Papers of Douglas Guthrie (1885-1975)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Within the collection of Guthrie Papers, Gen. 1727 contains notes of lectures on clinical surgery in Edinburgh University taken down by Douglas Guthrie, 1903-1904. The material at Gen. 1991, in folders and envelopes, contains newspaper cuttings and offprints of articles relating to Dr. John Leyden; notes, typescripts and articles on antiseptics and Joseph Lister; typescripts of lectures; photographs; correspondence with academics; catalogues of libraries holding early medical books; and, articles, typescripts, notebooks on a range of topics.

Additionally, there is a scrapbook of letters relating to the publication of - and reviews of - A history of medicine published by Nelson in 1945. The scrapbook maintained by Guthrie contains over sixty letters and over twenty-five reviews received or collected by him over 1945 and 1946. The scrapbook and its contents is supported by an essay which describes Guthrie's collection of letters and reviews and which is entitled The value of reviews by David Wright, 2006.

Administrative / Biographical History

Douglas Guthrie was born 8 September 1885. He was the son of the Rev. William Guthrie, Dysart, in Fife, a Free Church minister. Guthrie was educated at Kirkcaldy High School and at the Royal High School, Edinburgh. He studied at Edinburgh University, and at Jena and Paris, and was awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1907. Postgraduate study was carried out in Hamburg, Jena, Berlin and Paris. He was awarded the degree of M.D. in 1909. His specialisation was Otolaryngology. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1913, and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1961. Guthrie spent six years in general practice in Lanark, and during the First World War he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and then as Commandant of a Royal Air Force officer's hospital. In 1919 he became ear and throat surgeon to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, and surgeon to the Ear and Throat Infirmary. From 1920 he was Lecturer on Diseases of Ear, Nose and Throat at the School of Medicine of Royal Colleges, Edinburgh. He was also aural specialist to the Scottish Command. On his retiral from practice in 1945, Guthrie was appointed Lecturer on History of Medicine at Edinburgh University in succession to Dr. John Comrie (1875-1939). He held the post until 1956. Guthrie's publication record included A history of medicine (1945), Lord Lister: His life and doctrine (1949), The Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children, 1860-1960 (1960), Janus in the doorway (1964), and Dr. John Leyden , 1775-1811 (1964). In 1948, Guthrie founded the Scottish Society of History of Medicine. He died in Edinburgh on 8 June 1975.

Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details

Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H52; Another important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.

Related Material

The Index to Manuscripts shows synopses of lectures on the history of medicine delivered in Edinburgh University, 1946-56, see Dc.4.98/4. Also, for a letter of, and letters to Douglas Guthrie, see Dk.7.54/1 and Dk.7.60/12-14.