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Abernethy, John: Autograph letter to Mr Mortimer

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0214
Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England
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Full title: Abernethy, John: Autograph letter to Mr Mortimer
Date(s): 1823
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 letter
Name of creator(s): Abernethy | John | 1764-1831 | surgeon


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Abernethy was born in Coleman Street, London, in 1764. He was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar school, and at the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Charles Blicke, surgeon to St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. Abernethy remained at Bart's for the rest of his career, being appointed assistant surgeon in 1787, and promted to full surgeon in 1815. During the 1790s Abernethy published several papers on a variety of anatomical topics. On the strength of these contributions he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1796. Between 1814 and 1817 he served as Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons. Abernethy also offered private lectures in anatomy in a house in Bartholomew Close, near to the hospital. The governors of Bart's then built a lecture theatre within the hospital to accommodate his classes. In 1824 Thomas Wakley, editor of the newly established journal The Lancet, published Abernethy's lectures without his permission. Abernethy sought an injunction but was unsuccessful, and remained resentful about the incident. Abernethy had himself attended the lectures of John Hunter, with whom he was also personally acquainted, and after Hunter's death he professed himself to be the spokesman for Hunter's physiological and pathological views. He died in 1831.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Abernethy, 1823, comprising an autograph letter from John Abernethy of Bedford Row, to Mr Mortimer of Mr W H Partridge's, 13 New Hall Street, Birmingham, 2 Jan 1823. Advising Mr Mortimer on the best way to study anatomy and diseases, and also suggesting the study of languages.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

By written appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No photocopying permitted.

Finding aids:

Additional manuscripts catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated by Esmee Willett in 1952, after it was found among the possessions of her late husband.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Abernethy (MS0210); Notes of lectures by Abernethy by Peter Mere Latham (MS0211); William Cooke's notes of lectures by Abernethy and others (MS0212); Notes of Abernethy's lectures by Jacob Vale Asbury (MS0213); Autograph Letter from John Abernethy to Mr Reece (MS0215); Autograph Letters from John Abernethy to the Royal College of Surgeons (MS0216); Admittance card for Anthony Holbrow to the lectures of John Abernethy; Notes on Surgical Lectures of Sir Everard Home and John Abernethy (MS0218); W Downes notes of John Abernethy's lectures on surgery (MS0053); Prosser-Harvey Collection containing notes of Abernethy's lectures (MS0081).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

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:
Sep 2008

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