Lives of the fellows

John Rose (Sir) Cormack

b.1 March 1815 d.13 May 1882
MD Edin MD Paris(1870) FRCP Edin FRCP(1872) FRS Edin

John Cormack was born at Stow, Midlothian, the son of Rev. John Cormack, minister of the parish. He studied at Edinburgh University, where he won the Harveian prize in 1836 and a gold medal in 1837 for his inaugural thesis on the presence of air in the organs of circulation, a study which established him as an authority on the subject. In 1837 he was senior president of the Edinburgh Royal Medical Society. After a visit to Paris and a tour of Italy and Spain, he began practice as a physician in Edinburgh. He was appointed physician to the Royal Infirmary and in 1841 founded the Edinburgh Monthly Journal of Medical Science, which he edited for the next six years. In 1847 he entered general practice in Putney. He established the London Journal of Medicine and edited the Association Medical Journal (predecessor of the B.M.J.) from 1853 till 1855. He lived in London until, in 1866, ill health compelled him to move to Orleans. Three years later he succeeded to a vacancy among the medical practitioners of Paris and in 1870 took the Paris degree of M.D. During the siege of the city and the rule of the Commune, he rendered signal service both to the English community and to the French wounded, which was recognised by the conferment of a knighthood by the Queen and by his enrolment as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by the French. In his remaining years he rose to be the acknowledged leader of his English colleagues in Paris. He was physician to the Hertford British Hospital, and translated four volumes of Trousseau’s Clinical Lectures for the New Sydenham Society. He left a widow, four daughters and a son.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1882; B.M.J., 1882; Medical Times and Gazette, 1882; D.N.B., xii, 221]

(Volume IV, page 200)

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