Lectures of Professor Thomas Young (1726-1783)

Scope and Content

The material consists of: lectures on midwifery, 1774-1775; lectures on midwifery, circa 1760-1780; lectures on midwifery, 1763; undated lectures on midwifery.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Young was probably born in 1726. He was apprenticed to the surgeon Alexander Simpson in 1711, and he was admitted to the Surgeons' Guild in 1719. He was awarded a medical degree from St. Andrews University in 1736, and in 1737 he became a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. By the summer of 1751, Young was practicing surgery in Edinburgh. In 1756 he was appointed Professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh University - only the third holder of that Chair, after Robert Smith and Joseph Gibson, the first holder. Young was the first Professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh to actually lecture on the subject of obstetrics. He also had an association with Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary. Professor Thomas Young died 5 February 1783 at the age fifty-seven.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Lectures, 1763, acquired by donation, 1964, Accession no. E64.14.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Hoolihan, Christopher. 'Thomas Young, M.D. (1726?-1783) and obstetrical education at Edinburgh', in Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences. Vol.40. No.3. July 1985. Bethesda, Maryland, USA: Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences Inc., 1985.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: lecture notes, case book and notebook, 1759-1780, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Ref. Young NRA 16015 Coll of Physicians; and, lecture notes, 1770-1781, Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, Ref. MSS 5103-10.