Sir William Macewen, (1848-1924), surgeon

  • Reference
      GB 250 10
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      2.24 Linear Metres

Scope and Content

Correspondence, 1872-1943, including to Prince Albert (later King George VI), the Princess Louise, and Joseph Lister, topics include Macewen’s work as a surgeon during the First World War; Lecture notes, undated; medical and case notes, 1874- 1916; addresses and speeches, 1890-1923; manuscript articles, 1915-c. 1921; miscellaneous MS notes and memorabilia, 1869-1974 including dinner invitations and menus, newspaper cuttings concerning Macewen, material relating to the Board of Trade inquiry into deaths aboard the ship the Crown Prince and reports of the final examinations in Medicine, Surgery and Midwifery at Glasgow University for 1894, 1904 and 1920; miscellaneous photographs, drawings and sketches including some relating to cases he had treated, material relating to his books Atlas of Head Sections and The Growth and Shedding of the Antlers of a Deer amongst others; offprints of articles by Macewen, 1875-1923; miscellaneous volumes, 1872-1955, including William Macewen's private journals which include case notes, his medical scrapbook, visitors’ book for his wards at Glasgow Royal Infirmary which includes material relating to the Club of Provincial Surgeons and the British Medical Association and case notes relating to patients in the Sick Children’s Hospital, Glasgow; Miscellaneous diplomas and honours, 1871-1923, including those from the American Orthopaedic Society, Edinburgh Medico-Chirurgical Society, the Royal Society of Medicine, Budapest, the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Royal Society of Medicine and appointment on temporary commission as Surgeon General in His Majesty’s Fleet; lantern slides relating to Lane Lecture, 1896 and Erskine Hospital, c.1920.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir William Macewen was born at Rothesay in 1848. He graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1869 and gained the degree of M.D. in 1872. In 1875 he was appointed assistant surgeon to the Royal Infirmary at Glasgow, becoming a full Surgeon in 1877. On his appointment to the Infirmary he devoted himself to surgery and it was during this time that he made important advances in both brain and bone surgery. In 1881 he was appointed lecturer on Systematic Surgery at the Royal Infirmary School of Medicine where he stayed for eight years, and at the amalgamation of this school with St Mungo’s College he was appointed Professor of Clinical Surgery. In 1883 he was appointed as Surgeon to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow. In 1892 he became Regius Professor of Surgery at the University of Glasgow, transferring his surgical activities from the Royal to the Western Infirmary. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1874 and an Honorary Fellow in 1913. He was elected President of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Glasgow in 1889 and in 1890 he was awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL D) by Glasgow University. He was knighted in 1902.

His original works include studies on the growth and transplantation of bone; he performed the first excision of a lung; and undertook pioneer explorations of the brain for abscesses and tumours.

For obituaries of William Macewen, see British Medical Journal, 1924 (Volumes 1 and 2) and the Glasgow Medical Journal, 1924 (Volume 101).

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Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list available at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. See also NRAS Survey 1909.

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