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The First Summer School of Alcohol Studies

The Summer School of Alcohol Studies was founded in 1943 as a part of what would become the Center of Alcohol Studies at Yale (later Rutgers). The first director, E. M.  Jellinek, did not intend for the School to exist beyond that first summer and even expected the Center to lose money on the “experiment.”

The curriculum was determined by the faculty of the Section of Alcohol Studies in Yale’s Laboratory of Applied Physiology, which was directed by Howard Haggard with Leon A. Greenberg as the co-director. As the Section of Alcohol Studies expanded to include sociologists, psychologists, economists, and psychiatrists, it evolved into the recognizable ancestor of the present-day Center of Alcohol Studies.

Since the faculty members were part of a small number of researchers who were interested in alcohol at that time, they collaborated extensively with members of the larger community, including Alcoholics Anonymous, alcohol beverage industry representatives, clergy members, authorities in criminal justice and education, medical practitioners, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and more.


The first group photo of the class of 1943 started a tradition of capturing the spirit of the Summer School, where students and faculty engaged in all activities together, including the director, E.M. Jellinek (middle of the bottom row).

This photo of the Class of 1943 shows representatives of the disciplines and organizations that participated in the School.  Though more than 250 individuals applied to attend the first School, only 80 could be accepted due to the size of the facility. 

The 1943 School covered the important topics of the time, including problem drinking and alcoholism, the role of alcohol in society, laws related to alcohol availability, and more, as shown in the program brochure.

Source: Summer School of Alcohol Studies (Gail Gleason Milgram, Professor, Emerita, Former Director of SSAS)

From the Digital Alcohol Studies Archives


Pages of the program brochure listing the instructors at the First Summer School of Alcohol Studies at Yale in 1943