Charity shop finds diary chronicling doctor's last daysBMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7565.412-a (Published 24 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:412
A lost diary documenting the last days of Scottish physician Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870), who discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform, has been found in a secondhand bookshop run by the charity Shelter. The diary has been bought by the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.
The diary was written by Dr Simpson's nephew, a lawyer, Robert, and formed the basis of a biography published in 1873. It tells of the last days before Dr Simpson's death. A day of public mourning was declared for his funeral, and 2000 people followed his hearse through the streets of Edinburgh.
The diary will be on show at the library of the royal college, which already has Dr Simpson's lecture notes and case descriptions.
The library, on Queen Street in Edinburgh, is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. For more information telephone 0131 225 7324.