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The Making of a Physician

The Making of a Physician


(p.8) Chapter 1 The Making of a Physician
Pure Intelligence
Melvyn C. Usselman
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the life and education of W. H. Wollaston from his birth in 1766 to his years as a country physician the 1790s. Growing up in a large family steeped in religion and natural philosophy, Wollaston was guided by his father Francis through preliminary schooling at Charterhouse to medical studies and a fellowship at Caius College, Cambridge. Following a program of studies recommended by his uncle William Heberden, Wollaston obtained his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1788, and spent the next five years acquiring valuable medical skills at the teaching hospitals of London. Details are given of his MD degree of 1793 and four years of doctoring in Bury St. Edmunds, together with accounts of his election to the Royal Society in 1793 and the Royal College of Physicians in 1794. Wollaston’s exposure to chemistry and the chemist Smithson Tennant at Cambridge is also described.

Keywords:   William Hyde Wollaston, Francis Wollaston, Charterhouse, Caius College, medical education, teaching hospital, country physician, Smithson Tennant

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