhere (Roizen, 1991), was adopted by vote of the RCPA membership in October 1939. Thenceforth, the group would steer its research and public relations efforts to an emphasis on alcoholism--and soon begin making use of new funds coming in from beverage industry sources. This decision was at times presented as an interim measure, but contemporary documentation shows that some RCPA leaders regarded it as a long-term commitment (see Roizen, 1991, chap. VIII).
Meantime, and under Jellinek's day-to-day direction, an industrious and productive little group of literature reviewers and abstracters was both constructing a viable approach for ordering the world's scientific knowledge on alcohol and carrying out a comprehensive review. The task was great, and the project still incomplete at the end of 1940, when its money ran out. Haggard brought Jellinek and his project down to Yale in early 1941, in due course bringing over most of Jellinek's staff as well (Keller, 1990; Page, 1988). Thus was born the Section of Alcohol Studies at Yale.
Thus too was created a three-tiered context--involving the expectations of the RCPA, the Yale Section, and the Carnegie Corporation--for the construction of Jellinek's 1942 plan. Each institution had somewhat different needs and expectations. And although Yale now housed and supported Jellinek's study group, the Carnegie project was still an official RCPA enterprise. The RCPA had billed the project to the Carnegie Corporation in part as a crucial step in establishing the group's scientific direction. Yet Jellinek, who was by now Vice Chair of the RCPA's powerful Scientific Committtee,12 was doubtless well aware that the RCPA has quietly decided to devote the bulk of their new research focused on alcoholism. Therefore, to satisfy the RCPA's expectations, his plan must stress the importance of research focused on alcohol addiction. But by early 1942 Jellinek and his team had been lodged at Yale for roughly a year. In this period, Jellinek became familiar with the alcohol problems perspective emergent in the Yale context--for example, in the preparation of Alcohol Explored (Haggard and Jellinek, 1942)--whose perspective Jellinek's plan also needed to reflect.13 Finally, there was the Carnegie Corporation's contextual relevance. Carnegie officials may have borne little or no interest in the outcome of Jellinek's review. But regardless of their level of interest, Jellinek, with Jolliffe, had kept the Corporation posted on the project's progress with interim progress reports.14 These reports established a rhetorical trajectory that Jellinek may also have felt obliged to reflect and culminate in his 1942 plan.
How would Jellinek integrate or finesse these three sets of somewhat conflicting expectations? Certainly he had one significant rhetorical resource working in his favor. Anyone who has ever conducted a review of scientific literature will know that there is a considerable gap between the substance of a literature review, on the one hand, and an agenda for future research, on the other. Though proposed scientific projects inevitably review the literature and position their enterprise's significance, moving from a literature review to a declaration of important research agendas will leave a good deal of flexibility, even indeterminancy, in the author's hands. It may have been blessing and resource about which Jellinek had mixed feelings.
Jellinek's three-tiered contextual circumstance no doubt gave his text (Jellinek, 1942) its broad tone of vague inclusiveness. Yet the documentation I have been able to examine illuminates that much of Jellinek's framing text followed a rhetorical path described in a progress report submitted to Carniegie on 15 February 1941 (*15), or more than a year before Jellinek's final plan was presented. The progress report was signed by both Jolliffe and Jellinek. The report's text restated the project's original goals, described the reviewing and abstracting system they had developed, and described the publications that would be emanating from work so far accomplished or still to be completed. The report closed with a preliminary statement of what the review as a whole seems to have suggested about the scientific literature on alcohol. This review was conveyed in the form of five summary points:(1) The literature on the effects of alcohol is nowhere near so conflicting as is generally assumed.Jellinek's (1942) plan's text is divided into broad parts, (1) a framing section of six pages in which the rationale and structure of his plan are offered and (2) a second section of sixteen pages comprised of the specific recommendations for proposed research in six disciplinary areas (sociology-anthropology, psychiatry-neurology-clinical psychology, physiology, experimental psychology, research on alcoholic diseases, and "other researches"). Jellinek's framing section draws much from the five points enumerated in the progress report. He notes, first, that "[t]here is a considerably greater fund of knowledge relating to the questions of alcohol than is usually admitted" (p. 104)--restating point (1), above--and then elaborates an explanation of the appearance of past confusion based on the mishandling of scientific information by nonscientist interpreters. Next, he suggests that the fund of knowledge is adequate "for tackling much more complex investigations than we usually admit being prepared for..."--echoing point (2) above. In similar fashion, Jellinek's text covers or restates the progress report's points (3), (4), and (5), above.
(2) There is a considerable fund of sound knowledge which, although by no means sufficient for the solution of problems, warrants the experimental and clinical investigation of much more complex problems than have been attacked in the past.
(3) By far the largest number of past researches were devoted to the exploration of the immediate effects of alcohol and to the etiology and pathogenesis of the so-called alcoholic diseases. Alcohol addiction has received much less attention from the experimentalist, although the problem has given rise to considerable speculative literature.
(4) While the most urgent problem seems to be the genesis of alcohol addiction and while the greatest research effort should center around this problem in the future, it does not seem advisable entirely to neglect research on the alcoholic diseases and on the immediate effects of alcohol.
