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James Douglas

Born  1675
Died  1742

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Scottish physician and anatomist, born 1675, died April 1, 1742, London.

Biography of James Douglas

James Douglas was the brother of John Douglas (died 1759), a well-known lithotomist. He achieved a great reputation both as a learned and a physician, and as life physician to the Queen of England. He obtained his medical doctorate at Reims and in 1700 returned to London. He became a well known anatomist and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1706, FCP in 1721. He practised midwifery and was life physician to Queen Caroline of England. He did public dissections at his home and died in London.

James Douglas was a friend of William Hunter (1718-1783) whom he met when Hunter came to London in 1740. Douglas at once recognized that Hunter was an acute and talented observer. At the time, Douglas was intent on a great anatomical work on the bones, and made Hunter his assistant. Hunter became a member of the Douglas household, and continued to do so after the death of Douglas in 1742. Douglas left a widow and two children.

We thank K. R. Hunter for information submitted.


  • Myographiae comparatae specimen.
    London 1707; Edinburgh, 1750; Latin, Leyden 1729 and Dublin 1777.
  • Bibliographiae anatomicae specimen, sive catalogus omnium penè auctorum qui ab Hippocrate ad Harveum re anatomicam ex professo, vel obiter, scriptis illustrârunt.
    Londini, G. Sayes, 1715. First attempt at a systematic medical bibliography.
  • Index materiae medicae. London, 1724.
  • History of the lateral operation for extracting the stone etc. London 1726.
    Latin translation, Leyden, 1728; French, Paris, 1734; appendix, London, 1731.
  • A description of the peritoneum, and of that part of the membrana cellularis which lies on its outside. With an account of the true situation of all the abdominal viscera, in respect of these two membranes.
    London, J. Roberts, 1730, 1740. Latin translation by Lorenz Heister (1683-1758), Helmstedt, 1732, and by J. Nelson, Leyden, 1737.

  • Nine anatomical figures, representing the external parts, muscles and bones of the human body.
    Published posthumously by his brother, John Douglas, in 1748.
  • John Douglas (–1759):
    Lithotomia Douglassiana; or, an account of a new method of making the high operation, in order to extract the stone out of the bladder.
    London, T. Woodward, 1720.

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