William Keiller, M.D. Department of Anatomy Drawings

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Dr. William Keiller was born in Auchendinny, Scotland on July 4, 1861. He studied art as an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh, became interested in anatomy, and was accepted to study medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Physicians and Surgeons College of Glasgow. He earned medical degrees from both colleges in 1888.

In the summer of 1891, Dr. Keiller answered an ad in the British Medical Journal and was offered a position at the new University of Texas Medical Department in Galveston as its first anatomy professor. Dr. Keiller used his art training to demonstrate anatomical structures and relationships in his sketches and drawings. This training also benefited the university as demand for resources often exceeded tight budgets. Medical and anatomy textbooks were, and still are, expensive; therefore several of the drawings were copied from the illustrations in these textbooks thus saving money for both the university and the student. Most of the drawings are large, measuring 24” X 36” to 36” X 46”, because they were hung in classrooms and would need to be seen from a distance. Many of them are also very colorful and clearly labeled in great detail.

The drawings in this collection provide insight as to how anatomy was studied and taught at the beginning of the twentieth century. Scholars across a wide variety of disciplines including the history of medicine, twentieth century medical education, general history, and art history can benefit from access to these drawings.


The digitization of this collection was completed with funding provided by the South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL) Speedy Startups Award 2017.

The Blocker Collections was awarded the Texas Digital Library's Trailblazer Award 2018 for the digitization of this collection.


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