In 1907, at Atlantic City, through the courtesy of Dr. A. B. Cooke, then secretary, the pleasure was afforded me of attending for the first time a session of the American Proctologic Society. Today, a decade later, I am honored by being permitted to preside at its nineteenth annual meeting. Allow me to express my sincere thanks, and be assured of my grateful appreciation.
It is, however, in a most humble spirit that I approach my task, for I recall those who have been my predecessors, and am mindful that the name of each one stands out illustrious in the annals of proctology. Among them were the charter members of this Society: Lewis H. Adler, Jr., William M. Beach, A. Bennett Cooke, Samuel T. Earle, George B. Evans, Samuel G. Gant, Thomas C. Martin, Joseph M. Mathews, J. Rawson Pennington, and the late lamented George J. Cook and James P. Tuttle. These men were the pioneer teachers and practitioners of modern proctology. Through their tireless labors this special field of surgery, which before had been most woefully neglected by the reputable general surgeon, was rescued from the unworthy hands into which it had fallen. Through years of patient and continued effort, with the earnest assistance of all the other fellows of the Society, they secured from the medical profession that recognition of proctology, as a specialty, such as they always deemed it deserved. It is most gratifying to be able to state that with the creation, in 1916, of a Section on Proctology, by the American Medical Association, their efforts have been crowned with success. It may also be said, in passing, that the American College of Surgeons, acting in accordance with the broad and liberal spirit in which it was conceived, has also given recognition to this specialty by conferring fellowships upon a large number of the fellows of this Society.