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November 9, 1970

William C. Cruikshank (1745-1800) Surgeon of Leicester Square

JAMA. 1970;214(6):1110-1112. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180060084019

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William Cumberland Cruikshank, assistant to William Hunter, legatee of his anatomical collection, and physician to Samuel Johnson, was born in Edinburgh, the son of an examiner of the Excise.1 William, originally intending to enter the clergy, was educated at Edinburgh and Glasgow universities where his outstanding scholarship was immediately apparent. Excellence in classical and modern languages enabled him to coach his classmates and act as preceptor in families of distinction; meanwhile, a strong propensity for anatomy and physic led him from the church into medicine. After graduating MA at Glasgow in 1767, he was apprenticed in surgery and pharmacy until 1771, when Hunter brought him to London as assistant in the Windmill street school. Cruikshank applied himself to dissection with great industry, gave demonstrations in the anatomical theater, occasionally replaced Hunter in lectures, and offered his consultative services to rich and poor alike. He was an able substitute for