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Whytt, Robert (1714-1766)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 MSS.6858-6880
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Whytt, Robert (1714-1766)
Date(s): 1699-1765
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 23 volumes
Name of creator(s): Whytt | Robert | 1714-1766 | physician and natural philosopher
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, Edinburgh, 1714; graduated MA, St Andrews University, 1730; studied medicine in Edinburgh; studied of anatomy under Monro; moved to London, 1734, studied under Cheselden, visited the wards of the London hospitals; attended the lectures of Winslow in Paris, Boerhaave and Albinus, Leyden; M D, Rheims, 1736; licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 1737; Fellow, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 1738, and commenced practice as a physician; Professor of the Theory of Medicine in Edinburgh University, 1747; Fellow of the Royal Society, 1752; lectured on chemistry, 1756; first physician to the King in Scotland, 1761; President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 1763-1766; died, 1766.

Publications include: An Essay on the vital and other involuntary motions of animals (Edinburgh, 1751); An Essay on the virtues of Lime-Water in the cure of the Stone (Edinburgh, 1752); Physiological Essays (Hamilton, Balfour and Neill, Edinburgh, 1755); Observations on the Nature, Causes, and Cure of those Disorders which have been commonly called Nervous Hypochondriac, or Hysteric, to which are prefixed some remarks on the sympathy of the nerves (T Becket and P du Hondt, London, J Balfour, Edinburgh, 1765); Observations on the dropsy in the brain, by R W (Edinburgh, 1768); The Works of R. W. ... Published by his son [R Whytt] (Edinburgh, 1768).


Scope and content/abstract:

Medical papers and letters of Robert Whytt, Professor at Edinburgh Medical School from 1746. Whytt's association with the University began in the years 1730-1734, as a pupil of Alexander Monro (1697-1767). After qualification and general practice, Whytt joined the faculty, becoming an important figure in its establishment as a leading centre of medical education in Europe. These papers span the period of Whytt's working life from his student training through to the teaching and publications of his mature years. The materials are largely professional, although there are a few family items. Manuscripts include notebooks and lectures compiled by Whytt as both student and teacher: drafts of published and unpublished works; case-notes and prescriptions; correspondence and fragments of letters written to Whytt; and miscellaneous other papers collected by him.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

Described in typescript supplements, by Christopher Hilton and Richard Aspin, to the Library's published finding aids.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

K Moore, 'Some recently acquired papers of Robert Whytt (1714-1766), FRS', Medical History, 1993, 37, 80-86.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Jan 2009

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