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Detailed Record


Richard L. MacDonnell Collection

Richard L. MacDonnell Collection

Physical Description

25.5 cm textual records



Biographical Sketch / Administrative History

Dr. Richard Lea MacDonnell (1856-1891) was a son of Dr. Robert Lea MacDonnell (1818-1878) ¬– a well-known Dublin-born surgeon, author (founder of the Canadian Medical Journal), professor, and director of the Department of Clinical Medicine at McGill University. Richard MacDonnell grew up in Montreal, and was educated at Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville, QC before studying medicine at McGill University. MacDonnell graduated from McGill in 1876, then studied for a year in Europe and obtained an M.R.C.S. Upon his return, he was appointed one of the Demonstrators of Anatomy and subsequently assumed the position of senior demonstrator in charge of the Department of Practical Anatomy. MacDonnell was also appointed assistant physician and then physician at the Montreal General Hospital, as well as professor of clinical medicine at McGill until his death. In addition to his work as a clinician and professor, MacDonnell was a regular contributor to the Montreal Medical Journal with many articles to his name. On July 31st, 1878, at the young age of 35, MacDonnell died of pulmonary disease, survived by his wife, mother, and sister. His friend and McGill colleague, Sir William Osler, wrote an obituary in the New York Medical Journal that stated: “Although only thirty-five years old, he had reached a position which gave scope to abilities of first-class order and afforded opportunities of impressing upon a large class of students those qualities of mind so essential in the teacher, so priceless to the taught – honesty, system, and painstaking care” (NYMJ, 54: 162, 1891).

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 3 scrapbooks assembled by Richard L. MacDonnell, and 1 McGill Dissection Room Record Book created and kept by MacDonnell from April 1883-1891. The scrapbooks contain notes, patient prescription information, reprints of various publications by MacDonnell, and lots of news clippings concerning various topics such as the history of Montreal, McGill University, the McGill faculty, Montreal General Hospital, and obituary notices. A second volume of dissection records (1896-1908) was compiled after MacDonnell’s death, and can be found in the library catalogue.

Finding Aids

Inventory list is available.

Custodial History

Old accession number 257 is for scrapbook 1. The other 2 scrapbooks and 1 dissection record book were added to P133 in August 2016, from the old McGill Medical Library Archives (MLA) acc. 544 (MLA item nos. 38/65/N/3/2; 38/65/N/3/7; 38/65/N/4/2).

A second volume of dissection records (1896-1908) was compiled a few years after MacDonnell’s death, and it has been catalogued separately (with a similar note attached to mention this first volume). The MLA Collection contains some correspondence material, certificates, and diplomas related to Richard Lea MacDonnell and his father, Robert Lea MacDonnell (38/65/Z, 38/65/N).


The documents are in English.

Source of Supplied Title Proper

Title based on the documents found in the collection.

Retrieval Number



1. Scrapbooks

2. Dissection Room Record Book


MacDonnell, Richard L., 1853-1891
McGill University - History
McGill University Doctors
Medical Historical Works