Papers and drawings of James Douglas, 1675-1742, physician

Scope and Content

Lecture, other notes, anatomical drawings, and correspondence mainly on medical, anatomical, botanical and zoological topics, 1700-1742

The collection includes medical case records, anatomical, botanical and zoological studies with important material on the Guernsey Lily and a corpus of drawings and engravings of the rhinoceros. The collection is particularly noted for the collection of anatomical drawings drawn by Douglas. There is abundant material on an 18th-century fraud, the case of Mary Toft of Godalming, Surrey, England, who claimed to have given birth to a litter of rabbits. An interest of a completely different kind is reflected in a series of manuscript English, French, Latin and Greek grammars, and in a copious index to the works of Horace.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr James Douglas was born in West Calder, West Lothian, Scotland in 1675 . He graduated MA from the University of Edinburgh in 1694  before moving to London where he worked as an obstetrician and was mentor to William Hunter (1718-1783), anatomist and obstetrician. Douglas was later appointed Physician Extraordinary to Queen Caroline and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He died in 1742 .


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gift : William Hunter : December 1807 : ACCN 2499

Other Finding Aids

Item level descriptions are available via the department's online manuscripts catalogue available at searching by the call number MS Hunter D and MS Douglas. Some material has still to be added to this finding aid.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Archivist's Note

Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 8 March 2002

No alterations made to date

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Head of Special Collections

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History

The papers of James Douglas were acquired by William Hunter and incorporated into his library. Under the terms of William Hunter's will, his library and other collections remained in London for several years after his death - for the use of his nephew, Matthew Baillie (1761-1823) - and finally came to the University in 1807. After Matthew Baillie's death in 1823 other papers were sent to Glasgow by his widow. Some papers known to have existed are now lost. The collection was initially housed in the Hunterian Museum and fully incorporated in Glasgow University Library after 1968.


None expected

Related Material

GB 247 MS Hunter: Papers and manuscripts from the library of William Hunter

GB 247 MS Hunter B: Chinese and other oriental books, manuscripts, and papers of Theophilus Bayer

GB 247 MS Hunter H493-H509: Papers of Helen Brock relating to her research on William Hunter


C Helen Brock, 'Dr James Douglas's papers and drawings in the Hunterian Collection',Glasgow University Library: a handlist (Glasgow, 1994)

C Helen Brock, James Douglas, 1675-1742, F.R.S.: an exhibition of books and manuscripts (Glasgow, 1975)

C Helen Brock, , viii'The rediscovery of James Douglas',The Bibliotheck (1977, pp. 168-176)