THE Royal Society of Medicine elects its president annually, and he may be re-elected for a second year. The practice has been to offer the presidency in turn to a physician, a surgeon and a specialist. This year it has been the turn of the specialist, and Sir Henry Dale, the distinguished former director of the National Institute for Medical Research, and president during 1940-45 of the Royal Society, has been elected ; this is the first time that a man whose chief claim to distinction has been in the field of pure science has been elected. The Royal Society of Medicine, like so many learned bodies, originated from meetings of a group of young men in London eager to discuss their work. It was founded in 1805, and its chief purpose has always been “the cultivation and promotion of physic and surgery, and all the branches of science connected with them”. It received a Royal Charter in 1834. During its first century, the Society was mainly active in London, but in 1907 a number of medical societies joined forces with the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society of London, as it was then called, to form the present well-established body, and a Supplemental Charter was given it. The Society now has some 9,000 fellows, of whom more than 1,200 are overseas ; all nationalities are represented. The Society functions through twenty-four specialized sections, which hold some two hundred meetings between them every year. Members of the Society are justly proud of its library, which has a record of great activity. Apart from the provision of books, it has been able, through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, to give substantial assistance in the restoration of medical libraries which had suffered through the War, by providing microfilm copies of journals now out of print.