S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Gordon, Dr Henry Laing (medicine)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

H. Laing Gordon qualified as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Master of Surgery (CM) at Edinburgh in 1889. By 1897 he resided in Middelburg, Cape Colony. In that year he contributed a brief article on "The high altitude climate" to a book by W.C. Scholtz*, The South African climate..., which dealt mainly with the country as a health resort. He must have left the Cape Colony that same year, for in January 1898 he was listed as living in London as a member of the (second) South African Medical Association. A book on medical history by him, Sir James Young Simpson and chloroform (1811-1870), was published in London in 1897. During the years 1899 to 1905 he published several medical papers in British journals. He also wrote The modern mother; a guide to girlhood, motherhood, and infancy (London, not dated); by the time a subsequent edition appeared (New York, 1909) he had qualified as Doctor of Medicine (MD).

In 1911 Gordon was back in South Africa, living in Musina (Limpopo). Here he wrote a pamphlet, The prevention of malaria in Northern Transvaal, which was issued by the South African Anti-malarial Association and published in Johannesburg. At the time of a subsequent edition, published in 1913, he had already left Musina.

In 1925 Gordon settled in Kenya, where he appears to have practiced as a psychiatrist. He published papers on mental problems among Europeans in that country (1928) and the diagnosis of mental retardation in Africans (1930), and was a leading figure in the eugenics movement in Kenya.

List of sources:

Google scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za Publications by H. Laing Gordon.

Mendelssohn, S. South African bibliography. London, 1910.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

South African medical directory for 1897. Cape Town: Cape Times, 1897.

South African Medical Journal, January 1898, Vol. 5, pp. 240-242: South African Medical Association [list of members].

Compiled by: C. Plug