- A dictionary of medical eponyms

John James Pringle

Born  1855
Died  1922

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British dermatologist, born 1855, Borgue, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland; died December 18, 1922, Christ Church, New Zealand.

Biography of John James Pringle

John James Pringle went to school at Merchiston Castle and graduated in medicine from Edinburgh University in 1876. After working for a brief period of time as a resident Physician at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, he went abroad to study dermatology and language. He visited Dublin, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, studying dermatology in Vienna under Ferdinand von Hebra (1816-1880) and Moriz Kaposi (1837-1902), and in Paris under Jean Baptiste Emile Vidal (1825-1893) and Jean Alfred Fournier (1832-1914).

On his return in 1882 he worked in London as a clinical assistant at Moorfields Eye Hospital and as Physician at the Royal Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. In 1883 he became medical registrar at the Middlesex Hospital, London, where he subsequently worked as a dermatologist from 1888 to 1920. He was first Assistant Physician to Robert Liveing, who was then in charge of the Skin Clinics, and also held a lectureship in medicine.

During World War I, Pringle directed the skin and venereal disease clinic of the No. 3 London General Hospital at Wandsworth.

John James Pringle was described as a flamboyant bon vivant who loved French culture and French language, but also as a generous and caring person – with a great sense of humour. During the last two decades of his life he suffered from recurrent episodes of tuberculosis, of which he died in Christchurch, New Zealand, while on a voyage intended to restore lost health.

He was prominent in London Dermatology, and edited the British Journal of Dermatology and Syphilis. Not a very prolific writer, Pringle contributed to Fowler’s Dictionary of Practical Medicine (1890), Quain’s Dictionary of Medicine (1901), and Allbutt’s System of Medicine (1911). In 1896, Jonathan Hutchinson, selected him to be the Secretary for the Third International Congress of Dermatology. A list of his writings is in: British Journal of Dermatology, Oxford, 1923, 35: 42.

He was a relative of Sir John Pringle (1707-1782), who wrote a book about diseases of the army in 1752.


  • Alan Lyell:
    John James Pringle (1855-1922).
    American Journal of Dermatopathology, 1985, 7 (5), 441-445.

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