SIR T. McCALL ANDERSON, Honorary Physician to His Majesty
in Scotland, was a Professor in the University of Glasgow for a period of
thirty-three years. He was the son of the late Dr. A. D. Anderson, Hon. F.R.C.S,
who was President at one time at of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons in
Glasgow, while his grand-uncle was John Anderson, Professor of Natural
Philosophy in the University, the founder of Anderson's College, and the first
to institute courses of instruction for women and mechanics. The biographer of
James Watt speaks of Professor John Anderson as "Watt's early and attached
friend, whose house conversation, library, and valuable scientific apparatus had
been at all times free to satisfy the strongly awakened exigencies of that
inquisitive and ingenious mind." It was he who put into Watt's hands the model
of Newcomen's engine, to see what he could make of it. The result is known to
the world. Dr. McCall Anderson was also the great-great-grandson of the Rev.
John Anderson, minister of the North-west Church of Glasgow, among whose
published works may be mentioned "A Defence of the Church Government. Faith,
Worship, and Spirit of the Presbyterians," and whose memorial in the Ramshorn
Church speaks of him as "a pious minister, an eloquent preacher, and a brave
defender of civil and religious liberty."
After receiving his general education in Edinburgh, Sir Thomas studied Medicine in Glasgow University, where he carried off the highest prizes, and graduated "with honours" in 1858. After a residence of two years in the Royal Infirmary, he studied in the principal hospitals on the Continent. Soon after entering upon practice he was unanimously appointed Lecturer on Practice of Medicine in Anderson's College, a post which he held till 1874, when a chair of Clinical Medicine was founded in the University, and he was appointed the first Professor. In 1900, on the resignation of Sir William Gairdner, K.C.B., he was appointed Regius Professor of Medicine. He was also senior physician to the Western Infirmary. For five years he was examiner in Medicine and Pathology for the British and Indian Medical Services. He successively occupied the presidential chair of the two leading medical societies of the city, and was Dean of the Medical Faculty of the University for four years. He was appointed the representative of the University to the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, a subject in which he took a special interest, as well as to the International Congress in Paris, and he latterly represented the Senate at the General Medical Council. He was consulting physician to the Glasgow Sick Poor and Private Nursing Association, the Scottish Imperial Insurance Company, and other institutions. He was also an honorary member of a number of learned societies of medicine in France, Austria, and America, and an honorary editor of several well-known journals, including The Scottish Medical and Surgical Journal, and the Archive für Dermatologie und Syphilis. In 1888 he was president of the Medical Section of the British Medical Association.
He attained special distinction as a Clinical teacher, and always had a great following. His published works are numerous and varied, covering an extensive field. Amongst them may be mentioned: "On the Curability of attacks of Tubercular Peritonitis and Acute Phthisis," "Contributions to Clinical Medicine," "Specific Affections of the Nervous System," and "A Treatise on Diseases of the Skin."
In 1905, on the occasion of the Balfour Ministry demitting office, he was created a knight; and two years later the King was pleased to appoint him to be one of His Majesty's Honorary Physicians in Scotland in room of Sir William Gairdner. In political affairs Sir Thomas took a keen interest, and as president of the College Division Conservative Association he was a prominent figure at meetings of the party. He was an attached member of the Church of Scotland, and was an elder in Park Church, with which he was connected for over forty years.
On 25th January, 1908, Sir Thomas died with tragic suddenness after proposing a toast at the dinner of the Glasgow Ayrshire Society in St. Enoch's Hotel. He is survived by Lady McCall Anderson, a son, and several daughters. His eldest daughter was elected first matron of the new Infirmary at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and shortly afterwards was appointed to a similar position in St. George's Hospital, London. She also served with the Red Cross Society during the war in South Africa.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)