S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Grant, Dr William Gordon (gynaecology)

Born: Date not known, Scotland.
Died: 1960, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

W. Gordon Grant studied at the University of Aberdeen, where he was awarded the degrees Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Master in Surgery (CM) in 1895, and Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 1898. He also spent some time at the Universities of Berlin, Munich, London, and Paris, funded by a Thomson travelling fellowship of the University of Aberdeen.

Grant came to South Africa in 1904 to take up the post of gynaecologist at the Johannesburg General Hospital and the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women (later the Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital). In 1907 he read a paper before the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Section of the South African Medical Congress on "A series of cases of procidentia". The paper was published in the Transvaal Medical Journal (1908/9, Vol. 4). Two further short papers by Grant appeared in the same volume: "A case of suppurating dermoid cyst of the ovary undergoing malignant degeneration", and "Indications for and against the use of the curette". The next year he described "Operations during pregnancy upon pelvic and neighbouring abdominal regions" (Ibid, 1909/10, Vol. 5).

In addition to his positions at the hospitals, Grant began a private practice at some time before 1916. During the nineteen-thirties his consulting rooms were located in Jeppe Street, while he resided in Parktown. In 1921 he was appointed as the first (part-time) professor of gynaecology at the University of the Witwatersrand and from 1929 as professor of both obstetrics and gynaecology, a post he held until his retirement in 1938. Meanwhile he continued to serve as honorary gynaecologist at the Johannesburg General Hospital and honorary physician at the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women, at least for some years. He has been described as "the doyen of gynaecologists in South Africa.... A strong but dour man, and a skilled surgeon, he was often feared by subordinate staff and students" (Murray, 1982, pp. 246-247). Grant was survived by his wife, Isobel Edith Louise, born Brown.

List of sources:
General directory of South Africa (Johannesburg), 1916.

Medical, dental and pharmacy directory of South Africa, 1926/7.

Medical, dental and pharmacy register for the Transvaal, 1907.

Murray, B.K. Wits: The early years. A history of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and its precursors, 1896-1939. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1982.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to
Documents relating to Grant, William Gordon.

Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa (SESA). Cape Town: NASOU, 1970-1976.

Transvaal Medical Journal, 1908/9, Vol. 4 and 1909/10, Vol. 5, papers by Grant.

United Transvaal directory (Johannesburg), 1926, 1933, 1937, 1940. Johannesburg: United Transvaal Directory Co.

Compiled by: C. Plug