(5) The social aspects of alcoholism have been grossly neglected in the past in any scientific sense and require greater attention. (Jolliffe and Jellinek, Progress Report, 15 Feb 41, p. 2)
There is, to be sure, a discernible emphasis on alcoholism or alcohol addiction in the plan, but like the earlier progress report the subject of alcohol addiction is hedged about with balancing qualifications and reservations.16 Perhaps the most direct assertion of alcohol addiction's importance as a research topic appears in the context of Jellinek's discussion of how past research has been misled by context with "isolated aspects" of the alcohol problem. "This led to preponderance [sic] of researches on interesting side issues over researches primarily relevant to the central problem of alcohol, which is the problem of the origins and development of addiction and of other abnormal drinking." Jellinek continues: "But even this problem of origins and development is central only inasmuch as it is prerequisite to the prevention and cure of abnormal alcoholic habits" (p. 105). Jellinek's language is elliptical and open to competing interpretations, but I read him as saying, in effect, that even if science were to discover the root causes of alcohol addiction such knowledge might prove to be of little value unless it were complemented by sufficient knowledge of the social, personality, and therapeutic factors that might play in the prevention and treatment of alcoholism. In other words, a focus on addiction's etiology should not obscure the broad array of research problems implied in the "total problem" of alcohol. By my count, Jellinek invokes the locution, "total problem," a total of five times in the framing pages of his plan. It serves as recurring reminder that alcohol problems are embedded in multiple and interrelated cultural, personality, and physiologic matrices.
In referring specifically to the prospects for fruitful study of "the origins of inebriety and addiction" Jellinek notes that adequate foundations have been laid for such work by physiology, experimental psychology, and clinical medicine along with explanatory insights drawn from psychiatry. On these grounds Jellinek authorizes the RCPA to devote primary attention to addictive phenomena, but even that authorization is qualified, as the following passage shows:It would seem, therefore, that the Research Council on Problems of Alcohol should give its attention in the first place to the problem of addiction and its treatment and secondarily to the etiology and treatment of the disease of chronic alcoholism....There are other aspects of inebriety which, although not closely related to the central problems of the Council, will have to receive some consideration. For more and more the Council is being regarded as an institution for guidance in all matters pertaining to alcohol. Rigid principles can hardly be adopted by the Council. A practical balance will have to be struck between the problems and projects that the Council sees as its primary interest and those problems which loom importantly in publicI am inclined to conclude from Jellinek's text that he managed well to incorporate themes and touchstones that spoke to all three reference contexts--RCPA, Yale, and Carnegie--his plan addressed. Here, in other words, was a framework large enough for the RCPA's interest in focusing greater attention on alcoholism, large enough for the Yale-based group's interest in a more widely defined alcohol-problems focus, and at the same time responsive to the Carnegie project's interest in summing up the experience of this great review of past scientific literature.
opinion. (p. 108)
Why Yale's Knowledge-Diffusion Orientation?
Why was Haggard's Yale-based enterprise primarily oriented around knowlege diffusion? We come now to two ticklish issues: What were Haggard's motivations and objectives with respect to the alcohol enterprise? And what were his source or sources of financial support for it? Both are shrouded in mystery, and good answers--if they ever emerge--will need to come from new historical work on Haggard's papers, on Yale's financial relationship to his alcohol group, and on whatever patrons or other sources of support may have been involved. Moreover, unearthing good answers may require considerable digging, for there is suggestive evidence that a wall of confidentiality may surround the alcohol group's relationships, financial and otherwise, to the University.17
Little can be guessed of Haggard's motivations. I have noted elsewhere (Roizen, 1991, p. 255ff.), that Haggard was at least peripherally involved in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) "Science and Society Movement" (see Kuznick, 1987, pp. 96 & 169) in the late 1930s. AAAS Permanent Secretary, F.R. Moulton, promoted this movement in order to repair science's damaged public image during the Great Depression. One of this movement's chief rhetorical emphases was that science should become more involved in, and take greater responsibility for, the country's social problems. Haggard's interest in the alcohol area may have been, at least partly, an extension of that objective. Incidentally, my guess is that the "Science and Society" phrase in Alcohol, Science and Society is a direct allusion to the AAAS's Science and Society Movement. Haggard's Laboratory may also have been undergoing--like so many institutions--difficult financial times in the late 1930s, and so was open to new sources of financial backing.18
The question of Haggard's source or sources of financial support has been both controversial and mysterious for a long time. Perhaps some preliminary remarks are in order before I turn to this topic. First of all, I do not believe that identifying the source of Haggard's funding necessarily tells us a great deal about the character and direction of the enterprise he established. As I've noted already, Haggard and his patron or patrons may to have gone to some lengths to keep their arrangement under wraps. From one perspective, such secrecy can be explained as an effort to conceal and unflattering truth--for example, that the beverage industry lay behind the Yale enterprise. But well maintained secrecy can also imply that Yale scientists were unaware--and therefore uninfluenced by--their patron or patrons. After all, the sine qua non of influencing the direction of the enterprise is being known to its workers as its patron. High secrecy--if indeed secrecy is at hand in this instance--can be regarded as a two-edged circumstance, either shielding the public from an unflattering truth or shielding the enterprise itself from meaningful bias or influence by the patron.
