Tag Archives: James Young Simpson

Hans Christian Andersen, James Young Simpson, and ether frolics

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Hans Christian Andersen in 1869. Odense City Museums via Wikimedia. In May 1847, the widely admired writer of literary fairy tales and stories Hans Christian Andersen (Fig 1) left Copenhagen on a tour of Germany and Holland and arrived in London on June 23. There he […]

Thomas Keith: pioneer photographer and pioneer surgeon

Iain Macintyre Edinburgh, Scotland   Figure 1. Thomas Keith. Artist and date unknown. Etching with Keith’s signature (image reproduced with permission Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh). “His success so far outstripped that of all other operators, that it became a wonder and admiration of surgeons all over the world.”1 So wrote J Marion Sims […]

James Simpson, who made childbirth painless

A large jolly man with broad shoulders, large hands, blue eyes, and a charismatic personality, James Young Simpson was said to have been the most popular man in Edinburgh since the death of Sir Walter Scott.1 Born in 1811 at Bathgate, he was the seventh son of a village baker in a poor family housed in […]

Leaders in the development of Western obstetric practice

Sara Buck   The history of obstetrics contains too many notable figures to simply select six key leaders in its development. However, as Laura Kaplan notes in “Changes in Childbirth in the US,” featured in the current issue, modern obstetrics has been greatly influenced by the invention and modernization of the forceps (Chamberlen and Smellie), […]