THE 1997 meeting of the New England Surgical Society marked the 81st year since the society was founded in 1916. Credit for the initial interest in forming a society of surgeons from the 6 New England states goes to Philemon Truesdale, MD, of Fall River, Mass. He first proposed the idea to Maurice H. Richardson, MD, surgeon-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital, in 1909. Dr Richardson agreed to become the first president but other matters, including Dr Richardson's untimely death, intervened to stall the proposal. It was resurrected in 1915 by Dr Truesdale, in concert with Peer Johnson, MD, of Beverly, Mass. They persuaded Samuel J. Mixter, MD, of Boston, Mass, to give it his support among Boston surgeons and to be the first president.