One important issue for consideration is the order of magnitude of the funds involved. It appears that Haggard had at his disposal resources of sufficient magnitude to (1) launch and support the QJSA, (2) bring over and support Jellinek's literature-reviewing project and most of its staff, (3) support a variety of research undertakings by Laboratory scientists, and (4) launch and at least partly support the Yale Summer School. Together these amounted to considerable financial burden, and one that Haggard managed at a time when the RCPA was having little luck--outside the distilled spirits industry--securing patrons for its research. Evidence suggests that Haggard's resources were relatively secure and sufficient to support his enterprises for at least five years, from 1940. For example, a 1940 RCPA newsletter, announcing that Haggard in December 1939 had offered a new journal, the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, which might serve as the RCPA's "official organ" and was funded for a five-year period.19
Mark Keller (1990) suggests that Haggard was a very popular professor and also adept at soliciting funds. In Keller's view, Haggard "was able to raise the financial support for this costly undertaking [i.e., founding the QJSA and bringing Jellinek and his staff to Yale, R.R.] among alumni families" (Keller, 1990). Johnson (1973, p. 240) suggests that the QJSA's funding came from the "substantial budget" of Haggard's Laboratory of Applied Physiology and Haggard's considerable influence with the University's board of trustees (no doubt a reference to the Yale Corporation).
The question of financial support arose explicitly around the foundation of Yale's Summer School. Indeed, even the initial announcement of the Summer School in the June 1943 issue of the QJSA made two specific references to funding. The first noted that "[t]o maintain the academic freedom which is essential in all University activities, the School has not sought sponsorship of any organization outside of the University" (Current Notes, 1943, p. 130). A second reference to funding--this one under the section heading "THE FUNDS OF THE SCHOOL"--read:A number of persons interested in the School of Alcohol Studies have been disturbed by the circulation of a rumor to the effect that the School is being supported by funds supplied by the liquor trade. Obviously the purpose of this rumor was to suggest a bias in the teachings of the School and to shake the confidence in it. The Directors of the School take this opportunity to state that the School is not a private undertaking but an approved unit of Yale University. The expenses of the School are met out of funds received and administered by the office of the Treasurer of Yale University. No part of these funds has been supplied directly or indirectly by liquor interests. (Current Notes, 1943, p. 136)The same "rumor" apparently cropped up in the School's first session as well. The author of a 1943 Colliers magazine article describing the School's first session wrote: "The School struck a snag when a rumor spread that it was financed by the liquor interests for the purpose of 'whitewashing their nefarious trade.' Some very dry students threatened to leave, but Doctor Jellinek soon convinced them the rumor was ridiculous" (Porter, 1943, p. 24).
Yet, spokespersons for the Summer School did not always offer the same no-industry-support account. For example, in a 1955 interview-format article (Social, 1955), Yale Alcohol Center representatives20 were asked, "Has Yale Center [sic] ever received substantial support from the alcohol beverage industry?" Their carefully worded response was as follows:If the industry can be subdivided into three parts--distillers, vintners, and brewers--it can be said that Yale has never received any support form the distillers or from the vintners. Several years ago the Center received a large personal gift from an individual who is connected with the brewing industry. He was a Yale graduate and a one-time student of Dr. Haggard. It should also be said that he was involved in many other business affairs. (Social, 1955, p. 25)The answer went on to note that "[i]n the last two years a rather large grant was made for a laboratory study by a research institute backed by the brewers," and that funds had never been received from dry interests,
though these would be welcomed so long as, as in all other funding arrangements, no strings were attached (ibid.). The former Haggard student was undoubtedly Guido R. Rahr, then president of the Rahr Malting Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.21 The Rahr Malting Company was (and remains) a family-owned firm founded in 1847 by Rahr's grandfather, William Rahr (Kent, 1946). The History of the Class of 1925 Yale College (1925, p. 259), offers a photo of Rahr and a yearbook-style biographical blurb from which the following may be gleaned: Rahr was born in Manitowoc on 25 March 1902. Rahr's father, Reinhardt Rahr, was an 1884 graduate of the University of Michigan. The younger Rahr, the yearbook cameo noted, "left our Class at the end of Sophomore year and is now a member of the Class of 1926" (loc. cit.).
Through the kindness and skill of Susan Brady of the Yale University Library, I have received four letters written in 1943 that offer an intriguing glimpse of Haggard's relationship to Rahr (see Appendix I for copies). In order of time, the first from Laurence G. Tighe, the University's Treasurer, to Haggard, dated 27 February (I); the second, from Rahr to Haggard, dated 20 March (II); the third, from Haggard to Lohmann, dated 23 March (III); and the fourth, (presumably) from Lohmann to Rahr, dated 25 March (IV). For convenience, I'll refer to these as Letters I, II, III, and IV.
