The American Society of Mammalogists was formally established at an organizational meeting held in the new U.S. National Museum (now the National Museum of Natural History), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., April 3-4, 1919. The meeting had been announced by a one-page circular mailed in February 1919 to several thousand prospective members and by an advertisement in Science magazine. (See Box 62, Folder 1, Box 143, Folders 1 and 2, and Box 144, Folder 2 for minutes and reports of the organizational meeting.) It was an outgrowth of the recommendations of an ad hoc committee established originally by several members of the U.S. Biological Survey, which at the time was housed in the National Museum in Washington, D.C. The organizational committee consisted of Hartley H. T. Jackson, U.S. Biological Survey, chairman; Walter P. Taylor, U.S. Biological Survey, secretary; Glover M. Allen, Boston Society of Natural History; Joseph A. Allen, American Museum of Natural History; Joseph Grinnell, University of California; Ned Hollister, U.S. National Zoological Park; Arthur H. Howell, U. S. Biological Survey; Wilfred H. Osgood, Field Museum of Natural History; Edward A. Preble, U.S. Biological Survey; and Witmer Stone, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Other staff members of the U.S. Biological Survey who contributed to the discussions of the committee included Vernon Bailey, A. K. Fisher, William H. Cheesman, and E. W. Nelson. Sixty persons signed the Register of Attendance at the organizational meeting (see Box 143, Folder 2), but the list of charter members of the society includes approximately 400 names (see Box 62, Folder 2).
The by-laws (see Box 143, Folder 4) and rules of the new society were based on the constitutions and by-laws of the American Ornithologists Union, the American Society of Naturalists, the Wisconsin Natural History Society, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, and the Biological Society of Washington. The Society was incorporated in the District of Columbia on April 29, 1920, and the purpose of the Society is spelled out as "the promotion of the study of mammalogy by the publication of a serial and other publications, by aiding research, and by engaging in such other activities as may be deemed expedient." (See Box 143, Folder 3.) Signatories to the Articles of Incorporation were C. Hart Merriam, E. W. Nelson, Vernon Bailey, Hartley H. T. Jackson, Clarence R. Shoemaker, Charles W. Richmond, and Victor J. Evans. The Society publishes the Journal of Mammalogy quarterly and a number of miscellaneous publications and several series on a less regular basis.