ILAE History: Preface

The journal Epilepsia first appeared in 1909 under the patronage of a number of distinguished early epileptologists, including John Hughlings Jackson, whose work in the mid to late 19th century contributed greatly to the birth of modern epileptology. Epilepsy was already a burgeoning area of clinical and research activity at the turn of the century, particularly in Europe and North America, and in September of 1909, the International League Against Epilepsy was formed at a meeting in Budapest, Hungary, with membership derived from eight European countries, the United States, and Algeria. This history traces the roots of the League, and its journal Epilepsia, and chronicles its development up until the present. Despite interruptions during two world wars, our predecessors have carried out an effective campaign on behalf of those with epilepsy through meetings, publications, and other good works. Advancement of knowledge, encouragement of research, promotion of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and advocacy were always the primary objectives. Concern for involvement of the layperson occurred early in the development of the League, and evolved into the creation of its sister organization, the International Bureau for Epilepsy. The partnership between these two bodies is characterized by a closeness and productivity that may be unique among international health-oriented organizations.

The League owes its archivist, Professor Harry Meinardi, a debt of gratitude for searching out old records, some of which are still missing, and piecing them together to create this valuable document. We ride on the shoulders of those who went before us, and it is important for us to know who they were. We also are only able to understand where we are and where we are going through the knowledge of where we have been. Consequently, this history is most welcome reading for all of us involved in ILAE, and also IBE.

Los Angeles, July 1999

Jerome Engel, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
President, ILAE