What can be mined from this correspondence? Letter II indicates that Rahr intended to support Haggard's Summer School enterprise with three monthly installments of $5,000 each, which would be sent Haggard in March, April, and May. Letter II, dated 20 March, conveyed the first of these checks, and Rahr begins the letter by apologizing for tardiness. Letter II's phrase, "...these amounts to completely cover the work which you are undertaking," suggests that Rahr believed his funds would solely and completely support Haggard's unspecified undertaking. Letter III makes clear that Haggard's Summer School was the enterprise in question. Letter IIIalso references the issue of the scope of Rahr's support--in Haggard's sentence, "When, however, I told him of the School, he was greatly interested and asked for what he called the privilege of making the whole contribution for this year himself." Here, Haggard's text tacitly affirms that he (Haggard) shares Rahr's view that these funds are adequate to cover the whole endeavor.
Letters III and IV letters supply the interesting detail that Haggard's project was at this time called the "Summer School on Alcohol Education"--a name which connotes a somewhat weaker tie to alcohol research and a stronger tie to information diffusion than the School's final name, "Summer School of Alcohol Studies." Letter IV also conveys--even discounting for the letter's gratitudinous intent--that Rahr's gift was regarded as a quite substantial sum (note the term "very generous" in the first sentence and the mention that the gift was "one of the handsomest" Rahr's class had made).
Haggard began Letter III by noting that Rahr "has in the past given financial aid to our Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol," thus affirming Rahr's ties to Haggard did not begin with the School but stretched back to that earlier enterprise. Haggard's second sentence--"When I was looking for funds for the Summer School on Alcohol Education I did ask him since I felt that he had already done much for our work in these directions"--has an odd ring to it. However, Haggard's third sentence--which begins, "When, however, I told him of the school...--makes it clear that Haggard intended to write "did not" instead of "did" in his second sentence.22 In any case, if we can accept Haggard's second sentence at face value, it carries two important implications: (1) that it was Haggard's idea, not Rahr's to establish the Summer School, though Rahr liked the idea enough to want to support it entirely, and (2) that Rahr's contributions to the QJSA were substantial--substantial enough, at least, to make Haggard claim diffidence about asking for any more money.
Letter III's second paragraph provides a picture of Haggard's vision of Rahr's motivations with respect to this gift--at least insofar as Haggard might wish to characterize them to Lohmann. The image Haggard conveys of Rahr is of a man whose undergraduate experience at Yale may have been somewhat wounding, but whose attachment to the University was nevertheless--or perhaps even because of its painful aspect--quite strong. Thus, Haggard conveys Rahr's loyalty and identification to Yale as an important factor in his motivation for the gift. Indeed, Haggard is advising Lohmann to take the voice of the University in thanking Rahr, thus gratifying Rahr's sense of linkage with the University. But Haggard does not confine his picture of Rahr's motivations to the man's feelings about Yale. Haggard asserts only that Rahr "is vey much interested in the sort of work we are doing" and that "at least a fair part of his interest is in the fact that it is at Yale" (emphasis added). Stated in this way, of course, Rahr's "interest" in the work's Yale location may suggest not only his emotional link to the University but, for example, the utility of borrowing the University's prestige for this alcohol education project. Haggard goes on to make direct reference to Rahr's link with the brewing industry in his next sentence: "Mr. Rahr is, I understand, a man of some wealth who controls a profitable malt company founded, I believe, by his father."
Neither Letter II nor III makes any suggestion that Rahr was in fact one of Haggard's undergraduate students or that Haggard was greatly admired by Rahr. Letter III suggests, both explicitly and indirectly, that Haggard had no great personal contact with Rahr. Haggard asserts as much--in "I do not have an intimate personal acquaintance with him"--and indirectly suggests little knowledge of Rahr in mistakenly identifying Rahr's father (rather than grandfather) as the family company's founder. At the same time, Haggard must have known Rahr well enough to offer the shrewd psychological assessment his letter conveys. Haggard did little to conceal his hope for future financial support from Rahr in his closing comment to Lohmann: "I know that he would be much pleased by this recognition from you and I, for obvious reasons of the future, would like to have him pleased."23
Letter I, from Treasurer Tighe to Haggard, derives from a previous meeting and provides a set of instructions for running the School's finances, with respect to the school's supporting funds, student fellowships, housing, and even furniture. This letter may indirectly suggests that whatever Rahr's and Haggard's financial arrangement in the past were, these arrangements required restructuring for the handling of Rahr's support of the Summer School. Tighe's mention of "Dr. Hellinek," presumably "Jellinek," implies of course that Jellinek was present at the meeting with Tighe and involved in the planning of the school. Tighe makes no specific reference to Rahr, however, and so it cannot be determined from this letter whether Haggard specifically named his School's patron or not in this encounter, and, by extension, whether Jellinek would have been aware of Rahr's support. The arrangement Tighe describes and Letter II's mention that Rahr's checks were made out to Yale suggest that the School's support did, indeed, come via the University and not directly from Rahr. In the idiom of our own day, however, this may have been described as an exercise in laundering. If Rahr's funds did indeed underwrite Haggard's Summer School then disclaimers of any link to the beverage industry must be viewed as somewhat disingenuous, even if technically correct.
