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Royal College of Physicians

GEE, Samuel Jones (1839-1911)


Reference code(s): GB 0113 MS-GEES

Held at: Royal College of Physicians

Title: GEE, Samuel Jones (1839-1911)

Date(s): 1860-1904

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 9 volumes; 1 file

Name of creator(s): Gee | Samuel Jones | 1860-1904 | physician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Samuel Jones Gee was born on 13 September 1839 in London, son of William Gee, a businessman. He was educated at Enfield for two years from 1847, and at home, under the tutelage of his father, before being sent to University College School in London, 1852-54. He then studied medicine at University College London, graduating MB in 1861, and MD in 1865.

Gee was appointed as a house surgeon both at University College Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1865. He became assistant physician at the latter in 1866. In 1868 he received the same appointment at St Bartholomew's Hospital, due to the influence of Sir Thomas Smith, surgeon at St Bartholomew's, to whom he had become known at Great Ormond Street. Ten years later he was elected physician there, and then in 1904 consulting physician. In the medical school at St Bartholomew's he was a demonstrator of morbid anatomy, 1870-74, lecturer on pathological anatomy, 1872-78, and lecturer on medicine, 1878-93. He also became physician at Great Ormond Street, 1875-94, where he became a leading authority on childhood diseases and was the first to identify coeliac disease.

Gee wrote many papers on medical subjects, `nearly all of which have permanent value' (DNB, 2nd supplement, vol. II, 1912, p.92). His early papers, on chicken pox, scarlet fever, and tubercular meningitis, appeared in Sir John Russell Reynolds' System of Medicine (Volumes I and II, 1866; 1868). 46 other papers appeared in the Saint Bartholomew's Hospital Reports. In 1870 his work, Auscultation and Percussion, Together with Other Methods of Physical Examination of the Chest (1870) was published, and was recognised as `a minor classic in its day' (Munk's Roll, vol. IV, 1955, p.183). Of almost equal recognition was the collection of his Medical Lectures and Aphorisms (1902), by Dr T.J. Horder, formerly his house physician. The aphorisms represented well the form of Gee's teaching at the bedside. In his writings it was his description of the child's head in hydrocephalus as distinct from the enlarged skull of rickets, and his observations on enlarged spleen in children, which `may most justly be considered as scientific discoveries' (DNB, 2nd supplement, vol. II, 1912, p.92).

He was elected Resident Fellow of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society in 1866. This was despite his reluctance to join any clubs; indeed his voice was seldom heard at the medical societies of the day. In 1879 however he became a member of the scientific committee appointed to investigate 'membranous croup' and diphtheria. He was deeply knowledgeable about the history of medicine and so became the Society's librarian from 1887-99. Gee was also prominent in the affairs of the Royal College of Physicians, he was elected Fellow in 1870. In 1871 he delivered the Goulstonian Lectures, in 1892 the Bradshaw Lecture, and the Lumleian Lectures in 1899. He was a Censor of the College, 1893-94, and was Senior Censor in 1897.

Gee built up a large practice in London, first at 54 Harley Street, and then at 31 Upper Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, and was consulted in all branches of medicine. He was appointed physician to George, Prince of Wales, in 1901. It is said that his observation was `acute and systematic' and that the treatment he prescribed was `always judicious' (ibid). He also continued to work as consulting physician at St Bartholomew's, from his appointment in 1904, until his death.

Gee married Sarah Cooper in 1875. They had two daughters, one of his daughters died in 1893, and his wife died in 1904. Gee died suddenly of a heart attack at Keswick, whilst on holiday with his surviving daughter, on 3 August 1911. His body was returned to London, he was cremated and his ashes were placed in the Columbarium at Kensal Green.

Papers on chicken pox, scarlet fever, and tubercular meningitis, System of Medicine, Sir John Russell Reynolds (vol. I & II, 1866; 1868)
Auscultation and Percussion, Together with Other Methods of Physical Examination of the Chest (London, 1870)
`On the Coeliac Affection', `Rheumatic Fever without Arthritis', in St Bartholomew's Hospital Report, vol. 24, 1888, pp.17-20, pp.21-23 (in total, 46 papers appeared in the journal)
`Sects in Medicine' (tract) (London, 1889)
Medical Lectures and Aphorisms (London, 1902)


Scope and content/abstract:

Gee's papers, 1860-1904, including eight medical notebooks with an index, 1860-90; Lists of clinical clerks at St Bartholomew's Hospital in two notebooks, 1879-1887, 1887-1904; and a Manuscript of 'Caelius Aurelianus, Swift Passion Books I-III', translated by Gee, n.d., c.1872.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

All requests should be referred to the Archivist

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Provenance of the Collection is unknown


Related material:

There is material relating to Gee in the College's own records, including a letter addressed to Gee, as a Censor of the College, on the subject of Electro-Homeopathy, 1894 (MS2412/198). Material relating to the Samuel Gee Lectures can also be found amongst the College's records (MS2355/1-6).

Publication note:


Archivist's note: Sources: Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians of London, 1826-1925, compiled by G.H. Brown (London, 1955) [Munk's Roll, vol. IV, pp.183-84]; Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, vol. II, Sir Sidney Lee (ed.) (London, 1912) [DNB, 2nd supplement, vol. II, pp.91-92]; `The Life of Samuel Jones Gee, M.D., F.R.C.P. (1839-1911)', Oliver Garrod, from Saint Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, vol. LXXI (London, 1938)
Compiled by Katharine Williams

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2003

Physicians | Medical personnel | Medical profession | Medical sciences

Personal names
Gee | Samuel Jones | 1839-1911 | physician

Corporate names
St Bartholomew's Hospital