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Alston, Charles, 1683-1760 (physician and botanist)



  • Existence: 1683 - 1760


Charles Alston was born at Eddlewood (now part of Hamilton). He was educated in Glasgow, and then went to Leyden in the Netherlands to study medicine under Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738). There he met Dr. Alexander Monro, primus (1697-1767). Together, on their return to Edinburgh, they revived medical lectures at the University with Alston being appointed Lecturer in Botany and Materia Medica. He was also Superintendent of the Botanic Garden. Alston published various medical papers and an index to the plants in the Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. In hisTirocinium Botanicum Edinburgense(1753), he attacked the Linnaean system of classification. Dr. Charles Alston died on 22 November 1760.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Letter from Joseph Black to his father, John Black, 2 December 1752

Identifier: Coll-16/V/6
Scope and Contents

Letter from Joseph Black, Edinburgh to his father, John Black, dated 2 December 1752. The letter is about stating his Edinburgh expenses will far exceed those of Glasgow and he mentions Mr and Mrs Russel. Black states he is thinking of doing his thesis on lime water and he details the experiments of Professor [Robert] Whytt and Professor [Charles] Alston on its use in treatment of the stone.

Dates: 2 December 1752

Notes of lectures by Charles Alston, with bookplates of Alexander Russell

Identifier: Coll-1910
Scope and Contents

Three volumes of notes of lectures given by Charles Alston, entitled 'A treatise on the materia medica ... from the lectures of Charles Alston, M.D., Fellow of the College of Physicians and Professor of Botany at Edinburgh. 1733'. 183 x 165 mm, rebound. They bear the armorial bookplate of Alexander Russell, M.D. It is possible that this is the Alexander Russell that studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and graduated in 1779.

Dates: 1733

Papers of Joseph Black and family

Identifier: Coll-16
Scope and Contents 5 boxes of correspondence between himself and a variety of individuals (including James Watt, Prince Paul Dashkov, John Robison) and on a variety of subjects: linen bleaching, use of lime water, assays of ores, civic water supply, mineralogical specimens, absorption of heat etc 1 box of family letters between Black, his father and his brothers Samuel, George and Thomas ...
Dates: 1746-1799

Treatise of the Materia Medica

Identifier: Coll-1127
Scope and Contents The bound manuscript volume begins: ' A treatise of the Materia Medica in which the Virtues of all the Simples of the three Kingdoms are truly described and they have been fully demonstrated by the accurate Observations of many truly celebrated Authors and particularly of the learned Dr. Charles Alston Professor of the Materia Medica and Botany in the University of Edinburgh and Reg. Prof. Botan'. The text in the manuscript volume is organised into the following...
Dates: 1745-1747

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Collection 3
Archival Object 1
Materia medica 2
Anatomy 1
Botanists 1
Calorimeters 1
Calorimetry 1