Dr Francis Adams

13 March 1796 - 26 February 1861
Popular Deeside doctor and classical scholar

Born in  Lumphanan, Francis Adams was educated in the village school and at Kings College, Aberdeen. After graduating MA (1813) at the age of 17, he moved to Edinburgh to study medicine as an extra-mural student. He was admitted to Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons in London (1815).

Frances took up practice in Banchory in 1819 where he remained, a popular family doctor, for 42 years. He was regarded as a good practitioner and skilful surgeon, regularly visiting the surgical wards of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and having an extensive obstetric practice. Despite being offered the Chair of Greek at Aberdeen University, nothing could tempt him to leave the practice.

Adams combind his medical work with that of a classical scholar. He read 'almost every Greek work which has come down to us from antiquity, with the exception of the ecclesiastical writers.' His greatest work, Paulus Aegineta, is a piece of history, a description of the medical knowledge and therapy of the seventh century, handed down from Hippocrates, Galen and the other great Greek masters of medicine. To this he added a learned and interesting commentary in which he quotes from Galen, Pliny, Aetius, Oribasius, Rhazes and many other writers. When Francis had undergone his training, Hippocratic medicine was still being taught in Europe.

His first volume of Paulus was published in 1834. “Genuine Works of Hippocrates” followed in 1836 and “Works of Aretaeus in 1856.” 

He wrote on other literary and classical subjects, contributed to various reviews and wrote numerous articles for medical journals on surgical, obstetrical and medical conditions and one book , “The Construction of the Placenta.”  His translations of Greek medical books were used by medical students until the 1970s.

Academic honours
LL.D. ( Glasgow 1846) for his Paulus
Honorary MD (Aberdeen 1856) for his Aretaeus

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pdf › jroyalcgprac00372-0017

image: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Biography prepared from the nomination made to the University of Aberdeen 525 Alumni project.