Ref NoDEP/CUL/1/2
TitleCorrespondence to William Cullen
Date1755 - 1790
Extent17 boxes (2565 items)
DescriptionThis series mostly contains correspondence received by Cullen. Where letters are addressed to someone other than Cullen, this is indicated in the entry. The letters are usually written on behalf of patients by doctors, but can be by another family member or by the patients themselves. Therefore, it cannot always be assumed that the relationship between the correspondent and the person whose case is described is that of doctor and patient.

The title of each item is the correspondent's name and location (where given) and the description gives the name of the patient if this is different from the correspondent. Where parts of a name could not be deciphered these have been indicated by a question mark in square brackets. All names are spelt as they are given in the letters although modern spellings of place names, where known, are given in square brackets. The dates are as given by the correspondent. The date on the reverse was presumably the date of receipt into Cullen's office and is often different.

The letters give details of a case and ask for advice or repeat prescriptions. Some of the letters are incomplete, either missing signature pages or pages prior to an extant page, and this is indicated in the entry. Some clear matches of incomplete items have been made but where there is any doubt they have been kept separate. Letters are frequently from the same correspondents. Only where they concern the same case and are not obviously linked by the name of the patient or correspondent have they been cross-referred.

Some letters or case notes are by Cullen, although not necessarily in his hand (see CUL/1/2/40). Often these describe a case but are not addressed to a doctor. Similarly, some items are unsigned and unaddressed case notes rather than letters and these may also be Cullen's papers.

The correspondence was originally bound into volumes, as can be seen from the marks of stitching on the letters. At the end of Boxes 2, 3 and 17 (1775, 1776 and 1789-1790) there is a quantity of undated and unsigned material. These were presumably bound into the volumes at those locations. For 1775 and 1776, lacking any other information on the items, they were catalogued into those years unless evidence within the items linked them to cases elsewhere. However, the quantity at the end of 1789, given that Cullen was already ill himself, is unlikely to have come from that year. In order to ensure any date search found the items they were given the date range of the series as a whole.

From 1774, with increasing consistency, the reverse of each letter gives the name either of the patient or the correspondent (and sometimes both), the date and a reference to the volume and page number of the consultation letter book with Cullen's reply. This information sometimes differs from that given in the letter, for example in the spelling of names or even in the date. The spelling given is always that used by the correspondents themselves. Sometimes this cross referencing is the only source of information on the correspondent and in those instances the information is in square brackets.
Index TermCase notes
Medicines (drugs)
Drug prescriptions
Access_ConditionsAccess is by appointment. Certain records may be confidential and access is restricted according to relevant legislation.
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