Cullen

The Consultation Letters of Dr William Cullen (1710-1790) at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

 

[Case ID:12]: Case of Mrs Jane Webster at York who is trying to lose weight.

Patient seeks advice on losing weight to improve her health.

This case drew the project's attention at an early stage because it addresses a very modern concern: obesity and the attempt to lose weight. When Jane Webster of York, suffering from a chest complaint, approaches Cullen for reassurances that she is undertaking safe methods of dieting and exercise in order to reduce her weight it is notable that the ensuing dialogue is entirely couched in terms of the benefits of slimming for her health: there is no mention of her appearance whatsoever. Cullen, who is known to have taken a systematic interest in matters of nutrition, clearly recognises that his main role here is to provide encouragement. Webster mentions that her father was a physician but he has not been identified as she never reveals her maiden name.

David E. Shuttleton

Documents in this case

4 document(s) found in this case.

DOC IDSummaryDate
[DOC ID:1914] 
Letter from Jane Webster at York concerning her own case. She seeks advice on how to continue to lose weight. Mentions in passing seeking past advice from her local physician, who is identified elsewhere as Edinburgh trained Dr Thomas Withers. 11 September 1780
 
[DOC ID:1021] 
Reply 'For Mrs Jane Webster', advising her to 'make your body still lighter by a stone or more' and giving dietary and cold bathing instructions. 16 September 1780
 
[DOC ID:1975] 
Letter from Jane Webster, concerning her own case. 30 January 1781
 
[DOC ID:1085] 
Reply 'For Mrs Jane Webster. Cullen suggests that the reason she has not lost weight for some time is 'the want of exercise & of cold bathing', and recommends shuttlecock and walking for an hour or two in a large room. 8 February 1781
 

People involved in this case

5 found.

PERS IDFull Name
[PERS ID: 1] Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 937] Mrs Goddard (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 936] Dr Alexander Hunter (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 476] Mrs Jane Webster (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 1026] Dr Thomas Withers (Professor Cullen)

Unique Places linked to this Case

4 found.

TypeSpecific Place Village/Town/City (aka) Region Country Continent Confidence
SpecificCullen's House / Mint Close Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Place Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Place York North-East England Europe inferred
SpecificSt Saviour's Gate York North-East England Europe certain

Places and role of place

6 found.

TypeRoleSpecific Place Village/Town/City (aka) Region Country Continent Confidence
SpecificPlace of WritingCullen's House / Mint Close Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
PlacePlace of Writing York North-East England Europe certain
PlaceDestination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
PlaceDestination of Letter York North-East England Europe inferred
SpecificMentioned / OtherSt Saviour's Gate York North-East England Europe certain
PlacePlace of Handstamp York North-East England Europe certain