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Royal College of Surgeons of England

Woolhouse, John Thomas (1666-1734)


Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0076

Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England

Title: Woolhouse, John Thomas (1666-1734)

Date(s): Early 18th century

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 2 volumes

Name of creator(s): Woolhouse | John Thomas | 1666-1734 | oculist


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Thomas Woolhouse was born in Halstead, Essex, in 1666. Son of Thomas Woolhouse, royal oculist and of the third generation, according to Woolhouse, to have followed that profession. He was educated at Westminster School and matriculated in 1684 at Trinity College, Cambridge, on a scholarship. He graduated in 1686/7 and then travelled throughout Europe to familiarise himself with the various methods of treating diseases of the eye. He started a practice in London, and served for a time as Groom of the Chamber to King James II. He was working in Paris from before 1700 to about 1730. He served as surgeon to the Hospice des Quinze-Vingts in 1711. He originated the operation of iridectomy to restore sight in cases of occluded pupil, and he was the first to describe the complete and systematic extirpation of the lachrymeal sac when the duct was blocked. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Surgeons of England, in 1721, being at that time oculist to the French King. He was also a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin and of the Institute of Sciences of Bologna. He died in 1734.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Thomas Woolhouse, early 18th century, comprising two manuscript volumes written in French and Latin, probably containing transcripts of lectures given by Woolhouse. The title on the spine reads Traite des Malad. de l'Oeil.


Language/scripts of material: French and Latin

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

By written appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No photocopying permitted.

Finding aids:

Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (1928) by Victor G Plarr.



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:



Related material:

There are letters by Woolhouse at the Royal Society, in the British Library Manuscript Collections, and in the Huntingdon Library, California.


Archivist's note: Compiled by Anya Turner.
Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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: Aug 2008

Eye | Anatomy | Biology
Eye diseases | Diseases | Pathology
Eye infections | Diseases | Pathology
Eye injuries | Diseases | Pathology
Eye surgery | Surgery | Medical sciences
Eyesight | Sensory systems | Nervous systems | Anatomy | Biology
Lectures (teaching method) | Teaching methods
Ophthalmology | Medical sciences

Personal names
Woolhouse | John Thomas | 1666-1734 | oculist

Corporate names

France | Western Europe | Europe