By itself, Rahr's record of support for the Yale-based alcohol group tells us little about why it should be oriented toward information diffusion. Nevertheless, particularly Rahr's seemingly exclusive support of the Summer School, suggests to me two broad hypotheses or speculations regarding his, and thus perhaps also the Yale enterprise's, initial orientations to alcohol science. I'll call these the "banish superstition" and the "reward Henderson" hypotheses:(1) The banish superstition hypothesis: Rahr may have been one of the students who fell under the spell of Haggard's stirring vision of scientific enlightenment and the progress of civilization. As Haggard discoursed, whether in lecture or writing, on the slow progress of science and civilization, banishing superstition, ignorance, and religious folly in its wake, Rahr--in the mid-1920s and thus in the middle of national prohibition--may have equated these unscientific foes with the "dour, cadaverous, puritanical" (Blocker, 1989, p. xi) images of the dry advocates of his day. Rahr may have imagined that Haggard's captivating case for an open-minded and scientific worldview would make both Haggard and modern, mainstream science, in general, excellent advocates on behalf of a balanced and enlightened (i.e., wetter) view of beverage alcohol. In this hypothetical scenario, when national prohibition ended and Rahr, himself, took over the reigns of the company (see Kent, 1946, p. 55), Rahr contacted Haggard and offered him unconditional support for any science-related activity Haggard might wish to embark upon, so long as that enterprise might embody the pro-science and anti-superstition touchstones Rahr recalled from Haggard's lectures and writings.Both hypotheses, I hasten to add, are purely speculative. They are not necessarily in competition with each other--that is, Rahr's personal admiration of Haggard's rhetoric and perspective may have combined with the brewing industry's favorable disposition toward Henderson and Haggard. And yet neither should they be dismissed because of their speculative character. Though I am inclined more to hypothesis (1) than to (2), both hypotheses may be said to provide possible--perhaps even plausible--scenarios for a well-funded, information-diffusing, alcohol-science enterprise involving virtually no "interference" on the part of the patron to be established and maintained at Yale's Laboratory of Applied Physiology. Moreover, the timing, of this establishment--in 1939 and 1940--may well have been prompted by the outbreak and prospect of American participation in World War II. Many brewers initially feared that the new war would usher in the same grave consequences that World War I had occasioned for their industry (see Rubin, 1979b). It may be noted, incidentally, that the lead article in the first number of Haggard's Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol was authored by Henderson and presented the argument that high-proof beverages were more responsible for the production of alcoholism than low-proof beverages. "Alcoholics--both chronic heavy drinkers and dipsomaniacs," wrote Henderson (1940, p. 1), "are addicted not to alcoholic beverages in general--but to those beverages which are classed as strong liquors." Most brewers, doubtless, would have found little with which to disagree.
(2) The reward Henderson hypothesis: This hypothesis springs from the fact that Rahr, as a maltster, was associated with the brew ing industry in particular. For many of the nation's brewers may be said to have felt much indebted to physiology professor Yandell Henderson of Yale in the early 1930s. As noted earlier, Henderson had argued beer's virtues before a committee of the U.S. Congress and offered his considered scientific judgment that 3.2-percent beer was not intoxicating and therefore should not be included within national prohibition's proscription. Congress agreed, and legal sales of 3.2 beer returned to the country in April of 1933, fully nine months before Repeal's full ratification would lift the ban on wine and spirits as well. Henderson had not only afforded the beer industry crucial symbolic testimony, thus giving beer a considerable headstart over other alcoholic beverages in advertising and marketing, but he also passionately argued for low taxes on beer (Henderson, 1934) and higher taxes on distilled spirits, so that the price structure might encourage the consumption of low alcohol-content beverages. These, to be sure, were sweet words to the beer industry. If the brewing industry had wished to reward Henderson or to offer support for the notion keeping Henderson's perspective in the public eye, then they may have hit on the idea of channeling funds to Henderson's Laboratory of Applied Physiology through the intermediary of former Yale student, Rahr. When Haggard took over from Henderson, in 1938, the same arrangement may have been kept in force, though now on behalf of a laboratory Henderson's protege, Haggard, directed.
The case I have tried to make harbors a number of implications with respect to the social history of the American modern alcoholism movement in post-Repeal era. If I am essentially correct that the early Yale-based group resisted rather than embraced an alcoholism focus and perspective--one which was already well-known and promoted by RCPA's scientific leadership as well as by a rapidly growing AA organization--then the Yale group's experience affords us a striking indicator of the high indeterminancy or open-endedness of post-Repeal alcohol arena. In other words, Yale's resistance demonstrates there was nothing ineluctable about the alcoholism movement's ascendancy in the post-Repeal era, even after that focus had been embraced by two important, contemporary groups, the RCPA and AA. This observation should, I think, offer us a small intellectual shield against retrospective interpretations of the modern alcoholism movement's ascendancy that emphasize how neatly and well the alcoholism paradigm fit the country's post-Repeal symbolic circumstance by shifting the responsibility for alcohol-related problems from alcohol to the alcoholic. If alcoholism lies at the root of alcohol-related problems, then the alcoholism paradigm both symbolically legitimizes drinking for the great majority of the population who are not alcoholic and conveniently prescribes abstinence for the unfortunate few who are alcoholic.
