John Hunter


John Hunter was a Scottish surgeon, who lived and practiced medicine in London. He is considered to have made surgery a respectable science by creating methods of study in the field of comparative anatomy and pathology. His anatomical and surgical interests were wide ranging and include studies of cadavers of both humans and animals. He had a special interest in the hearing mechanism and studied it in fish (Hunter, 1782).

In 1765 Hunter moved to Earl’s Court with his new wife, outside London, where he began collecting live animals for observation and experimentation. His menagerie included many varieties of birds, as well as lizards, pigs, wolves, buffaloes, and leopards.

A large sampling of Hunter’s collection is now housed in the Hunterian Museum, in London.

Works by John Hunter, arranged chronologically

Hunter, John (1771-1778) The natural history of the human teeth, Explaining their Structure, Use, Formation, Growth and Diseases. 2 parts. London: J. Johnson.

Hunter, John (1778) A practical treatise on the diseases of the teeth, intended as a supplement to the natural history of those parts. London, J. Johnson.

Hunter, John (1772) On the digestion of the stomach after death. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 62: 447-454.

Hunter, John (1780). Account of a woman who had the smallpox during pregnancy, and who seemed to have communicated the same disease to the foetus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 70: 128-142.

Hunter John (1782) Account of the Organ of Hearing in Fish. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 72, 379-383. Retrieved on June 25, 2010 from

Hunter, John (1786). A Treatise on the veneral disease. London

Hunter, John (1786). Observations on certain parts of the animal oeconomy. London.

Hunter, John (1794) A Treatise on the Blood, Inflammation and Gun-shot Wounds. Posthumous. London: G. Nicol.

Hunter, John (1762) State of the testis in the foetus and on the hernia congenita. In William Hunter’s Medical Commentaries, pp. 75-89.

Hunter, John (1804-1882) The Works of John Hunter. Edited with an introduction by George Gulliver. London, Longman, [1835]-1837.

Works about John Hunter

Cohen, B. (1993) John Hunter, pathologist. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 86, 587-592.

Dobson, J. (1969). John Hunter. London, E. S. Livingstone, 1969.

Kobler, J. (1960) The Reluctant Surgeon. London, W. Heinemann, 1960.

Mather, G. (1893). Two Great Scotsmen: The Brothers William and John Hunter. Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons.

Moore, W. (2006). The knife man: Blood, body snatching and the birth of modern surgery. London: Broadway.

Oppenheimer, J. (1946) New Aspects of John and William Hunter. London: William Heinemann, 1946.

Peachey, G. C. (1924). A Memoir of William and John Hunter. Plymouth: William Brendon & Son, 1924.

Richardson, R. (1987). Death, Dissection and the Destitute. London: Routledge & Kegan.

Roodhouse, Gloyne (1950). John Hunter. London: E & S Livingstone.