Notes and Laboratory records of Professor William Rutherford (1839-1899), and Notes from Lectures given by Rutherford and taken down by others

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-543
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      19 volumes Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      Gen. 2007/11-12; Gen. 2152D; JA 3617; JA 3621; E2007.32

Scope and Content

The material is composed of: laboratory records of research on biliary secretion, 1875-1876, by William Rutherford and M. Vignal, at Gen. 2007/11-12; notebook of physiological apparatus seen on visits to the Continent, 1870-1880, kept by William Rutherford, at Gen. 2152D; notes made by Rutherford in his copy of Grundriss der physiologie des menschen by L. Hermann, at JA 3617; and, notes, corrections and additions made by Rutherford in his copy of Practical histology published by himself in 1876, at JA 3621.

There are also some volumes of notes of lectures given by Rutherford and taken down by others. These being: lectures on physiology, 1874-1875, at Gen. 1409-1410; lectures on physiology, 1887-1888, at Dk.4.11; lectures on physiology by Charles Cromhall Easterbrook a graduate of 1892, at Gen. 1906-1908; notes of lectures on physiology, 1899, at Dk.5.34-35; lectures on the Institutes of Medicine (physiology), 1882-1883, taken down by William Taylor, at Dk.3.13-16; lecture book used for the preparation of lecture experiments and diagrams on physiology, compiled by Dr. Sutherland Simpson, at Gen. 2007/7; and lectures on physiology at E2007.32.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Rutherford was born at Ancrum Craig, Roxburghshire, on 20 April 1839. He was educated locally before studying at Edinburgh University. He graduated in 1863 with the degree of M.D. He became a House Physician at the Royal Infirmary in the city and also a House Surgeon, and was also an Assistant Demonstrator at Edinburgh's Surgeon's Hall. He learned from the likes of Daniel Rutherford Haldane (1824-1887), James Spence (1812-1822), and Sir John Struthers (1823-1899). Rutherford then went abroad to expand his knowledge of experimental physiology, studying in Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Leipzig, and Paris. He returned to Edinburgh in 1865. In 1869 he was appointed Professor of Physiology at King's College, London, and in 1871 he became Professor of Physiology at the Royal Institution of London. Rutherford then became Professor of Physiology at Edinburgh University in 1874. His publications include Outlines of practical histology (1875), An experimental research on the physiological actions of drugs on the secretion of bile (1880), and A textbook of physiology (1880). Professor William Rutherford died on 21 February 1899.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Lectures, 1874-1875, acquired February 1968, Accession no. E68.5. Notebook of apparatus, 1874-1875, acquired October 1982, Accession no. E82.71. Cromhall notes, purchased June 1972, Accession no. E72.26. Lecture notes, Accession no: E2007.32.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 22. (Supplement). London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1909.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show other references to Rutherford related material (check the Indexes for more details): letter to Professor Geikie about an examination in physiology, 1898, at Da.45.5, f.49; letter from W.G.Adams, 1876, in JA 3621; letter from John Cavafy, 1876, in JA 3621; letter from Septimus Harwood, 1880, in JA 3617; notice of Rutherford in Sir J. S. Flett's account of his student days, 1886-1894, at Dc.116, f.46, 50; and, small portrait photo (c.d.v) at Phot.Ill.90.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: lecture notes, 1885-1886, Royal College of Physicians, Ref. Rutherford NRA 16015 Coll of Physicians; and, lecture notes, 1881-1882, Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Corporate Names