Doctors Monro: A Medical Saga

Lester S. King, MD
JAMA. 1964;190(3):254. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070160078032.
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Foremost, perhaps, among the world's medical families are the doctors Monro of Edinburgh. Best known are the Alexander Munros who, primus, secundus, and tertius, occupied between them the chair of anatomy at Edinburgh for 126 years. This branch of the family contained eight generations of physicians, all descended from Sir Alexander Monro of Bearcrofts, who died in 1704. Dr. Wright-St. Clair, a New Zealander, has performed a splendid service in depicting the family. He has paid special attention to five generations of physicians, from John (1670-1740) through the three Alexanders (1697-1859) to David (1813-1877). The latter, son of tertius, secured his MD at Edinburgh in 1835 but soon emigrated to New Zealand, where he became prominent in political life.

The text rests firmly on examination of original sources, largely manuscripts, including diaries, letters and journals, student notes, minutes of the Royal Colleges in Edinburgh, the Edinburgh City Council minutes and


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