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Papers of Sir William Macewen

Collection Summary

Reference Code

GB 0248 DC 079



Extent and medium of the unit of description

2 metres


Existence and Location of Originals

This material is original.

Name of creator

Macewen | Sir | William | 1848-1924 | professor of surgery, University of Glasgow

Biographical History

Biographical History

Sir William Macewen (1848-1924), laid the basis for modern brain surgery and pioneered bone grafts. He also performed the first pneumonectomy.

Macewen was educated at the University of Glasgow graduating as MB, CM in 1869, and as MD in 1872. He took inspiration from his professor of surgery Joseph Lister (1827-1912 ) and took up a post as assistant surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow in 1875. Two years later he was promoted to full surgeon. Macewen adopted and further developed Lister's antiseptic surgery methodologies, enabling him to undertake pioneering surgical advances. His main research interest was bone growth and in 1879 he performed the first bone graft. This enabled surgical implantation of small missing portions of bones in the limbs. A method for rectifying knock-knee was also developed. Macewen's other research interest was neurosurgery and he operated on tumours, abscesses and trauma. In 1892 Macewen became regius professor of Surgery at the University of Glasgow where he remained until his death.

Macewen became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1895 and was knighted in 1902.

Scope and Content

Scope and Content

The papers of Sir William Macewen consist of:

  • correspondence and papers relating to Sir William Macewen
  • correspondence and papers relating to the Macewen family




Businesses and Organisations

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