CAMPBELL, GEORGE WILLIAM, physician, educator, and businessman; b. 19 Oct. 1810 in Roseneath (Strathclyde), Scotland, son of Robert Campbell, chamberlain, and Catherine Campbell; m. Margaret Hutchison, stepdaughter of William Lunn, and they had four children; d. 30 May 1882 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was buried 16 June 1882 in Montreal, Que.
George William Campbell, a superior student, was educated by a tutor at his home in Roseneath before studying medicine for one year in Dublin. He completed his training at the medical school in Glasgow, graduating md in 1833. In May of that year he immigrated to Montreal, where he practised medicine for the remainder of his life. In 1835 Campbell joined the founders of the medical faculty of McGill College and became professor of surgery, an appointment he retained until 1875 (when he received an honorary lld from the college), and professor of midwifery (a chair he relinquished in 1842). In 1835 he was also elected attending physician and surgeon to the Montreal General Hospital, a valuable position for a young doctor building a practice. He served actively in the hospital until 1853 when, now thoroughly established, he resigned and was placed on the consulting staff. One of his patients in the late 1850s was James Barry*, whose death in 1865 began a curious controversy concerning his sex. In 1860, when the first dean of the McGill medical faculty, Andrew Fernando Holmes*, died, Campbell succeeded him and continued in that office until his death.
As a teacher Campbell was dry and direct, and was much respected by his students. He strongly supported lecturing as a mode of teaching. Campbell published only a few case reports and addresses. His strengths in his medical career were surgical skill and administrative ability, and he is especially remembered for the latter. His effectiveness as dean was enhanced by his remaining aloof from the fierce political struggles within the profession and the faculty. Through the quality of Campbell’s administration and the work of noted physicians on its staff such as Robert Palmer Howard and William Osler*, the medical faculty of McGill College came to be recognized as one of the top three or four medical schools on the continent.
The management of a large fortune amassed during an unusually successful surgical career involved Campbell actively in business. From 1869 until his death he was a director of the Bank of Montreal, and he was vice-president of that institution from 1876 to 1882. He also held directorships in the Montreal Telegraph Company and the Montreal Gas Company, and was associated as an active stockholder in a large number of local and national business ventures.
Among G. W. Campbell’s publications was an “Introductory lecture,” Canada Medical Journal and Monthly Record of Medical and Surgical Science (Montreal), 6 (1869): 145–64.
PAC, RG 30, 10484–85. Canada Medical and Surgical Journal, 10 (1882): 699–703. Canada Medical Record (Montreal), 10 (1882): 213–15. G. P. Girdwood, “Introductory lecture delivered on Friday, 1 October 1875, at the opening of the forty-third session of the medical faculty of McGill University,” Canada Medical and Surgical Journal (Montreal), 4 (1876): 193–94. R. P. Howard, A sketch of the life of the late G. W. Campbell, A.M., M.D., LL.D., late dean of the medical faculty, and a summary of the history of the faculty (Montreal, 1882). Montreal Daily Star, 15 June 1882. Dominion annual register, 1882: 334–35. H. [W.] Cushing, The life of Sir William Osler (2v., Oxford, 1925; repr. London and Toronto, 1940). Heagerty, Four centuries of medical hist. in Can., II: 71. [F. J. Shepherd], “Biographical note: Geo. W. Campbell,” McGill News (Montreal), 6 (1925): 2.