The first edition of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology was initiated by action of the Society of American Bacteriologists (now called the American Society for Microbiology) by appointment of an Editorial Board consisting of David H. Bergey, Chairman, Francis C. Harrison, Robert S. Breed, Bernard W. Hammer, and Frank M. Huntoon. This Board, under auspices of the Society of American Bacteriologists who, then as now, published the Journal of Bacteriology as a service to science, brought the first edition of the Manual into print in 1923. The Board, with some changes in membership and Dr. David Bergey as Chairman, published a second edition of the Manual in 1925 and a third edition in 1930.
In 1934, during preparation of the fourth edition, Dr. Bergey requested that the Society of American Bacteriologists make available the royalties paid to the Treasurer of the Society from the sale of the earlier editions to defray the expense of preparing the fourth edition for publication. The Society made such provision, but the use of the Society's fiscal machinery proved cumbersome, both to the Society and the Editorial Board. Subsequently, it was agreed by the Society and Dr. Bergey that the Society would transfer to Dr. Bergey all of its rights, title, and interest in the Manual and that Dr. Bergey would, in turn, create an educational trust to which all rights would be transferred.
Dr. Bergey was then the nominal owner of the Manual and he executed a Trust Indenture on January 2, 1936 designating David H. Bergey, Robert S. Breed, and E. G. D. Murray as the initial trustees, and transferring to the Trustees and their successors the ownership of the Manual, its copyrights, and the right to receive the income arising from its publication. The Trust is a nonprofit organization and its income is used solely for the purpose of preparing, editing, and publishing revisions and successive editions of the Manual and any supplementary publications, as well as providing for any research that may be necessary or desirable in such activities.
Since the creation of the Trust, the Trustees have published, successively, the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth editions of the Manual (dated 1934, 1939, 1948, 1957, and 1974, respectively). In 1977 the Trust published an abbreviated version of the eighth edition, called The Shorter Bergey's Manual® of Determinative Bacteriology; this contained the outline classification of the bacteria, the descriptions of all genera and higher taxa, all of the keys and tables for the diagnosis of species, all of the illustrations, and two of the introductory chapters; however, it did not contain the detailed species descriptions, most of the taxonomic comments, the etymology of names, and references to authors.
Other ventures in producing books to assist those engaged in bacteriology and bacterial taxonomy in particular include the Index Bergeyana (1966), a Supplement to Index Bergeyana (1981), and a planned future volume bringing the lists of published names up to date. The Trust is presently publishing the first edition of Bergey's Manual® of Systematic Bacteriology, which has a much broader scope than the previous publications and is intended to act as the amplified source for revision of the determinative Manual.
Through the years the Manual has become a widely used international reference work for bacterial taxonomy. Similarly, the Bergey's Manual® Trust has become international in its composition, in the location of its meetings and in the breadth of its consultations. In addition to its publication activities, the Trust attempts to foster and support various aspects of taxonomic research. One of the ways in which it does this is by recognizing those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to bacterial taxonomy, through its periodic presentation of the Bergey Award, an effort jointly supported by funds from the Trust and Williams & Wilkins (now Lippencott William & Wilkins)(1979-1998) and Springer-Verlag (1999-present).
|David H. Bergey||Stephen P. Lapage|
|David R. Boone||Hans Lautrop|
|Robert S. Breed||John Liston|
|Don J. Brenner||A. G. Lockhead|
|Marvin P. Bryant||James W. Moulder|
|R. E. Buchanan||E. G. D. Murray|
|Richard W. Castenholz||R. G. E. Murray|
|Harold J. Conn||Charles F. Niven, Jr.|
|Samuel T. Cowan||Norbert Pfennig|
|eoffrey Edsall||Frederick A. Rainey|
|George M. Garrity||Arnold W. Raven|
|Norman E. Gibbons||Karl-Heinz Schleifer|
|Michael Goodfellow||Nathan R. Smith|
|Bernard W. Hammer||Peter H. A. Sneath|
|Francis C. Harrison||James T. Staley|
|A. Parker Hitchens||Roger Y. Stanier|
|John G. Holt||Joseph G. Tully|
|Frank M. Huntoon||Jan Ursing|
|Noel R. Krieg||Stanley T. Williams|
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The Bergey Award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to bacterial taxonomy.
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The Bergey Medal is given in recognition of life-long contributions to the field of systematic bacteriology.
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