Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Irritation at publishers: 'twas ever thus

From the inbox, Anonymous sends this irritated letter in Science (1931, 79 (2053)) from Benjamin Harrow of the City College of New York, who doesn't want to pay Beilstein anymore. $60!!!

(Amusingly, $60.55 in 1931 dollars is $958.63 in 2016 dollars, which I suspect is a relative steal.)


  1. There's a lot of history buried in that little rant. 1931 was just a few years after the period of hyperinflation in Germany. That was related to the reparations payments of Germany to the Allies that was crushing the German economy. Both significant contributors to what happened over the next 15 years.

    1. Yes, the hyperinflation was catastrophic: at one point 1 dollar was equivalent to a *trillion* marks. I am sure these kinds of letters probably wouldn't have warmed the hearts of those who supported the national socialists.

  2. Several high-profile members of the academic association DChG were also Jewish: the society’s president, Alfred Wohl; its vice president, Arthur Rosenheim; and the long-time editor of the “Beilstein Handbook,” Bernhard Prager. Within months of Hitler’s ascension, all three “were asked to tender their resignations,” Deichmann notes, as were six Jewish staff members of the “Beilstein Handbook.”

  3. 1931 was two years after the start of the Great Depression. CCNY budgets might have been tightened.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20