Science Service was established in 1920 through the efforts of E. W. Scripps in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and the National Research Council (NRC). In 1919 Scripps had established the American Society for the Dissemination of Science. Unknown to Scripps, the three major scientific organizations were trying to agree on a format and establish a popular science journal. In 1920 Scripps met with representatives of the AAAS, NAS, and NRC in an attempt to pool resources. Out of that meeting came Science Service, a news service designed to popularize science and to disseminate scientific knowledge.
Edwin E. Slosson (1865 1929), chemist, journalist, and editor of the Independent, was appointed first Editor of Science Service in 1921, a post he held until his death.
Watson Davis (1896 1967) was appointed Managing Editor of Science Service in 1921, and became Editor of the Science News Letter in 1922. After Slosson's death, Davis assumed the duties of Director, 1929-1966.