I believe that this "fit" between the alcoholism paradigm and post-Repeal American society's "need" for a symbolic framework in which alcohol was not only commercially legitimized but symbolically legitimized as well is an important factor in the ultimate ascendancy of the modern alcoholism movement. I do not believe, however, that this "fit" will (or should) be invoked as an adequate explanation of that ascendancy. The actual road between Repeal and the full flowering of the modern alcoholism movement has a full complement of the unexpected curves, detours, and potholes that characterize actual history. The Yale-based group's resistance to the alcoholism perspective and focus is one such in the frame of the larger emergence of the modern alcoholism movement. As such, it affords us a valuable clue and reminder of actual history's complexity and intrigue.
But I hope the case we've examined also offers more than merely abstract historiographic precautions. Yale's alcohol problems perspective also worked in the sense that it defined and ushered in scientific authority into the public alcohol arena. Yale's early Lay Pamphlets, Alcohol Explored (Haggard and Jellinek, 1942), the Summer School, and Alcohol, Science and Society (1945) apparently enjoyed great and enduring popularity in mainstream America (Rubin, 1979), even after 1944. Therefore, the early history of the modern alcoholism movement must equivalently be examined with an eye to how Yale's alcohol problems perspective, with its unabashed reliance on the cultural capital and symbolic significance of modern science, brought its special brand of legitimacy to the new movement. In other words,
we must ask not only how a new alcohol-problems paradigm managed to gain ascendancy in the post-Repeal era but how science, per se, managed to secure symbolic control in this arena. How, for example, were Jellinek's various peregrinations on the character of modern science in fact consonant with a nascent value orientation to social problems in American culture? How much did wartime America embrace science's soothing message of superior knowledge and inevitable social consensus as a medium for achieving popular solidarity across an only recently bitter divide between wet and dry citizens? Yet, and at the same time, Yale's success suggests how lively and important was alcohol's symbolic meaning in this period. Jellinek's program did not address how to solve alcohol-related problems but instead how to define them and in what sort of cultural idiom--i.e., science. Jellinek was aware there was a great potential for symbolic redefinition arising from the need to construct a new alcohol pedagogy suitable for the post-Repeal era (Jellinek, 1943a).
We have also seen how open-ended and plastic a "scientific orientation" to a social problem can be. The RCPA's commitment to promoting research and Yale's commitment to the diffusion of knowledge, though both were defined within a scientific agenda, resulted in each employing markedly different conceptual perspectives. Jellinek may well have sensed that to sell only the future prospects science--as the RCPA was doing--would not alone gain popular interest or support. To gain control of the territory, science would have to offer something beyond simply the request for research support and the promise of new and useful knowledge at some time in the future. American society was in fact hungry for a new alcohol-related pedagogy, one aimed at resolving the symbolic dilemma created by alcohol.
Finally, although the Yale-based group never abandoned the alcohol problems perspective entirely, the group and Jellinek did lay more and more emphasis and support on the alcoholism concept after 1944. I suggest that knowing that Yale was not so firmly in the alcoholism camp in its earliest years now also raises the intriguing question as to why the Yale-based group elected to abandon its own orientation and perspective and throw in more fully with the alcoholism-based bandwagon.
1 Others have previously noted the early Yale-based group's non-alcoholism focus. Robin Room (1982), for example, has written a thoughtful and intellectually appreciative account of Yale's scholarly orientation in this period. Also, Mark Keller (1985, pp. 164-165) has quite rightly objected that some historical interpreters of the early alcoholism movement have wrongly attributed an alcoholism perspective to the early Yale-based group. Keller notes in this connection that the names of Yale's various alcohol-related enterprises--including the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and the Summer School of Alcohol Studies--employed the word "alcohol," not "alcoholism."
2 Others have also previously noted the early Yale-based group's information-diffusion orientation. For instance, the following exchange appeared in a British Journal of Addiction interview with Mark Keller. Keller is here speaking of Haggard:[MK:] His research on alcohol, which was done very soon after Prohibition, created a great deal of public interest, and resulted in the Laboratory at Yale receiving many questions about alcohol which Haggard realised that his staff, who were physiologists and biochemists, were not able to answer. So Haggard was interested in a broader perspective on alcohol problems and in 1940, when the review [the Carnegie-funded project, R.R.] was almost finished, he founded the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol.3 No waster of a good descriptive passage, Haggard's obituarist (presumably Leon A. Greenberg) appears to have borrowed the quoted text directly from Yandell Henderson's QJSA obituary, which was authored by Haggard, himself, fifteen years earlier (see H.W.H., 1944, pp. 658-659).
