The delivering of an address by a retiring chairman, or president, is an ancient, if not an honorable, custom. Coincident with the origin of this custom, however, there arose another custom, well fitted to neutralize, or mitigate, any too baneful effects which the delivering of such an address might have. So it became also customary for the members of a society to remain away, until the address should have been given, or until such time as the real business of the meeting should have been under way. For the convenience of such discriminating members, the address, as you have no doubt noticed, is always placed first on the program. The latter custom originated, no doubt, later than the first, and was the natural reaction of the oppressed listeners to this last opportunity of a retiring president to inflict himself on his audience. Since "brevity," then, "is the soul of wit
CHAMBERLIN WB. THE SECTION ON LARYNGOLOGY, OTOLOGY AND RHINOLOGY OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: A RETROSPECT AND A PROSPECT. JAMA. 1923;81(12):969–971. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650120001001
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