James Crichton-Browne (1840–1938)
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James Crichton-Browne was born on November 29, 1840, at his mother’s family home, 3 St John’s Hill, Edinburgh, close to the University . He was given his second name, Crichton, to mark the munificence of Mrs Elizabeth Crichton, who had given £100,000 to found an asylum at Dumfries in 1839, and was chosen as his godmother . His mother, Magdalene Howden Balfour, possessed a wide literary knowledge and came from a family of scientists, while his father, Dr William Alexander Francis Browne (1805–1885), one of the most prominent medical psychologists in Scotland at the time, was the physician-superintendent of the Crichton Royal Institution at Dumfries. Unsurprisingly many notable figures in medicine, science and literature were frequent guests in Browne’s home. This cultured intellectual and literary atmosphere strongly influenced the young minds of James and his brothers, William—who died in 1846, aged 11—and John Hutton Balfour Browne, who became the eminent King’s Counsel and...
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