Housing Biological Abstracts for a Half-Century

  • William Campbell Steere


Like a molting hermit crab that must seek a larger shell because of its genetically programmed tendency to grow larger, Biological Abstracts has been forced from time to time to find successive new homes with more adequate space for its inherently and inescapably expanding activities; but, until nearly ten years ago, all were on or adjacent to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania—and, until 1959, were the property of that institution. If Biological Abstracts had been required to pay rent for its central offices, especially during its leanest years of the mid- and late 1930s, it is doubtful whether it could have survived. This extra expense, small as it seems at today’s inflated prices, could have been the financial straw to break the camel’s back—as it was, even the cost of heating, lighting, and janitorial service seemed at times a heavy financial burden. Very naturally, the minutes of the meetings of the board of trustees of Biological Abstracts through the years abound in earnest and heartfelt expressions of gratitude to the university for its continued and generous hospitality in providing space for operations—and at no cost. These forty years of close association with the university, from late 1925 onward, resulted from no coincidence. The first abode of Biological Abstracts, at its very initiation, was two rooms on the second floor of the zoology building (Schramm, 1925), at the invitation of Prof, C. E. McClung, who at the time was chairman of the Department of Zoology and director of the laboratory, and who, through the years, had played an extremely influential role in the chain of events that led to the establishment of Biological Abstracts in the first place.


Hermit Crab Central Office Indexing Service Biological Abstract Walnut Street 
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Copyright information

© Biosciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Campbell Steere
    • 1
  1. 1.New York Botanical GardenUSA

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