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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c25

William Heberden papers, 1790-1837 (inclusive)

The William Heberden papers, 1790-1837 (inclusive), consist of Heberden's reports on the health of King George III of Great Britain to the Committee Appointed to Examine the Physicians who have Attended His Majesty during His Illness, and reports generated by that committee; manuscripts and article drafts by Heberden on management of the sick, classification of skin diseases, nervous disorders, the weather, and education; and a thesis on medical history and dropsy.

Dates

  • 1790-1837 (inclusive)

Creator

Language of Materials

Papers are in English and French.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to Public Services. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from Public Services are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

Extent

0.25 cubic feet (1 flat document box)

The William Heberden papers, 1790-1837 (inclusive), consist of his reports on the health of King George III of Great Britain to the Committee Appointed to Examine the Physicians who have Attended His Majesty during His Illness, and reports generated by that committee; manuscripts and article drafts by Heberden on management of the sick, classification of skin diseases, nervous disorders, the weather, and education; and a thesis on medical history and dropsy.

As one of George III's physicians, Heberden was tasked with observing and writing reports about the king's condition, and responding to the committee appointed by Parliament to review the state of his mental health and the work of the physicians who were attending him. The collection includes copies of these examinations of Heberden and other physicians attending the king, including Henry Halford and Matthew Baillie, and Heberden's recommendations regarding treatment.

There are also Heberden's writings on assorted topics, including remarks on skin diseases and contagion, the history of medicine, and therapeutic approaches; his essay on weather was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1825.

Papers are in English and French.

Biographical Note

William Heberden (1767-1845), M.D., 1795, St. John's College, Oxford, was a London physician. For most of his life he was physician in attendance to the king and queen of England, and he was chief consultant to George III in his last illness.

William Heberden was born in London on March 23, 1767, to Mary Wollaston and William Heberden (1710-1801), also a physician. He was educated at Charterhouse and St. John's College at the University of Oxford, where earned his B.A. in 1788 and M.D. in 1795. He also studied medicine in London at St. George's Hospital and was a physician there from 1793 to 1803.

Heberden was one of the physicians attending George III in 1811-1812, and he reported his observations on the king's mental illness and treatment to the British Parliament's Committee Appointed to Examine the Physicians who have attended His Majesty during His Illness. He retired from active public practice in 1812 after the death of his wife, which left him widowed with nine children.

He was a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (1796) and belonged to the Royal Society. Heberden's published works include Observations on the increase and decrease of different diseases, particularly of the plague (1801), An epitome of the diseases incident to children (1807), and On education. A dialogue after the manner of Cicero's Philosophical Disquisitions (1818).

Heberden died in London on February 19, 1845.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Immediate source of acquisition is unknown.

Related Collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

Processing Information

Processed by Brooke McManus, 2018 April.

Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access.
Link to catalog
Title
Heberden, William, 1767-1845. Papers, 1790-1837 (inclusive): Finding Aid.
Author
Brooke McManus
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Sponsor
Preservation and description of the William Heberden papers was supported by the Colonial North America at Harvard Library Project.
EAD ID
med00525

Repository Details

Part of the Countway Library of Medicine Repository

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