Andrew Duncan, the younger

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Andrew Duncan, the younger
Born 1773
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 1832
Nationality British

Andrew Duncan, the younger (1773–1832) was a Scottish physician and professor at Edinburgh University.[1]


He was the son of Andrew Duncan, the elder, born at Edinburgh on 10 August 1773.[1] He was apprenticed (1787–92) to Alexander and George Wood, surgeons of Edinburgh. He graduated M.A. at Edinburgh in 1793, and M.D. 1794.

Duncan studied in London in 1794–5 at the Windmill Street School, under Matthew Baillie, William Cumberland Cruikshank, and James Wilson. He then made two long visits to the continent, studying medical practice in Göttingen, Vienna, Pisa, and Naples, and meeting Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Johann Peter Frank, Antonio Scarpa, and Lazzaro Spallanzani. Returning to Edinburgh, he became a fellow of the College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and physician to the Royal Public Dispensary, assisting his father also in editing the Annals of Medicine. He later became physician to the Fever Hospital at Queensberry House.[1]

In 1807, a professorship of medical jurisprudence and medical police was created at Edinburgh, with Duncan as first professor, with an endowment of £100 per annum; but attendance at lectures in this subject was not made compulsory.[1]

From 1809 to 1822, he acted as secretary of senatus and librarian to the university; while from 1816 until his death he was an active member of the college commission for rebuilding the university, including the Adam-Playfair buildings. In 1819 he resigned his professorship of medical jurisprudence on being appointed joint professor with his father of the institutes of medicine. In 1821 he was elected without opposition professor of materia medica.

In 1827, Duncan had a severe attack of fever, and his strength afterwards gradually declined. He lectured until nearly the end of the session 1831–2, and died on 13 May 1832, in his fifty-eighth year.[1]


Duncan in 1803 brought out the Edinburgh New Dispensatory, an improved version of William Lewis's work. This became very popular, a tenth edition appearing in 1822. It was translated into German and French, and was several times republished in the United States. He published a supplement to it in 1829. From 1805, he was for many years chief editor of the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, which gained a leading position.[1]

In 1809, he contributed to the Transactions of the Highland Society a "Treatise on the Diseases which are incident to Sheep in Scotland". He also published in 1818 Reports of the Practice in the Clinical Wards of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Perhaps his most distinctive discovery was the isolation of the principle cinchonin from cinchona, as related in Nicholson's Journal, 2nd ser. volume vi. December 1803. Besides writing copiously in his own Journal, he also wrote occasionally for the Edinburgh Review.[1]

  • The Edinburgh new Dispensatory : containing 1. The Elements of pharmaceutical Chemistry ; 2. The Materia Medica; or the natural, pharmaceutical and medical History, or the Substances employed in Medicine ; 3. The pharmaceutical Preparations and Compositions ; including Translations of the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia published in 1805, of the Dublin Pharmacopoeia in 1807, and of the London Pharmacopoeia in 1815. 8th Ed. Edinburgh : Bell & Bradfute, 1816. Digital Edition by the University and State Library Düsseldorf


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bettany 1888, p. 163.