Born in Lanark in 1856, John Glaister was a pioneer of forensic science becoming Professor of Forensic Medicine and Public Health (and later regius chair in same) at Glasgow University.
The latest edition of his text book ‘A Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence, Toxicology and Public Health’ is still a standard text today.
His parents wanted him to study law but, after their deaths when he was 15, he was sent to Glasgow University by his uncle to study medicine and completed the course in four years. His interest in forensics came after reading a report written by former pupil William Smellie, the 18th century obstetrician.
Glaister had a high public profile due to his regular and often dramatic appearances in court as an expert witness and titbits of his evidence were recorded faithfully in the sensational press. The novelist and lawyer Erle Stanley Gardner, author of the popular Perry Mason books, dedicated one of his novels 'The Case of the Horrified Heirs' to him.
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