John Marshall Cowan

Biography of John Marshall Cowan

John Marshall Cowan was born in Helensburgh on 22nd May 1870, the son of John Black Cowan, Professor of Materia Medica and Senate's Assessor at the University.

John first attended the University in the session 1887/88, aged 17, to study Medicine, however only studied for one year. However, he returned to the University and studied here for a total of nine years. He graduated BA from King's College Cambridge in 1891, MBChB in 1895, MD from Cambridge in 1902, DSc from Glasgow in 1904 and was awarded an honorary LLD from Glasgow in 1937 in recognition of his work in the field of cardiology. He became a fellow of the Faculty of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow in 1898.

Cowan was lecturer in Clinical Medicine at the University of Glasgow from 1912-1922, and later held the Chair of Medicine at Anderson's College of Medicine. He was examiner for the Universities of Cambridge, Manchester and St Andrews, and held many other important medical posts, including his appointment in 1925 to the position of Honorary Physician to His Majesty the King in Scotland. During his career he worked in Glasgow hospitals including the Western Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Belvidere Fever Hospital. He was one of the pioneers in the use of the electrocardiograph.

Cowan served as a physician in the Boer War from 1900-1902, and during WWI he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as consulting physician to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and following the War became consultant in cardiovascular diseases to the Ministry of Pensions.

He died at his home in Kilmacolm on 15 August 1947, aged 77.


John Marshall Cowan
Born 22 May 1870, Helensburgh, Scotland.
Died 15 September 1947.
University Link: Graduate, Lecturer
GU Degrees: DSc, 1904; LLD, 1937;
Occupation categories: cardiologists; doctor; electrocardiologists; Physician
Additional Information: Sources: R3/1/1 (vol 2); Obituary in 'The Lancet', vol 250, issue 6469, 23/08/1947, p301; Medical Directory, 1914.
Record last updated: 12th Jul 2016

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