English physician and man of learning
Born 1815 Died 1900
Sir Henry Wentworth Acland Bart., was born near Exeter on the 23rd of August 1815, and was the fourth son of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland (1787-1871). Educated at Harrow and at Christ Church, Oxford, he was elected fellow of All Souls in 1840, and then studied medicine in London and Edinburgh. Returning to Oxford, he was appointed Lee's reader in anatomy at Christ Church in 1845, and in 1851 Radcliffe librarian and physician to the Radcliffe infirmary. Seven years later he became regius professor of medicine, a post which he retained till 1894. He was also a curator of the university galleries and of the Bodleian Library, and from 1858 to 1887 he represented his university on the General Medical Council, of which he served as president from 1874 to 1887. He was created a baronet in 1890, and ten years later, on the 16th of October 1900, he died at his house in Broad Street, Oxford.
Acland took a leading part in the revival of the Oxford medical school and in introducing the study of natural science into the university. As Lee's reader he began to form a collection of anatomical and physiological preparations on the plan of John Hunter, and the establishment of the Oxford University museum, opened in 1861, as a centre for the encouragement of the study of science, especially in relation to medicine, was largely due to his efforts. "To Henry Acland," said his lifelong friend, John Ruskin, "physiology was an entrusted gospel of which he was the solitary preacher to the heathen," but on the other hand his thorough classical training preserved science at Oxford from too abrupt a severance from the humanities.
In conjunction with Dean Liddell, he revolutionized the study of art and archaeology, so that the cultivation of these subjects, for which, as Ruskin declared, "no one at Oxford cared before that time", began to flourish in the university. Acland was also interested in questions of public health. He served on the royal commission on sanitary laws in England and Wales in 1869, and published a study of the outbreak of cholera at Oxford in 1854, together with various pamphlets on sanitary matters. His memoir on the topography of the Troad, with panoramic plan (1839), was among the fruits of a cruise which he made in the Mediterranean for the sake of his health.
Being the entry for ACLAND, SIR HENRY WENTWORTH, BART. in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.