Lectures of Professor John Hughes Bennett (1812-1875)

Scope and Content

The collection consists of Bennett's lectures on physiology and pathology etc between 1848 and 1874.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Hughes Bennett was born in London on 31 August 1812. He was educated in Exeter but also spent some time in France. In 1829, he commenced an apprenticeship with a surgeon in Maidstone then, in 1833, entered Edinburgh University where he was an enthusiastic student of anatomy and physiology. Bennett graduated with an M.D. in 1837, then went to study in Paris. There he founded the Parisian Medical Society and became its first President. Study in Germany followed, before a return to Edinburgh in 1841. In November 1841, he began lecturing on histology at Edinburgh University, and in 1842 he competed for the Chair of General Pathology, but failed. He was however elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal College of Physicians, and he also became a physician to the Royal Dispensary and pathologist to the Royal Infirmary. In 1848, Bennett was elected to the Chair of the Institutes of Medicine at Edinburgh University, a post which he held until he retired in 1874. Bennett's publications include: On the anatomy and physiology of the otic ganglion (1836) which was written while he was a student, Treatise on cod-liver oil as a therapeutic agent in certain forms of gout, rheumatism, and scrofula (1841), and Hypertrophy of the spleen and liver (1845) which was the first recorded case of leucocythaemia. He was also editor of the London and Edinburgh Monthly Journal of Medical Science. Professor John Hughes Bennett died in Norwich on 25 September 1875 and was buried in the Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh, on 30 September.

Access Information

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


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

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.

Related Material

The local Indexes show other references to Bennett related material (check the Indexes for more details): a letter of his to Sir Archibald Geikie (1835-1924), 1860, at Gen. 524/3; and, a testimonial, 1854, holograph, at Dc.4.98/6 (14).