The Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society was founded in 1789 in response to the lack of medical teaching offered by both King’s and Marischal Colleges. Its members, including such figures as Sir Alexander Ogston, Professor Matthew Hay, Sir Ashley Mackintosh and Sir James McGrigor, contributed to the development of medical teaching and practice in Aberdeen and beyond in profound ways.
The records of the Society
The collection includes the minutes of the Society dating back to its foundation in 1789, as well as accounts, case books, letter books and lecture notes. Discourses on the important medical subjects of the day and on the treatment of diseases were presented at each meeting and practical lessons were provided on anatomy. The minutes of the Society’s meetings are an invaluable record of the views and opinions held by students beginning their careers in the medical profession, and reveal the methods commonly used to treat the diseases prevalent at the time. Those discourses, considered to be of great merit, were recorded in a set of thesauri maintained by the Society in its early years.
Sir James McGrigor (1771-1858)
The collection also includes the records of Sir James McGrigor (1771-1858) who was instrumental in founding the Society and went on to have a distinguished career as an army surgeon, eventually becoming Chief of the Medical Staff of the Peninsular Army under the command of Wellington. In 1815 he was appointed Director-General of the Army Medical Department, remaining in post until his retirement in 1851. His papers include a collection of case books that document in minute detail the diseases and treatment of the men in his care, as well as a series of journals and letter books recording his experiences during the Peninsular War.
The records are available to search via the University's online archives catalogue. To limit your search to the Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society, select the relevant repository from the available drop down list, see below graphic.
Although the catalogue is available via the University, the papers are held by the Medico-Chirurgical Society. To access the papers and for enquiries regarding the papers, contact:
Dr Hilary Hinton
The Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society