History of The Boston Surgical Society

The "Surgical Review Club" at the Massachusetts General Hospital was the precursor of today's Boston Surgical Society. The members of the Club were senior members of the MGH staff who gathered for professional and social interchange for a number of years beginning around the turn of the century. They kept no minutes and had no stated purpose or by-laws. Surgeons from other Boston hospitals were not invited to join. A group of rebuffed younger surgeons in the Boston community were inspired in 1911 to form their own surgical club. Several names for the new organization were suggested including the Burrell Society to honor Dr. Herbert Burrell who had chartered a relief ship, the Bay State, to transport sick and wounded Massachusetts soldiers and sailors from Cuba at the conclusion of the Spanish-American war. Another name was Fenway Surgical Club. They finally chose the name Boston Surgical Society at a meeting of January 18, 1912

In the meantime the older Surgical Review Club wanted a city-wide society similar to those in New York , Philadelphia and Chicago . A formal appeal was made to the younger surgical society to release the title "Boston Surgical Society" to the Surgical Review Club. After months of negotiating, correspondence and personal interviews, an agreement was reached in 1914. The two clubs joined as the Boston Surgical Society, Inc. The "Inc." was added to distinguish it from the older society. One disgruntled member of the younger group complained, "so far as our Society goes, I feel we will be making a backward step in relinquishing our name to any body of men, however aged or famous." The younger group continued, renamed the Chirurgical Society of Boston, until a final meeting recorded in March 1920.

Boston Surgical Society 75 Francis St, Boston, Ma 02115 email: kboyer1@partners.org