Journal Mobile

PN Bennett
Journal Issue: 
Volume 42: Issue 2: 2012



Alexander Gordon’s writing reveals nascent ideas about infectious disease, tensions in medical thinking in the time of the Enlightenment, but also a practice of medicinal therapy that resonates with that of the present day. His Treatise on the Epidemic Puerperal Fever contained observations and deductions which provided, for the first time, compelling evidence of the contagious mode of transmission of the infection by medical attendants. He wrote the manuscript of The Practice of Physick sometime between 1786, when he began his practice in Aberdeen and 1795, the year of his abrupt departure from the city. The near complete manuscript remained in the possession of his family (and therefore unavailable to scholars) until 1913 when a descendant gifted it to the library of King’s College at the University of Aberdeen where it appears to have remained largely undisturbed.