Moses S Buchanan (1796-1860)

Moses Buchanan

Moses Buchanan

By Colin Campbell and Morag T Fyfe

Moses Steven Buchanan born in 1796, was the third son of George Buchanan a calenderer, of the firm George Buchanan and Sons and his wife Isabella Stevenson. Two of Moses’ brothers became partners in the family firm.

He studied medicine at both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, qualifying as MD at Edinburgh in 1816 and was admitted to the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1818. In 1846 at the age of 50 he had occasion to list his most important positions to date which included his current position as Professor of Anatomy at Anderson’s University, a Member and Treasurer of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons [Glasgow], late surgeon and Lecturer on Clinical Surgery in the Royal Infirmary, consulting surgeon to the General Lying-in Hospital, member and councillor of the Medico-Chirurgical Society [Glasgow].

He had become a surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1830, was a lecturer in anatomy at the Portland Street Medical School between 1836 and 1841 and from 1841 until his death he was Professor of Anatomy at Anderson’s University. In 1846 he applied unsuccessfully for the Chair of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh and furnished 28 testimonials from the great and the good of the Glasgow medical establishment in his support. However, Edinburgh’s loss was to be Glasgow’s gain as he went on to be a much sought after Lecturer and Surgeon in Glasgow. After his death, the Chair of Clinical Surgery at the University of Glasgow was founded in his honour and one of his sons George Buchanan (1827-1905) held the chair from 1874-1900.

In 1832 he published, “A History of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary 1787-1832” being a detailed account of not only the history of the Hospital but analyses of its functions, structure, funding, medical statistics, patient diets and professional organisation. Some of his lectures were also published.

Moses Buchanan married Agnes Leechman on 12 December 1824 in Glasgow. The couple had ten children, seven of whom lived to adulthood and four of whom are buried with their father in Compartment Omega in the Glasgow Necropolis; the last two surviving daughters chose to buy a separate lair in compartment Epsilon and be buried there. Agnes Leechman died in 1867 at Ventnor, Isle of Wight and is not buried in the Necropolis.

He died on 4th June 1860 at home, 14 Lynedoch Place, Glasgow and was buried in the Necropolis on 8th June.

(Ack: The Wellcome Collection (image), Scottish Medical Directory, 1860, the Matriculation Albums of Glasgow University, 1913 p237)

Moses Buchanan Monument

Moses Buchanan Monument

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