Lives of the fellows

Daniel Hack Tuke

b.19 April 1827 d.5 March 1895
MD Heidelberg Hon LLD Glasg MRCS FRCP(1875)

Daniel Tuke was born at York, the great-grandson of William Tuke, founder of the Retreat at York, and the youngest son of Samuel Tuke, a philanthropist and authority on the treatment of mental disorders, by his wife Priscilla, daughter of James Hack of Chichester. He himself, after abandoning a legal career, began to study insanity at the Retreat in 1847. Three years later he entered St. Bartholomew’s Hospital as a student, and in 1852 he qualified. He then undertook the first of many tours abroad to visit foreign asylums. On his return, he started to practise in York, and was made physician to the Retreat and the York Dispensary, and lecturer on mental diseases at the School of Medicine. In 1858 Tuke and Bucknill published their classic Manual of Psychological Medicine, which remained a standard textbook for many years.

Tuke’s career was now interrupted by ill health. He was compelled to live in Falmouth for some fifteen years, and it was not until 1875 that he was able to resume practice as a consultant in London. There his reputation continued to grow, and he was made a governor of Bethlem Royal Hospital, an examiner in psychology at London University, and, in 1881, president of the Medico-Psychological Association. He became joint editor of the Journal of Mental Science in 1880 and lectured on mental diseases at Charing Cross Hospital from 1892 till his death. His greatest achievement was his publication of the Dictionary of Psychological Medicine (1892), which was at once accepted as the most authoritative work of its kind in circulation. Although not himself a clinical teacher, Tuke, as an observer and recorder of the teachings of others, was the supreme authority on lunacy in England, and particularly on the nineteenth century movement in favour of its humane treatment; and, although not himself the originator of many contemporary reforms in the care and after-care of the mentally afflicted, his championship secured their eventual adoption as established routine. He was a man of great personal simplicity in his own habits and domestic regime, and deeply interested in poetry, philosophy and religion.

He married in 1853 Esther Maria Stickney of Ridgmont, Holder-ness, Yorkshire, and had one son, Henry Tuke, R.A.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1895; B.M.J., 1895; D.N.B., lvii, 296]

(Volume IV, page 237)

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