Professor Hamilton's manuscript lectures dated over the period 5 January to 29 January 1802 are contained within a bound notebook at MS 2684. The lectures cover diseases of pregnancy, nurses, abortions, and extra-uterine conception. There are also notes of Hamilton's lectures on midwifery taken down in shorthand, Dc.3.74.
Lectures of Professor James Hamilton (1767-1839)
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Administrative / Biographical History
James Hamilton was born in Edinburgh in 1767. He was one of two sons of Alexander Hamilton (1739-1802), Professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh University. James Hamilton was given medical training by his father and became his assistant at the age of twenty-one. He and his father founded Edinburgh's Lying-in Hospital in Park Place in 1793, and later on this enterprise would become supported partly from his own funds. In 1800, Hamilton succeeded his father as Professor of Midwifery at the University. Their subject however had been slow to be accepted by the Senate as part of the medical curriculum and in 1815 Hamilton raised the matter of recognition for midwifery. He faced hostility however, particularly from Dr. James Gregory (1753-1821), and recognition would not be achieved until 1830.
Although his classes were, for a long time, non-essential for graduation, they were well attended, and Hamilton's contribution to midwifery included advocacy of uterine suture after Caesarian operations and the introduction of the term 'eclampsia' for convulsions in labour or peurperium.
Hamilton's publications included A collection of engravings designed to facilitate the study of midwifery (1796), Hints for the treatment of the principal diseases of infancy and childhood (1809), and Practical observations on various subjects relating to midwifery (1836-1837).
Professor James Hamilton died in November 1839.
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Notes written by Thomas Barnes were presented by Dr. Henry Barnes, 1910. Lectures written by Adam Black were purchased from P.M. Pollock in June 1987 with Accession no. E.87.69.
The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.8. Glover-Harriott. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908. (2) Burnett, John H. (et al.). The university portraits. 2nd series. pp.108-109. (3) Material in Catalogue 42. P. M. Pollack. History of Medicine and Science. 1987.
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.