Emmett H. Terrell
1922 to 1923
Fellow Members of the American Proctologic Society, and old friends, to one and all I bring greetings.
I call you old friends advisedly, for had I not your friendship and confidence, I would not today be presiding over this distinguished gathering. I think it was Horace Walpole who said: "Old friends are the greatest blessing of one's later years. Half a word conveys one's meaning. They have a memory of the same events, and have the same mode of thinking."
That is particularly true of the friendships that we have formed in this body. It has been thirteen years since I was honored by being made an associate fellow of this Society. I had been permitted to attend some of your meetings previously, as a guest, and hence could appreciate the value of an association with you.
At that time I was just beginning the study of rectal diseases, and, while I did not then comprehend all that was said, yet the sincerity and earnestness of your members made a most favorable and lasting impression upon me. The discussions were always liberal, and at times spirited. Contrary to the custom prevailing in other medical societies, it was noticeable that even the most excellent papers received few bouquets at your hands. On the contrary if a statement was made, which did not ring true in every respect, the author was subjected to severe, and at times, apparently unfriendly criticism. In other words a speaker dared not make a statement which he was not prepared to back up.