BJA: Initially as a medium for publishing your reports?
MK: Initially to help with that task, but he was a man with a lot of vision, and he immediately saw it as a journal which would publish many other research reports on alcohol (Keller, 1991, p. 60).
4 I have no sales figures on Haggard's popular volumes, but it may be noted that my personal copy of Devils, Drugs, and Doctors (Haggard, 1929), published by Blue Ribbon Books of New York City, derives from the book's 27th printing.
5 A further, and remarkable, indication of Haggard's popularizing orientation appears in an account of a 1947 visit to the Section of Alcohol Studies by Robert S. Morrison, Assistant Director of the Rockefeller Foundation's Medical Division. Morrison was responding to a request for funds and had spent the day inspecting the Yale operation. Morrison's notes that Haggard: "who joined us for lunch, makes no bones about the fact that his interest in applied physiology is largely promotional" (Morrison, Yale visit notes, 9 May 47, p. 2). Morrison's notes also included the following striking comment on the dimensions of Yale-based group's popular audience: "I was amazed to hear that the pamphlets prepared for public instruction have a circulation of about 100,000 each and that the book recently published by the Section [undoubtedly, Alcohol, Science and Society, R.R.] now exists in 69,000 copies" (loc. cit.). (Morrisons notes were kindly provided by Tom Rosenbaum of the Rockefeller Foundation Archives [Record Group 1.1; Series 200A; Box 118; Folder 1456; File title, "Yale University--Alcohol Studies--Bibliography"]. Philip A. Pauly pointed out the existence of this file to me.
6 For example, Yale's prohibition-era scholars and controversialists included economist Irving Fisher (e.g., Fisher, 1926), psychologist Walter R. Miles (e.g., Miles, 1932), and Selden Bacon (the elder)--lawyer father of sociologist Selden D. Bacon, future Yale Center of Alcohol Studies director (1950-1962)--who unsuccessfully argued national prohibition's unconstitutionality in the U.S. Supreme Court (see Kyvig, 1979).
7 American Association for the Advancement of Science Archives, in Washington, D.C., hold a file of corresopondence between AAAS permanent secretary, F.R. Moulton and then-current AAAS president, Walter B. Cannon, regarding plans for the publication of Haggard and Jellinek's (1942) book. Moulton's letter to Cannon of 14 May 1941 notes that Haggard and Jellinek had already prepared the book's outline.
8 In the sameAAAS Archives (see [*7], above), Cannon's letter to Moulton of 16 May 1941 queries Moulton as to the relationship between Jellinek's unfinished review of the alcohol literature and Haggard and Jellinek's proposed book. Cannon writes, in part:From the point of view of the Committee on Alcohol [i.e., the RCPA, R.R.] I wonder if Dr. Jellinek is prepared to enter with Dr. Haggard on this enterprise....The Council is spending a great deal of time and a considerable sum of mony [sic] in a survey of the literature on the effects of alcohol on the human organism. If that is so well known as to be put into a book by Jellinek, who is a prominent member of the Council, is there any need for the inquiry which is going on?Moulton responded (Moulton to Cannon, 20 May 1941) that Jellinek's review was "now completed," and Jellinek had moved to New Haven to work with Haggard. According to Moulton's understanding of the matter, Haggard would "largely, if not entirely" write the book and Jellinek would check Haggard's work against "the abstracts of the entire literature in the last 40 years which he has made." Moulton continued, "I am under the impression that Dr. Haggard is taking Dr. Jellinek in as joint author because of the excellent work he has done in making abstracts of the literature." It is worth noting that Haggard's track record as a successful science popularizer may have may have contributed to Moulton's emphasis on Haggard's lead or exclusive authorship.
In short, Haggard would do a good job on what is now known but an inquiry is afoot which might yield more information than Haggard is likely to have at his command.
9 In a later stage of the modern alcoholism movement, the Yale-based group continued its information- diffusing focus through "the establishment of professional education programs, community information and referral programs, model treatment programs, and other consultation services" (Page, n.d., p. 11), by now all structured around the disease conception of alcoholism.
10 Mark Keller (1982, p. 4) recalled: "We did believe in 'The Problems of Alcohol'--that was the title of Lecture 2, by E.M. Jellinek. The title, illustrated by Vera Efron in a Lay Supplement of the same title as a ramifying vine, is a significant statement. It parted from older conceptions of 'the alcohol problem' which had filled the historical problem-oriented literature dominated by the temperance-antialcohol movement. We now were invited to consider not that alcohol was THE problem but that there were many problems in which alcohol was involved in a variety of ways."
11 I should note that there is a risk that this examination of some of his science-promoting rhetorical themes may suggest a certain harshness and unfairness to Jellinek. A half-century has passed since Jellinek wrote or uttered these words, and much has changed of course in our images of both science and alcohol. It should be kept in mind, too, that Jellinek was speaking from the vantage point of new and bright promise in science--whereas we, from our vantage point in 1993, look back over the somewhat less stirring story of alcohol science's actual history in the intervening years. Jellinek employed themes that were of a piece with a much wider layer of the contemporary discourse about science and social problems in the 1930s and 1940s, both within and outside the framework of the Science and Society movement (see Chapin, 1947; Kuznick, 1987). This fact should not only keep us from forming harsh and ahistorical judgments but also provide some insight into why Jellinek's audiences received his words the way they did. In any event, my goal in the above discussion is not to judge Jellinek's rhetorical efforts but to show how Yale's alcohol problems perspective suited its knowledge-diffusing orientation to alcohol science.
