John Brown (doctor)

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John Brown

John Brown (1735 – 17 October 1788) was a Scottish physician.


Brown was born in Berwickshire and after attending the parish school at Duns, he moved to Edinburgh and enrolled in divinity classes at the university of Edinburgh and worked part-time as a private tutor. In 1759 he discontinued his theological studies and began the study of medicine and became the private tutor for the William Cullen family. After a dispute with Cullen and the professors of the university, Brown's public lectures contained attacks on preceding systems of medicine, including Cullen's.

In 1780 Brown published his Elementa Medicinae, or the Brunonian system of medicine, which for a time was a popular text.

In 1786 he went to London to improve his fortunes but died of apoplexy two years later, on October 17, 1788.


In 1795 a critical edition of Brown's Elements of Medicine was published by the well-known physician Thomas Beddoes for the benefit of Brown's widow and children.[1] An edition of Brown's works, with a biography by his son, William Cullen Brown, appeared in 1804.

Brown was the grandfather of the artist Ford Madox Brown and the great-great grandfather of the novelist Ford Madox Ford.


  1. ^ Staff (January 1811) "Stock's Life of Beddoes" The Medical and Physical Journal 25: pp. 172–175; 259–264; 342–348, p. 263

Further reading[edit]

  • McGrew, Roderick. Encyclopedia of Medical History (1985), brief history pp 36–37