Public Information, private lives: Dr James Craufurd Dunlop and the collection of vital statistics in Scotland, 1904–30

Gayle Davis, Rosemary Elliot

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Medicine, law and public policy intersect in the history of the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), and nowhere more so than in the career of Dr James Crauford Dunlop. From his appointment as Medical Superintendent of Statistics in 1909 to his retirement from the post of Registrar General in 1930, his career spanned a significant period of expansion of the boundaries of the British information state. Prominent concerns in England during these decades were eugenics, declining fertility, and population health. However, these concerns were notably absent in Scotland, where the GROS was concerned principally to protect the individual from increasingly intrusive state surveillance. Dunlop’s appointment was particularly significant because he was the first medical man appointed as Registrar General for Scotland, a post normally held by barristers. This chapter explores whether his appointment marks a transition within the vital statistics of Scotland from a legal to a medical framework.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedicine, Law and Public Policy in Scotland, c.1850-1990
Subtitle of host publicationEssays Presented to Anne Crowther
EditorsMark Freeman, Eleanor Gordon, Krista Maglen
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Chapter6
Pages105-124
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781474406222
ISBN (Print)9781845861162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2011

Keywords

  • civil registration
  • Scotland
  • General Register Office for Scotland
  • medical statistics

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