History

A Short History of the Publishing House S. Karger AG

From 'Turning Medical Progress into Print' to 'Connecting the World of Biomedical Science'

The Company

The company employs more than 200 people at the Basel headquarters and has a worldwide network of branch offices and distribution centers, and the publishing house produces close to 80 scientific journals and about 150 serial and non-serial book titles and supplement or themed journal issues per year, primarily in English.
All journals and most of the books are also available in electronic format, since Karger was among the first to recognize the potential of the new media for publishing.
Ready to tackle the many challenges facing the publishing industry in the next few decades, S. Karger is confident that it will continue to serve the information needs of the scientific community as an independent, family-owned publishing house.
Those interested in a more detailed account of the publishing house's history can read the company's Centenary Festschrift by H.M. Schmeck Karger – Turning Medical Progress into Print: A Mirror of a Century of Medical and Scientific Publishing online as a free Karger ActiveBook.

Samuel Karger

Samuel Karger
The family business was founded in 1890 in Berlin, when Samuel Karger decided to launch a publishing company devoted entirely to medicine and science. Recognizing the medical professionals' need for compact surveys of the state of the art of important fields Samuel Karger created a series of reviews. In 1890 the first manual entitled 'Geburtshülfliches Vademecum für Studirende und Aerzte', a guide to obstetrics, proved an immediate and long lasting success.
 
Samuel Karger was also amongst the first to foresee the demand for specialized journals. The first was founded in 1893: 'Dermatologische Zeitschrift' (now Dermatology). The company soon enjoyed a reputation for high technical production standards and published the works of eminent scientists such as Herman Oppenheim and Sigmund Freud. By 1930, Samuel Karger could list more than 850 titles that had been produced under his direction. At about this time, his son, Heinz Karger, began to co-manage the publishing house, which he took over after his father's death in 1935.
Covers

Heinz Karger

Heinz Karger
In the face of mounting political pressure, Heinz Karger relocated the company to Basel, Switzerland in 1937. Having lost all German authors and editors due to a Nazi interdict, Heinz Karger decided to restructure his journals to meet the information needs of a European market: most journal titles were changed from German to Latin and they now carried reports in either German, English, French, or Italian with summaries in each of the other languages. During the war years, Karger continued to produce books and journals, even though their distribution had become nearly impossible. The publications were stored in the cellar below the offices and mailed out after the end of the war to grateful researchers all over the world. The post-war years saw unprecedented growth in the development of the medical sciences which was paralleled by a rapid increase in Karger's publication program.

Thomas Karger

Thomas Karger
After Heinz Karger's sudden death in 1959, his son Thomas Karger took over the publishing house and continued his father's style of maintaining close personal contacts with his authors and editors worldwide. It was his decision to make English the predominant language for Karger publications, and within ten years most journals had been given English titles. Under his direction, the company expanded internationally and by 1971 he had established distribution centers throughout the world. In 1960, he founded a new company: Karger Libri, an international subscription agency and scientific bookshop. In recognition of his efforts on behalf of medical science, Thomas Karger has been awarded honorary doctor's degrees by the University of Hamburg in 1972 and the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel in 1993.

Steven Karger

Steven Karger
Steven Karger, born in 1959 as the eldest son of Thomas Karger, joined the family business in 1982. After studies in marketing and economics, Steven chose to learn and hone the skills of his trade directly on the job, first as an intern with other publishers, then as his fathers right hand, and later as managing director of the bookshop and agency Karger Libri as well as the German branch of the publishing business. As of July 1999, Steven was responsible for the day-to-day business of all Karger enterprises worldwide. Keenly interested in the new technologies and media, he was a key influence in the electronic/online development of the publishing house.
Sadly, Steven Karger passed away on March 5, 2008 after a long and intense battle against brain cancer. Obituary

Gabriella Karger

Gabriella Karger
In 1992, Steven Karger asked his youngest sister, Gabriella Karger, to support him in relocating the German branch of the publishing house to a new site in Freiburg. After working for nine years there and in various functions at the Basel headquarters, she left to join Swiss National Radio, where she was responsible for marketing its cultural program.
Returning to the family business in October 2007, Gabriella Karger has been responsible for the day-to-day business of all Karger enterprises worldwide since Steven Karger's untimely death.