Jonathan Hutchinson

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Jonathan Hutchinson
Sir Jonathan Hutchinson
Born23 July 1828
Selby, Yorkshire, England
Died13 June 1913(1913-06-13) (aged 84)
Haslemere, Surrey, England
Known forFirst physician to describe Progeria
Scientific career
ophthalmologist, dermatologist

Sir Jonathan Hutchinson (23 July 1828 – 23 June 1913), was an English surgeon, ophthalmologist, dermatologist, venereologist, and pathologist, who notably advocated for circumcision.

Caricature for Vanity Fair by Spy


He was born in Selby, Yorkshire, of Quaker parents and educated in the local school. Then he was apprenticed for five years to Caleb Williams, an apothecary and surgeon in York.[1]

He entered St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1850 (and a fellow in 1862), and rapidly gained reputation as a skillful operator and a scientific inquirer. While a student, Hutchinson chose a career in surgery from 1854 on, under the influence and help of his mentor, Sir James Paget (1814–99). In 1851, he studied ophthalmology at Moorfields and practised it at London Ophthalmic Hospital. Other hospitals where he practised in the following years were the Lock Hospital, the City of London Chest Hospital, the London Hospital, the Metropolitan Hospitals, and the Blackfriars Hospital for Diseases of the Skin.[2]

His intense activity in so many medical specialties reflected also in his involvement with several medical societies. He was president of the Hunterian Society in 1869 and 1870, professor of surgery and pathology at the Royal College of Surgeons from 1877 to 1882, president of the Pathological Society (1879–80), of the Ophthalmological Society (1883), of the Neurological Society (1887) of the Medical Society (1890), and of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society from 1894 to 1896. In 1889, he was president of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was a member of two royal commissions, that of 1881 to inquire into the provision for smallpox and fever cases in the London hospitals, and that of 1889–96 on vaccination and leprosy. He also acted as honorary secretary to the Sydenham Society.[2] In June 1882 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[3]

He was the first orator at the York Medical Society.[4]

Hutchinson is considered the father of oral medicine by some.[5]: 1 [6]: 2 


Blue plaque, 15 Cavendish Square, London

Hutchinson's activity in the cause of scientific surgery and in advancing the study of the natural sciences was unwearying. He published more than 1,200 medical articles and also produced the quarterly Archives of Surgery from 1890 to 1900, being its only contributor. His lectures on neuropathogenesis, gout, leprosy, diseases of the tongue, etc., were full of original observation; but his principal work was connected with the study of syphilis, on which he became the first living authority.[2] He was the first to describe his triad of medical signs for congenital syphilis: notched incisor teeth, labyrinthine deafness, and interstitial keratitis, which was very useful for providing a firm diagnosis long before Treponema pallidum or the Wassermann test were discovered. By contrast, his insistence that leprosy was caused by eating decaying fish was incorrect.[7]

He was the founder of the Medical Graduates’ College and Polyclinic; and both in his native town of Selby and at Haslemere, Surrey, he started (about 1890) educational museums for popular instruction in natural history.[8] He published several volumes on his own subjects and was given an Hon. LL.D degree by both the University of Glasgow and University of Cambridge. He received a knighthood in 1908.

Hutchinson has his name attached to these entities in medicine:

Personal life[edit]

Hutchinson married Jane Pynsent West in 1856 and they had six sons and four daughters. His son Jonathan (1859–1933) became an ophthalmic surgeon and was elected F.R.C.S. in 1884.[9][10] He founded Haslemere Educational Museum in 1888. The teacher, writer, and naturalist Margaret Hutchinson was his granddaughter.[11][12] Hutchinson died on 23 June 1913, in Haslemere, Surrey.[13]


  1. ^ "Sir Jonathan Hutchinson" (PDF). Haslemere Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 24 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "York Medical Society past orators". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ Dayal, Promod K (1998). Textbook of medicine oral. New Delhi: Jaypee. ISBN 9788171795734.
  6. ^ John, Pramod (2014). Textbook of oral medicine (3rd ed.). JP Medical Ltd. ISBN 9789350908501.
  7. ^ "On Leprosy and Fish Eating a Statement of Facts and Explanations". Nature. 75 (1948): 412. 1907. Bibcode:1907Natur..75..412.. doi:10.1038/075412a0. hdl:2027/mdp.39015009544233. S2CID 4012915.
  8. ^ Klauder JV (1934). "Sir Jonathan Hutchinson". Med Life. 41: 313–27.
  9. ^ James, D. G. (1969). "Centenary commemoration of sarcoidosis and of Jonathan Hutchinson". British Medical Journal. 2 (5649): 109–110. doi:10.1136/bmj.2.5649.109. PMC 1982866. PMID 4887040.
  10. ^ Hutchinson, Jonathan (1859–1933), Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online
  11. ^ "About Haslemere Educational Museum". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  12. ^ Hutchinson, Margaret (1981). A childhood in Edwardian Sussex. Hindhead: Saiga. ISBN 0862300401.
  13. ^ Who's Who 1914, p. xxii; ODNB

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hutchinson, Sir Jonathan" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hutchinson, Sir Jonathan". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.