Croom and Lackie

Scope and Content

The spine indicates that the notes in this manuscript are taken from the midwifery lectures of Sir John Halliday Croom (1847-1923) and the gynaecology lectures of James Lamond Lackie (1868-1924). There is no attempt to number or date individual lectures. Notes on the topic of midwifery cover ff.1-219 and notes on the topic of gynaecology cover ff.220-336. A great number of printed and hand drawn drawings and diagrams have been inserted throughout to illustrate certain points.

The subjects covered in the midwifery lectures include: causes of death in a pregnant woman, the pelvis, puberty, menstruation, menopause, ovulation, changes in the uterus on impregnation, the lower uterine segment, the decidua, changes in the position of the uterus, characters of a pregnant cervix, diagnosis of pregnancy, foetal signs, diagnosis of pregnancy at the third month, pathology of pregnancy, smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, cholera, phthisis [tuberculosis, pulmonary], gonorrhoea, syphilis, acute pneumonia, chorea, cardiac affections, abortion (spontaneous, accidental, provoked, criminal), ectopic gestation [ectopic pregnancy], retroversion of the gravid uterus [uterine retroversion], diseases of the decidua and ovum, myxoma of the chorion, duration of pregnancy, the foetal head, parturition, hints on the management of normal labour, the secundines, mechanism of labour, abnormal labour (laborious, tedious, precipitate), deformed pelvis, still-birth (hydramnios, sex of child, hydrocephalus), breech cases, face cases, instrumental labours, the forceps [surgical instruments], induction of premature labour, symphysiotomy, embryulcia, malpresentations (breech & transverse), turning, complex labours, placenta praevia, accidental haemorrhage, post-partum haemorrhage, rupture of the uterus, acute inversion, the puerperium, pathology of the puerperium, superinvolution, retention of urine, eclampsia, puerperal blood poisoning, septicaemia, twins, phlegmasia-alba-dolens [thrombophlebitis], and puerperal mania. Accompanying the midwifery notes there are two printed articles by Halliday Croom inserted into the binding entitled On the Clinical Features and Post-Mortem Appearances of a Case of Decidua Malignum and Ectopic Gestation.

The subjects covered in the gynaecology lectures include: cardinal signs and symptoms of diseases of women, vaginal discharges, menstrual irregularity, displacements of the uterus, prolapse, forward displacements (anteversion and anteflexion), backward displacements (retroversion and retroflexion), lateral displacements, upward displacements, tumours [neoplasms] of the ovary, cystic adenoma or cystoma, tumours of the fallopian tubes, tumours of the uterus, hysterectomy, polypi, sarcoma, carcinoma, tumours of the vagina, tumours of the pudenda, inflammations of the pelvis, ovaritis, salpingitis, perimetritis [parametritis], mesometritis, endometritis, vaginitis, vulvitis, cystitis, urethritis, fistula, retention of urine, and pruritus vulvae.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Halliday Croom was born on 15 January 1847 at Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire. As a young boy he moved with his family to Edinburgh and eventually went on to study at the university there, graduating in 1868. After several months abroad pursuing post-graduate study he settled back in Edinburgh in private practice. He immediately began teaching and spent a year as assistant to the chair of medicine, Professor Laycock, before becoming assistant to the chair of midwifery, Professor Alexander Russell Simpson, a post he held until 1877. He subsequently began giving his own lectures in midwifery and gynaecology at the Extra-mural School at Minto House where he lectured for 25 years. His lectures were incredibly popular and in 1905 he succeeded Sir Alexander Russell Simpson to the University's chair of midwifery, which role he held for 16 years.

Croom became assistant gynaecologist to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1883, succeeding to the charge of wards two years later, and in 1901 was appointed consulting gynaecologist there. In 1877 he had been appointed an ordinary physician to the Maternity Hospital before becoming consulting physician in 1899. He returned to the staff of the hospital in 1905 following his appointment as professor of midwifery and served for a further 16 years. He was the originator of clinical teaching in the Maternity Hospital. He also ran a private general and gynaecological practice but soon had to give up the general practice owing to the huge demand for his gynaecological services.

Croom published a great deal during his career, including several books and in excess of 100 articles and monographs. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh Obstetrical Society. He also served as president of the British Gynaecological Society and received several honorary doctorates. Croom died on 27 September 1923.

James Lamond Lackie was born in 1868 in Montrose. He studied an arts course at the University of Aberdeen for a short period before heading to the University of Edinburgh at the age of 17 to study medicine. He achieved the degrees of M.B., C.M. in 1889 and was also awarded the James Scott Scholarship in Midwifery and Gynaecology. He acted as house physician to Professor Greenfield during the summer of 1890 and served for a time as an assistant in general practice in Ventnor before returning to Edinburgh to become an assistant to Sir John Halliday Croom. Soon he became tutor in gynaecology at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and several years later lecturer on midwifery and the diseases of women at the School of Medicine of the Royal Colleges.

Lackie graduated with his M.D. in 1894 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1896. He had held a number of appointments, including gynaecologist to Leith Hospital for a time, physician to the Royal Maternity Hospital and to the Simpson Memorial Hospital. He was actively involved in the foundation of the Hospital for Diseases of Women in 1910 where he became senior gynaecologist. Recognition of his expertise in the field saw him appointed as examiner in midwifery and gynaecology to the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Durham, and St Andrews as well as an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Central Midwives Board for Scotland.

Lackie was also involved in a number of professional associations as a member of the Council of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and an active member of the local branch of the British Medical Association in addition to serving as president of both the Congress of British Gynaecologists and the Edinburgh Obstetrical Society. He contributed to medical literature with a number of articles throughout his career. Lackie died in his sleep on 5 January 1924.


'Obituary. Sir John Halliday Croom, M.D., LL.D., F.R.C.P., F.R.C.S.Edin.', British Medical Journal, 1923, 2(3275), pp.633-4. 'Obituary. James Lamond Lackie, M.D., F.R.C.P.E.', British Medical Journal, 1924, 1(3290), pp.133-4.