Alexander Russell (naturalist)

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Alexander Russell (c. 1715 – 1768) was a Scottish physician and naturalist.[1]

Russell was born in Edinburgh in 1715, the son of lawyer John Russell. He was the half-brother of Patrick Russell[2] He was educated at Edinburgh University and, having obtained an M.D., he went to London in about 1734.

Shortly after he sailed to Aleppo in 1740, he was appointed physician to the English factory there. Russell became the chief medical practitioner in Aleppo, having gained the confidence of the local Pasha. In 1754 he returned to England and two years later he published his Natural History of Aleppo, with a diary of the progress of the plague in 1742-44.[3]He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1756. [4]

In 1759 he was elected to fill a vacancy at St Thomas' Hospital in London. He remained in that role until his death on 25 November 1768.

Written works[edit]

His written works include:

  • Testamen Medicum et Medicastrorum audacitate. Edin. 1709, 8vo.
  • The Natural History of Aleppo. Lond. 1756, 4to. 2d edition revised, enlarged, and illustrated with Notes, by his brother, Patrick Russell, M.D. Lond. 1794, 2 vols. 4to. This valuable history has been translated into different European languages.
  • Of a remarkable Marine Production. Phil. Trans. 1762, Abr. xi. 635. Vorticella Ovifera Lin.
  • Letter describing the Scammony Plant. Med. Obs. And Inq. i. p. 12, 1755.
  • Account of two Paralytic Cases. Ib. p. 296.
  • Cases of Lues Venerea cured by a solution of Corrosive Sublimate. Ib. ii. p. 88.
  • Of several Hydatids discharged with the Urine. Ib. iii. p. 146. 1767.
  • Experiments made with the Decoction of Mezereon in Venereal Nodes. Ib. p. 189.
  • Case of almost universal Emphysema. Ib. p. 397.
  • An Essay on his Character. Lond. 1770, 4to.


  1. ^ A general biographical dictionary, Volume 3 by John Gorton (H.G. Bohn, 1833)
  2. ^ The life and viper of Dr Patrick Russell MD FRS (1727–1805): Physician and naturalist by BJ Hagwood (1994)
  3. ^ Munks Roll: Alexander Russell (Royal College of Physicians, 1768)
  4. ^ "Fellow details". Royal Society. Retrieved 26 January 2016.