12 Jellinek makes his first appearance in the RCPA's published roster as Vice Chair in the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol's December 1941 issue (see QJSA 2:637, 1941).
13 With respect of Yale's alcohol problems perspective, this need may have been more symbolic than instrumental--in that Yale's enterprise was oriented to the diffusion rather than creation of scientific knowledge.
14 Carnegie Corporation of New York archivist, Patricia Haynes, has provided me with two such progress reports, one dated 22 January 1940 and the other dated 15 February 1941.
15 See footnote (*14), above.
16 Care must be taken to understand such terms as "alcoholism," "alcohol addiction," and "inebriety" in their contemporary meanings for Jellinek and his readers. In 1942, Jellinek meant by "alcoholism" bodily diseases resulting from excessive drinking, and not alcohol dependence or addiction. "Inebriety" was a broad term referring to many forms excessive drinking. Inebriety did not necessarily imply addiction (see Haggard and Jellinek, 1942, p. 144). Nor was disease inebriety considered to be a singular illness. Haggard and Jellinek (1942, p. 143) explain: "The recognition that inebriety was, in many instances, a disease led to a search for the cause, and this search has greatly advanced the knowledge of both inebriety and the inebriate. The progress of research, however, has been impeded by two misconceptions: the first that all habitual excessive drinking is a disease, and the second, that it is the same disease."
17 The RCPA was formally disbanded in 1949. Its files and operations, however, were carried on in a downsized "Committee on Problems of Alcohol," lodged at the National Research Council (NRC). This committee held an orientation meeting on 25 May 1949. The event was opened by Lewis H. Weed, Chairman of the NRC's Division of Medical Sciences and chaired by Chauncey D. Leake. "Dr. Hirsh," below, is Joseph Hirsh, past Director of the RCPA. Many issues were discussed. At one point the question of the relationship between Yale University and Haggard's Summer School of Alcohol Studies was raised. The following exchange is recorded in the minutes:Dr. Weed: "I am a member of the Yale Corporation. I have tried for six months to find out the relation of the Yale School of Alcohol Studies to Yale University and the Corporation; I cannot find out."If so well-informed and well-connected a personages as Weed, a Yale Corporation member, could not discover the relationship, that relationship was probably subject to some diffidence on the University's part. (These minutes were provided by archivists Janice Goldblum and Wendy Ailor of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.)
Dr. Hirsh: "We tried for ten years."
Dr. Weed: "I cannot find out; it is so tenuous and if it weren't for the fact that Haggard had a university appointment, there would be none."
18 Robert Straus (personal communication, April, 1993) has mentioned to me that he can recall that a variety of commercial market research projects--involving, for example, taste-test studies--were conducted at the Laboratory when he first joined the staff in the late 1940s. This may be a small indication that the Laboratory had evolved an opportunistic or eclectic disposition toward securing funds for its ongoing existence. Also see Keller (1990, p. 158ff.).
19 Research Council on Problems of Alcohol, "News Letter To Members," no date [April-May 1940?] drawn from a file titled "Research Council, 1940's" in one box of Ray Lyman Wilbur's papers identified as "MSS3 Box 5" at the Lane Medical Archive at Stanford University Medical School.
20 Selden Bacon, Leon Greenberg, and unspecified "others" were apparently interviewed (see "Alcohol," 1955, p. 17) by this journal's staff. Social Progress was published by the Department of Social Education and Action of the Board of Christian Education of the U.S. Presbyterian Church.
21 Rahr's financial relationship to Haggard's group has been noted previously in the literature. Rubin (1979) mentions, in his fine study of waxing dry disenchantment with the Yale Center and the Summer School from 1940 to 1955, that dry advocate, Ernest Gordon, charged that the beverage industry was influencing the Yale Center via its financial support contributions. According to Rubin's account, Gordon "offered as evidence [see Gordon, 1948, p. 23] a financial contribution from G.R. Rahr....Rahr's gift provided much of the early funding of the Quarterly Journal" (Rubin, 1979, p. 381).
22 A textual Freudian slip perhaps!
23 A more cynical interpretation of Haggard's letter (Letter III), on the other hand, might suggest the theory that Haggard is involved, here, in an effort more tuned to manipulating Lohmann than asking Lohmann's assistance in currying continuing favor from Rahr. By framing Rahr's gift in a psychological interpretation of Rahr's experience at Yale and by asking Lohmann to respond on the University's behalf, Haggard was engaged, the cynical account would suggest, in drawing Lohmann's attention away from the irreducible and unflattering fact that someone linked to the brewing industry was quietly sponsoring his School of alcohol education at Yale.
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