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Clinical Manual for India – an internally published handbook for medical students of the Madras Medical College in the late 19th century


A printed book, titled ‘Clinical Manual for India: Compiled for the Use of the Students of the Madras Medical College’ (hereafter, ‘MMC Manual’), was available for student use in the Madras Medical College (MMC) between 1878 and 1897. The first edition of this book must have served as casual class notes prepared by Arthur Branfoot, Professor of Midwifery at MMC in 1878. The second and third editions, more formally prepared than the first, were printed books compiled and edited by Charles Sibthorpe, who taught pathology at MMC. The fourth and the last edition was compiled and edited by a team consisting of Branfoot, John Maitland (Surgeon), and John Smyth (Physician), academics at MMC and concurrently, full surgeons at the Madras General Hospital. This Manual, which might have served similar to either a study guide or a handbook, impresses as a unique effort in enabling and empowering the MB&CM and LM&S students at MMC at that time. The book was intended for the use of medical students of MMC only. No book of similar kind existed for students in medical colleges in other Indian presidencies. Here, we briefly examine the contents of the available 1883 (the second) and 1897 (the fourth) editions of the MMC Manual. The fourth (1897) edition strongly resembles James Finlayson’s ‘Clinical Manual for the Study of Medical Cases’ (1891) in contents and design. The ‘Clinical Manual for India’ impresses as a powerful and useful teaching – learning tool, especially of diagnostic medicine, since it includes most of the relevant medical information, in spite of a few weaknesses. Notably it cites some of the then newly published medical journal articles and books.


“Clinical Manual for India: Compiled for the Use of the Students of the Madras Medical College”, history, examination of contents

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