Following in Merck's Footsteps: Classic Scientific Books

Last December, the Merck Index celebrated its 100th birthday. The 2,350 pages of the latest edition, the 11th - with 10,000 entries, 8,000 structures, 62,000 synonyms, and 129 pages of charts and tables - seem a far cry from the original 170 pages published in 1889. The first edition, named for the German company (originally a pharmacy) founded in 1668, was written for the physician, chemist, and pharmacist, listing "whatever chemical products are to-day adjudged as being useful in either medi

Ricki Lewis
Mar 18, 1990

Last December, the Merck Index celebrated its 100th birthday. The 2,350 pages of the latest edition, the 11th - with 10,000 entries, 8,000 structures, 62,000 synonyms, and 129 pages of charts and

tables - seem a far cry from the original 170 pages published in 1889. The first edition, named for the German company (originally a pharmacy) founded in 1668, was written for the physician, chemist, and pharmacist, listing "whatever chemical products are to-day adjudged as being useful in either medicine or technology."

The major selling point of the index - a wealth of information provided conveniently in one volume - hasn't changed. But the new Merck Index (S. Budavari et al., eds., Rahway, N.J., Merck & Co., 1989) serves a far broader audience than did the first edition, reflecting the overlap of biology, chemistry, and medicine, as well as interest from others, such as journalists, investors, and patent attorneys....

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