George Skene Keith

George Skene Keith (11 March 1819 – 12 January 1910) M.D., F.R.C.P., LL.D was a Scottish physician, photographer and author.


Keith was born in St Cyrus.[1] He took his M.D. degree in 1841 and was admitted a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd). He became a Fellow of the RCSEd in 1845.[1] Keith was a Gold Medallist in Professor James Young Simpson's class at University of Edinburgh.[2]

His father was minister Alexander Keith. In 1844, he visited Palestine with his father for five months and took some of the earliest photographs of the region.[3][4] He took 30 daguerreotypes, eighteen of which were published as engravings in his father's book Evidences of the Truth of the Christian Religion in 1848.[3][5][6]

In 1847, Keith took part in an experiment with James Young Simpson and colleagues which demonstrated the use of chloroform upon humans as an anaesthetic.[1] Keith practiced medicine successfully in Edinburgh until 1880 but later became disillusioned with the medical community and embraced simple living.[1] He was not fond of drugs, instead he prescribed little food, fresh air, plenty of hot water and rest to his patients.[7][8]



  1. ^ a b c d George Skene Keith, M.D., Ll.D., F.R.C.P.E. British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 2560, 1910, pp. 237–238.
  2. ^ George Skene Keith, M.D., F.R.C.P., LL.D. Edinburgh Medical Journal 4: 150
  3. ^ a b Gernsheim, Helmut; Gernsheim, Alison. (1968). L. J. M. Daguerre: The History of the Diorama and the Daguerreotype. Dover Publications. p. 159
  4. ^ Hannavy, John. (2008). Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Volume 1. Routledge. p. 476. ISBN 978-0-415-97235-2
  5. ^ Moscrop, John James. (1999). Measuring Jerusalem: The Palestine Exploration Fund and British Interests in the Holy Land. Leicester University Press. p. 48. ISBN 0-7185-0220-5
  6. ^ Marien, Mary Warner. (2002). Photography: A Cultural History. Laurence King Publishing. pp. 52-53. ISBN 978-1-85669-493-3
  7. ^ Plea for a Simpler Life, and Fads of an Old Physician. JAMA. 1900:XXXV (6): 371.
  8. ^ Gillespie AL. A Plea for a Simpler Life, and Fads of an Old Physician. Edinb Med J. 1900;8 (4):356–357.