Series JH - Papers relating to John Hunter

Identity area

Reference code

GB 406 PP/JH


Papers relating to John Hunter


  • 1765 - 1935 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1 box (manuscript, print, typescript and photocopy)

Context area

Archival history

The papers were given to Benjamin Brodie by James Frederick Palmer, who had edited Hunter’s works in 1835-1837. Brodie, in turn, gave the papers to Charles Hawkins, who published some of the transcripts in The Lancet in 1886-1888, and may have been planning to publish on them further; some of the annotations and additional papers are by him. Further additions were made by George Edwards, honorary archivist at St George’s in the 1960s.

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Scope and content

The collection relates to Hunter’s dispute with St George’s Hospital and the division of pupils’ fees among the surgeons, which Hunter perceived as unfair, arguing he brought in more pupils than the other surgeons. The dispute culminated in a meeting in Oct 1793 at the hospital, during which Hunter suffered a heart attack and died.

In addition to the papers relating to the dispute, there are some additional notes, some collected by Charles Hawkins and some by George Edwards. These include copies of two letters from John Hunter’s pupil James Williams to his sister, describing working with Hunter, dissections and the work of the so-called ‘Resurrection Men’, and describing Hunter’s death. These were acquired apparently from a descendant of Williams by Edwards; the location of the original letters is unknown.


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Archivist's note

Catalogued by Archivist J. Ahvensalmi, May 2023

Accession area