Notes taken in 'Doctor Hunter's anatomical and chirurgical lectures, October, November & Decr 1768.' With the bookplate of William Cartwright, Surgeon, Wellington, New Zealand
Lecture notes taken in the anatomy and chirurgical lectures of William Hunter, 1718-1783, anatomist, delivered in 1768
- For more information, email the repository
- Advice on accessing these materials
- Cite this description
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
These volumes of lecture notes were made in 1768 by a student who attended the anatomical and surgery lectures of the anatomist William Hunter. The volumes contain the bookplate of William Cartwright, surgeon from Wellington [New Zealand].
William Hunter was born in Long Calderwood, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1718 Intended for the church, he attended the University of Glasgow from 1731-1736 where he was exposed to the philosophical teachings of Francis Hutcheson which turned him against the rigid dogmas of Presbyterian theology. An acquaintance with the physician William Cullen (1710-1790) disposed him to the medical profession, and he studied with Cullen for three years. Eager to widen his experience, he went to London in 1741 where he worked as an assistant to William Smellie MD (1697-1763) and then from 1741-1742 with James Douglas, both of whom fostered his interest in obstetrics and gynaecology. Between 1741-1749 he was tutor to William George Douglas.
His career prospered; already by 1743 he had communicated the first of several papers to the Royal Society - On the Structure and Diseases of Articulating Cartilage , and in 1750 he was awarded an MD by the University of Glasgow. In 1749 he was appointed as a surgeon at Middlesex Hospital, England, before transferring for a brief time to the British Lying-in Hospital in 1749 .
From the first he had particularly interested himself in obstetrics and in 1762 was called to attend Queen Charlotte on the birth of her first child. Two years later, he was appointed as Physician Extraordinary to Queen Charlotte and rapidly became the most sought after physician in London.
His research, embodied in his Anatomical Description of the Human Gravid Uterus (1774) and his practical example, including the establishment of specialist training for both physicians and midwives, did much to establish obstetrics as a respectable branch of medicine for the first time, though he took a perverse pleasure in continuing to describe himself as a despised 'man-midwife'. However, he continued to lecture on surgical and anatomical topics also, with great success, being described as'admirably clear in exposition, and very attractive by reason of his stores of apposite anecdotes'.
In private life he was a man of wide learning and artistic sensibilities and devoted many years to assembling a magnificent collection of books and manuscripts, coins, antiquities and works of art; these, with his working collection of anatomical and other specimens, were bequeathed to the University of Glasgow on his death in 1783 .
Source: After Carol Primrose, St Mungo's Bairns: Some notable Glasgow students down the centuries, ( Glasgow: Glasgow University Library , 1990 )
The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received
Conditions Governing Access
Purchase : R & B D McCutcheon, booksellers, Stirling, with support from Local Museums Purchase Fund : June 1980 : ACCN 4365
Other Finding Aids
Item level descriptions are available via the department's online manuscripts catalogue available at http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/manuscripts/ searching by the call number MS Gen 769
Alternative Form Available
No known copies
Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 2 April 2003
No alterations made to date
Conditions Governing Use
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Special Collections
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures
No known publications using this material