CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 2206
TitleGregory family: papers of the Gregory family of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Oxford
Date1582 - 1912
Extent47 volumes, 2 boxes
Creator NameGregory family of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Oxford (fl 1582 - 1912)
Administrative HistoryThe Gregory family papers relate to the distinguished family of academics who descended from John Gregory (1598 - 1652), minister of Drumoak in Aberdeenshire, and his wife Janet Anderson. Their descendants included fourteen professors of various subjects including medicine, chemistry, philosophy, mathematics and history.

They had five children: Alexander (1623 - 1664) , David (c 1625 - c 1720), Margaret, Isobel and James (1638 - 1675). Alexander died in 1664 and was succeeded by his brother, David (c 1625 - c 1720) who became the Laird of Kinnairdy in Banffshire (MS 2206/1). David married twice, and is reputed to have had 29 children. Three of those children, David (1659 - 1708), James (1666 - 1742), and Charles (1681 - 1754) were educated at Marischal College in Aberdeen, and went on to have distinguished academic careers at the Universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews and Oxford. Material relating to David (1659 - 1708) and James (1666 - 1742) appears in this collection (MS 2206/3 and /4 respectively).

John and Janet Gregory's third son, James Gregory (1638 - 1675), is perhaps the best known of their children. He was a mathematician credited with the discovery of calculus and was a contemporary of Sir Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727). He graduated from Marischal College in Aberdeen in 1657, and was Professor of Mathematics at the University of St Andrews from 1668 to 1674 and at Edinburgh from 1674 to 1675 (MS 2206/2).

His son, James Gregory (1674 - 1733), was Professor of Medicine at King's College, Aberdeen from 1725 to 1732, the first of several mediciners that descended from this side of the family (MS 2206/5).

The sons of James Gregory (1674 - 1733), James Gregory (1707 - 1755) (MS 2206/6) and John Gregory (1724 - 1773) (MS 2206/7) succeeded him in the Chair of Medicine at King's College from 1732 to 1755 and 1756 to 1766 respectively.

John's (1724 - 1773) son, James Gregory (1753 - 1821) was Professor of Institutes of Medicine from 1776 to 1789, and Professor of the Practice of Medicine from 1790 to 1821 at Edinburgh and was the inventor of "Gregory's Mixture" (MS 2206/8).

James Gregory (1753 - 1821) had eleven children, six of whom are featured in this collection. These include John (1797 - 1869), an advocate (MS 2206/12); James Crauford (1801 - 1832), a physician (MS 2206/13); Donald (1803 - 1836), an antiquary (MS 2206/15); William (1803 - 1858), who was Professor of Medicine at King's College in Aberdeen from 1839 to 1844, and then Professor of Chemistry at Edinburgh from 1844 to 1858 (MS 2206/14); his daughter Georgina (MS 2206/16), and his youngest son, Duncan Farquharson (1813 - 1844), a mathematician and Fellow at Trinity College Cambridge (MS 2206/17).

There is also a small amount of material relating to James' younger brother, Reverend William (1761 - 1803) (MS 2206/9); his son John (1795 - 1853), a colonial administrator, (MS 2206/11); and grandson Philip Spencer (fl1856 - 1912), lawyer and family historian (MS 2206/18). James' youngest brother John (c 1762 - 1783) is also featured in this collection (MS 2206/10).

Also of note is the eldest son from the marriage of Dorothea Gregory (daughter of John Gregory (1724 - 1773)), and the Rev Archibald Alison (MS 2206/20). William Pultney Alison (1790 - 1859) was Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at Edinburgh from 1820 to 1821 and Professor of the Institutes of Medicine there from 1821 to 1842, succeeding his uncle, James Gregory, who died in 1821 (MS 2206/21).

Other notable descendants of David Gregory (1625 - 1720) include his son, David Gregory (1696 - 1767) who became Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford between 1723 and 1736 and his nephew, also David Gregory (1712 - 1765), who succeeded his father to the Chair of Mathematics at St Andrews between 1739 and 1763. Two daughters of David Gregory (c 1625 - c 1720) are also of note: Margaret and Isobel. Margaret Gregory, who married Lewis Reid, minister of Strachan, was the mother of Thomas Reid (1710 - 1796), philosopher and Regent at King's College in Aberdeen from 1751 to 1796 and Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow from 1764 to 1796. Isobel Gregory, who married Patrick Innes, was grandmother of Alexander Innes (1716 - 1742), Professor of Philosophy at Marischal College in Aberdeen from 1739 to 1742.

For a fuller description of the family and its several branches see Walter R. Humphries, 'Paper on the Family of Gregory' in 'Transactions of the Buchan Field Club' 16, part 1 (1939-1940); Paul David Lawrence 'The Gregory Family: a Biographical and Bibliographical Study to which is annexed a Bibliography of the Scientific and Medical Books in the Gregory Library, Aberdeen University Library' 2 volumes and index (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, 1971); and Philip S. Gregory 'Records of the Family of Gregory' (Edinburgh, 1886) (unpublished but appears in this collection with reference number MS 2206/18/1 and is also in Aberdeen University Library).
SourceThis collection was deposited in the University before 1968. The date and source were not recorded at the time of deposit.

