The Memphis Medical Society began with the founding of the Shelby County Medical Society in 1876. In April of that year, a committee composed of Drs. D.D. Saunders, F.L. Sim, W.D. Tucker, G.K. Duncan and R.H. Taylor were appointed to formulate a constitution and bylaws for the government of the Shelby County Medical Society. The Society’s objective, as stated in its constitution, “Shall be the advancement of medical knowledge, the elevation of professional character, the protection of the professional interests of its members and the promotion of all measures adapted to the relief of suffering, the improvement of health and the protection of the lives of the community.”
In its many years of existence, the name of the Society has changed three times. It started and continued as the Shelby County Medical Society until June 1887. The name then was changed to the Memphis Medical Society, because the members didn’t feel that “Shelby County” identified the “habitat” of the Society to those in distant places. The title, Memphis Medical Society, would probably have continued to this day, had not the new constitution of the TMA changed the method of representation of their constituent societies – only county societies were qualified to send delegates to the TMA meetings. Thus, in 1902, the name was changed to the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society. The name returned to The Memphis Medical Society in July 2002 because the name appropriately represents the area and, unlike in 1902, the name of the Society has no bearing on the number of delegates allowed at TMA meetings.