Lives of the fellows

Charles Elam

b.May 1824 d.9 July 1889
MB(1846) MD Lond FRCP(1870)

Charles Elam was born at Birstall near Leeds, the son of a Wesleyan minister, and educated at a school kept by his father and at the Leeds School of Medicine, graduating as M.B. with three gold medals, in 1846. After holding a house appointment at Leeds Infirmary, he began, in 1848, to practise in Sheffield, where he was appointed lecturer on physiology and medicine at the Medical School. He was elected physician to the Sheffield Dispensary in 1854 and to the Infirmary in 1856. In 1868, however, looking for more leisure in which to undertake literary work, he moved to London and established himself in Harley Street as a consulting physician. He was made physician to outpatients at the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, but retired from active hospital practice after two or three years. As a writer, he addressed himself to a popular rather than a scientific public, and was probably best known as a vehement opponent of the Darwinian theory of evolution. In a series of articles in the Contemporary Review, he attacked the teachings of Darwin, Huxley, Spencer and Tyndall and was in turn attacked by them. Elam was essentially a town man, with no interest in country pursuits. He was well above the average as a player of chess and whist and he was an accomplished pianist.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1889; B.M.J., 1889]

(Volume IV, page 180)

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