It is likely that this collection of papers was deposited with the University of Aberdeen around 1965 by Ms Violet Geraldine Seton Cornish-Browne, although it is possible they were deposited earlier by Ms Seton Cornish-Browne around 1948. Ms Seton Cornish-Browne (1913-2002) was the niece of Hilda M. Paterson of Birkwood, Banchory (fl c.1900-1942), genealogist and antiquarian who collected a large number of papers relating to the Reid, Forbes, Fraser, Gregory and Leslie families (see MS 3132 for more information).
DescriptionThis collection contains a substantial amount of material relating to the education, careers, interests and lives of the members of the Gregory family from the 16th century until the late 19th century. It includes legal documents, diplomas from various universities including King's College, Aberdeen and Rheims University, instruments of admission to professorships and lecture notes representing the classes attended or taught by the Gregorys.

Material relating to the careers of the Gregorys include burgess tickets, papers relating to their membership of professional societies here and abroad and scientific notes and volumes. Items of particular interest include 'Lectiones Mechanicae' (MS 2206/3/2) and 'Lectures given at Oxford University' (MS 2206/3/3) by David Gregory (1659 - 1708); physician accounts of James Gregory (1647 - 1733) which lists his patients' accounts, with a separate index of their names, and other entries such as medical orders and accounts (MS 2206/5/5); a volume entitled 'Formulae Remediorum' which contains recipes for the treatment of diseases (MS 2206/7/15); James Gregory (1753 - 1821): clinical lectures taken under William Cullen (MS 2206/8/17); D Campbell: clinical lectures taken under James Gregory (MS 2206/8/9); and William Gregory's 'Account of expenses for apparatus etc. incurred in setting up as a teacher of chemistry' (MS 2206/14/13).

The collection also contains items relating to the lives and interests of the Gregorys including a note of the dates of David Gregory's (1625 - 1720) two marriages and of the dates of birth of his 29 children (MS 2206/1/1); a volume containing 'Reflections on the principles of agriculture, and other notes on agricultural topics' (MS 2206/7/18); a file containing a selection of personal papers belonging to James Gregory (1753 - 1821) which include letters, accounts, verses and inscriptions (MS 2206/8/15); notes for Donald Gregory's 'History of the Western Highlands of Scotland' , 1836 (MS 2206/15/6); a volume of poems and six sketch books belonging to Georgina Gregory, 1833 - 1849 (MS 2206/16) and genealogical information collected by Philip Spencer Gregory (MS 2206/18).

There are also a number of items in the collection which were not created by family members. These include a volume relating to fevers by Isbrandus de Diemerbrock (MS 2206/22/2); a copy of 'A Treatise of Comparative Anatomy' by Alexander Monro (MS 2206/22/7); a volume of notes, ballads, songs, sonnets and other poems by the lyrical poet and socialite, Anne Hunter (MS 2206/22/12) and report books of Algernon Percy and George Percy, Lord Lovaine, by their tutors at Eton, April - December 1793 (MS 2206/24).
AppraisalThis material has been appraised in line with normal procedures
AccrualsNo accruals are expected
ArrangementThe first numbers given in the AltRefNo field refer to the original numbering arrangement given to the collection and the numbers in brackets refer to the references allocated by Paul Lawrence in his 1971 thesis.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
LanguageEnglish and Latin
Related Material<p>MS 129/ 2: Clinical lectures of James Gregory (1732 - 1821)</p>

<p>MS 2171: Lectures on trigonometry, astronomy, geometry and hydrostatics, David Gregory (1661 - 1708) </p>

<p>MS 2784: Course of lectures upon the practice of medicine, John Gregory (1724 - 1773), Professor of Medicine, University of Edinburgh, 1773</p>

<p>MS 2789: Lectures on the practice of medicine, James Gregory (1753 - 1821), Professor of Medicine, University of Edinburgh, c. 1790</p>

<p>MS 3258: Michael Barfoot James Gregory and the Scottish scientific metaphysics, 1750 - 1800 (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1987)</p>

<p>MS 995: Papers relating to the history and genealogy of the Gregory family descended from John Gregory of Drumoak, Aberdeenshire, c. 1800</p>
Publication NotePaul David Lawrence made extensive use of the collection in his Ph.D. thesis The Gregory Family: a Biographical and Bibliographical Study to which is annexed a Bibliography of the Scientific and Medical Books in the Gregory Library, Aberdeen University Library two volumes and index (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Aberdeen, 1971). It seems likely that these records were also used by Philip S. Gregory in his unpublished work Records of the Family of Gregory (Edinburgh, 1886).
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