School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Wolf wins Scottish History Society Postgraduate Prize

The Scottish History Society has awarded its annual postgraduate prize for 2012 to Jeffrey Wolf.

Jeff, a PhD student, is supervised by Dr Thomas Ahnert in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and Dr John Henry, Director of the Science Studies Unit, School of Social and Political Science.

This prestigious prize is awarded for the best transcription (with historical introduction) of an unpublished primary source in the field of Scottish history. It recognises excellence in source identification and contextualisation, as well as in the technical skills involved in transcription. The competition is open to anyone registered for any postgraduate degree at any university or anyone within five years of graduation with a postgraduate qualification.

Research recognition

Jeff is completing his PhD thesis on the medical theory of the eighteenth-century Scottish chemist and physician, Dr William Cullen (1710-1790).

Jeff says, “Dr Cullen taught for many years as a Professor at the Edinburgh Medical School, during its heyday in the Scottish Enlightenment.

“Cullen was a popular teacher, influential textbook author, renowned clinician, and an active member in Edinburgh intellectual circles during the latter half of the eighteenth century.”

Transcribing Cullen’s Treatise

Jeff's winning transcription is a selection of unpublished material from the Cullen Papers, held at Special Collections, Glasgow University Library. Specifically, Jeff has transcribed the longest and most substantial unpublished work in Cullen's hand that remains extant, his unfinished Treatise on the Preservation of Health (c. 1783-85).

The work is significant because it highlights Cullen's deep interest in a topic that previous scholarship has not typically linked to him, and it also provides an illustrative example of a learned physician struggling with how — and whether — to popularise his views for a growing reading public. As the 2012 winner, Jeff has received a prize of £350, membership in the Scottish History Society for one year, and consideration for the publication of his transcript in a future Miscellany volume published by the Society.