Withering, William, 1741-1799

Variant names

Hide Profile

William Withering, botanist and physician, is credited with the introduction of digitalis into the practice of medicine. Withering was born in Wellington, Shropshire, England in 1741. He followed in the medical footsteps of his father who was an apothecary-surgeon. Withering received his degree in 1766 from the University of Edinburgh. Withering published 19 articles during his lifetime. After fighting a long battle with tuberculosis, he died on 6 October 1799, at the age of 58. Digitalis purpurea in the 18th century was a blessing for people with dropsy. At the same time, foxglove concoctions began to appear in an attempt to cure, albeit unsuccessfully, illnesses such as asthma, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, insanity and others. The 18th century brought foxglove into medical light, but it would take several hundred years before its true healing powers could be harnessed completely.

Reference: Hand Kocher, Digitalis Purpurea Cardia Glycoside (http://www.csoll.tamu.edu/FLORA/wilson/481/medbot/bot2.htm).

From the guide to the Withering Letters, 1700-1799, (University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Hirschfelder, Arthur Douglass, 1879-1942. Papers, <19--?> University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Withering Collection: Papers of T.W. Peck and K.D. Wilkinson, 1540-1940 University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department
creatorOf Withering, William, 1741-1799. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1792. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Joseph Priestley Papers, 1771-1803 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Ganter, Herbert Lawrence, 1904-1980. Research materials, ca. 1680-1948, concerning William Small (1734-1775). Virginia Historical Society Library
referencedIn Gunn, James Andrew, 1882-. Letter, 1930, Mar. 19 : London, to Harvey Cushing. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Library. Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection. 1668-1983. American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Myers, Harold Bunce, 1886-1937. William Withering, M.D., F.R.S. / by Harold B. Myers. Oregon Health & Science University Library, OHSU Library
referencedIn Campbell, Thomas, 1777-1844. Thomas Campbell collection, 1796-1843. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Gilpin, William, 1724-1804. Extracts from the Remarks on forest scenery, and other woodland views, relative chiefly to picturesque beauty / by the Revd. William Gilpin ; transcribed for my own use by me Thos. Pattenden Dover, 1796. Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library
creatorOf Withering Letters, 1700-1799 University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department
referencedIn Campbell, Thomas, 1777-1844. Thomas Campbell collection, 1796-1843. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf [William Withering, biographical materials] University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
referencedIn Letter : to Dr. William Withering MS 0014., 14 May 1775 Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Arthur Hirschfelder papers, 1913-1917 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
creatorOf Darwin, Erasmus, 1731-1802. Letter : to Dr. William Withering, 14 May 1775. Mount Holyoke College, Williston & Miles-Smith Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873 person
associatedWith Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820 person
associatedWith Campbell, Thomas, 1777-1844. person
associatedWith Cooper, Thomas, 1759-1839 person
associatedWith Coues, Elliott, 1842-1899 person
associatedWith Cuvier, Georges, Baron, 1769-1832 person
associatedWith Darlington, William, 1782-1863 person
associatedWith Darwin, Erasmus, 1731-1802 person
associatedWith Edison, Thomas A., (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931 person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955 person
associatedWith Everett, Edward, 1794-1865 person
associatedWith Fitch, John person
associatedWith Ganter, Herbert Lawrence, 1904-1980. person
associatedWith Genth, F. A., (Frederick Augustus), 1820-1893 person
associatedWith Gilpin, William, 1724-1804. person
associatedWith Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 person
associatedWith Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872 person
associatedWith Gunn, James Andrew, 1882- person
associatedWith Harding, Warren G. person
associatedWith Hirschfelder, Arthur Douglass, 1879-1942. person
associatedWith Myers, Harold Bunce, 1886-1937. person
associatedWith Newcomb, Simon person
associatedWith Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727 person
associatedWith Poinsett, Joel Roberts, 1779-1851 person
associatedWith Priestley, Joseph, 1733-1804 person
associatedWith Rittenhouse, David, 1732-1796 person
associatedWith Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813 person
associatedWith Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864 person
associatedWith Seybert, Adam, 1773-1825 person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Stevens, Henry person
associatedWith Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872 person
associatedWith Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824 person
associatedWith T. W. Peck and K. D. Wilkinson person
associatedWith Waterton, Charles, 1782-1865 person
associatedWith Wayne, Anthony person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Medicine Great Britain
Sundews Great Britain


Birth 1741-03-17

Death 1799-10-06




Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6qr5xbg

Ark ID: w6qr5xbg

SNAC ID: 6237601