Finlayson, James (DNB12)

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FINLAYSON, JAMES (1840–1906), Scottish physician, born in Glasgow on 22 Nov. 1840, was third son and fourth child of the seven children of Thomas Finlayson, a manufacturer in that city, by his wife Georgina Campbell, the daughter of an army surgeon in India. His elder brother, Thomas Campbell Finlayson, was a distinguished congregational minister, first at Downing Place, Cambridge, and later at Rusholme, Manchester, and was hon. D.D. Glasgow (1891). James received his early education at the High School of Glasgow, and in 1856 entered the old college in High Street as an arts student. From 1857 to 1862 he was in his father's business; but in 1863 he began the study of medicine, and graduated M.B. at Glasgow University with honours on 16 May 1867, with a thesis on ‘The value of quantitative methods of investigation in medicine and allied sciences’; he proceeded M.D. in 1869, and on 18 April 1899 was made hon. LL.D. He was admitted a fellow of the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1871, and was successively honorary librarian (1877–1901), visitor (1899), and president (1900–3) of that body. After serving as house surgeon at the Children's Hospital, Manchester, he was assistant to Sir William Tennant Gairdner at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and in 1875 was elected physician to the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, where he was a recognised teacher until his death. He was also physician (1883–98) and later consulting physician to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, and for many years was medical adviser to the Scottish Amicable Insurance Company. He set a high standard of professional conduct and learning, and had a large and important practice in and around Glasgow.

Finlayson was a prolific writer on all aspects of medicine, including diseases of children. He wrote 150 papers, 60 of which appeared in the ‘Glasgow Medical Journal.’ He was especially interested in the history of medicine, and gave a number of lectures at Glasgow under the title of ‘Bibliographical Demonstrations on Hippocrates, Galen, Herophilus, and Erasistratus’ (1893–5), the substance of which he contributed to ‘Janus,’ an international medical journal. His most important works were: 1. ‘Clinical Manual for the Examination of Medical Cases,’ 1878; 3rd edit. 1891. 2. ‘Account of the Life and Works of Maister Peter Lowe, the Founder of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow,’ 1889. 3. ‘An Account of the Life and Works of Dr. Robert Watt, Author of the “Bibliotheca Britannica,”’ 1897. To ‘Keating's Cyclopædia of the Diseases of Children’ (1889) he contributed an article on ‘Diagnosis.’

Finlayson, who was unmarried, died suddenly from apoplexy on 9 Oct. 1906 at his residence, 2 Woodside Place, Glasgow; his remains were cremated at the Western Necropolis. A bust by McGillivray belongs to his sister. His friends endowed the Finlayson Memorial Lecture (on a subject connected with medicine, preferably its history) at the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; the first lecture was delivered on 28 Feb. 1908 by Dr. Norman Moore on the ‘Schola Salernitana.’

[Glasgow Med. Journ. 1906, lxvi. 360–7 (with portrait); Brit. Med. Journ. 1906, ii. 1067; information from Sir Hector Cameron, M.D.]

H. D. R.