Notes of lectures by William Hunter on anatomy, delivered in 1752. Probably transcriptions from shorthand notes taken by Charles White of Manchester, 1752
Lecture notes taken in the anatomy lectures of William Hunter, 1718-1783, anatomist, delivered in 1752
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
These volumes of lecture notes were made in 1752 by an anonymous student who attended the anatomical lectures of the anatomist William Hunter.
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 : August 1974 : ACCN 4277
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 720 and MS Gen 721
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
Facsimiles of these lecture notes were published in Hunter's lectures of anatomy ( Amsterdam, Elsevier , 1972 )