Papers of John Marshall Cowan and items relating to the Cowan family of Glasgow.

Scope and Content

Family material including family tree, scrapbook of memorabilia and testimonials for Robert Cowan, John B Cowan and John M Cowan, 1839-c.1946; album of photographs showing diseases of the arteries, 1906; books and articles published by John M Cowan and others, including A notebook of Medicine and Diseases of the Heart, 1898-1935; photographs including members of the Cowan family, Fellows of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons since the 17th century, c. 1949.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Cowans were a distinguished medical family with connections with the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons stretching back to Patrick Marshall, surgeon of Kilsyth, (1631-1697). This collection relates mainly to John Marshall Cowan MD DSc LLD (1870-1947), the son of Dr J B Cowan, Regius Professor of Materia Medica, University of Glasgow, and grandson of Robert Cowan, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence, University of Glasgow. After graduating BA from Cambridge University in 1891 and qualifying as Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB, BCh) in 1895, John Marshall Cowan held resident appointments in the Western Infirmary, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the City of Glasgow Fever Hospitals. In 1900 he saw active service in the Boer War as a physician to the Scottish National Red Cross Hospital. In 1902 he took his MD and two years later DSc. On his return to Glasgow he settled in consulting practice and was appointed to the junior staff of the Western Infirmary and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. At the same time he became attached to the University Pathological Department under Sir Robert Muir. In 1906 he was appointed Physician to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and shortly afterwards Professor of Medicine in Anderson's College. In the First World War, he served as a Consulting Physician to the Forces in Egypt and Palestine. In 1925 he was appointed Physician to the King in Scotland. He is chiefly remembered for his work on cardiology. John Marshall Cowan married Maude Hamilton (d. 1936), eldest daughter of George W Hamilton, in 1898. They had three children: Robert (1899-1942), Katherine (b. 1903) and James (1906-1936).

For obituaries of John Marshall Cowan, see the British Medical Journal, 1947 (Volume 2) and the Glasgow Medical Journal, 1947 (Volume 28).


Arranged chronologically within record series.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to some items may be restricted. Please contact the Archivist at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Acquisition Information

Gift from depositor's family.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list available at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Archivist. We will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

Appraisal Information

Appraised in accordance with GB 250's collection policy.

Custodial History

Held with depositor's family.


Not expected.

Location of Originals

This material is original.


No known publications.

Geographical Names