Archibald Pitcairne (1652-1713)

Archibald Pitcairne (1652-1713)

Physician

Archibald Pitcairne was born in Edinburgh on Christmas Day 1652. He was an eminent physician whose reputation did much to enhance that of Edinburgh as a centre of excellence in medicine in the early years of the 18th century. He was a man of great intellect and was in turn mathematician, poet, dramatist, bibliophile and latinist as well as doctor.

Testament of Dr Archibald Pitcairne

(National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/87 pp 821-838)

He amassed an extensive library of some 1500 books - this collection survives intact in St Petersburg - which is the principal item in the inventory of the doctor's 'guids and gear' listed towards the end of his testament. Unfortunately, there is no catalogue of the collection. The inventory goes on to itemise his other possessions and states that much of the furniture in his house did not belong to him. It was owned by his wife, Elizabeth Stevenson, who had inherited it from her late father, Sir Archibald Stevenson.

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