Gold-headed cane

Gold-headed cane


By William MacMichael (1784-1839)

'A short time before the opening of the New College of Physicians, Mrs Baillie presented to that learned body a Gold-Headed Cane, which had been successively carried by Drs Radcliffe, Mead, Askew, Pitcairn, and her own lamented husband.'

Originally published in 1827, The Gold-headed cane is the celebrated 'autobiography' of a gold-headed cane owned by five eminent physicians, beginning with Dr John Radcliffe (1650-1714). It presents a fascinating record of society and the practice of medicine in the eighteenth century.

This facsimile edition of the author's original annotated copy was published in 1968, in connection with the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal College of Physicians. 


  • Preface - Sir Max Rosenheim, president of the Royal College of Physicians  (1968)
  • Introduction - Thomas Hunt, vice president of the Royal College of Physicians (1968) and great-grandson of the author
  • Radcliffe
  • Mead
  • Askew
  • Pitcairn
  • Baillie

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Gold-headed cane