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Biographical entry Targett, James Henry (1862 - 1913)

MRCS Jan 24th 1883; FRCS Dec 9th 1886; MB Lond (Honours in forensic medicine) 1883; BS (Hons) 1885; MS 1887.

26 May 1913
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Born in Wiltshire, the son of a farmer. He received his education partly at the Grammar School at Warminster, and then, being in weak health, from a tutor at Salisbury.

He entered Guy's Hospital as a student in October, 1878, having already matriculated at London University. In 1883 he gained two prizes in the Medical School at Guy's Hospital, was then House Physician and House Surgeon, and was appointed Surgical Registrar for two years, 1885-1887. In 1887 he was appointed Assistant Curator of the Museum at Guy's Hospital, and in 1888 Pathological Assistant at the Royal College of Surgeons, succeeding Frederick Samuel Eve (qv) as Pathological Curator in 1890. He held this post till 1897, when S G Shattock (qv) succeeded him. He was elected Demonstrator of Anatomy and Biology at Guy's Hospital before 1897, and served in that department for six years. He was also Assistant Surgeon to the Evelina Hospital for Children. He taught Practical Surgery and Morbid Histology at Guy's Hospital from 1895-1897, when he was appointed Obstetric Registrar and Tutor and, in 1898, Assistant Obstetric Physician, holding this post for five years, and combining it with that of Surgeon to Out-patients at the Samaritan Free Hospital for Women. On the retirement of Dr A L Galabin he became full Gynaecological Surgeon at Guy's Hospital in 1903, sharing his duties with Dr Horrocks. At the time of his death he was Obstetric Surgeon, the name of his office having been changed, as well as Joint Lecturer on Obstetrics.

At the Royal College of Surgeons he was Assistant in the Museum, 1888-1890, and Pathological Curator from 1890-1913, Erasmus Wilson Lecturer in 1893, 1894, and 1895, his subjects being "Pathology of Tumours connected with the Bladder", "On Some Interesting Additions to the Pathological Department of the Museum", and "Recent Additions to the Museum". He edited seven Appendices to the Catalogue of the Museum, Pathological Specimens, Appendix V to Appendix XI, 1891-1897.

He was elected a Fellow of the Obstetrical Society in 1891 and contributed some twenty-five papers to its Transactions, and here his wide pathological knowledge served him well. From its foundation to within three or four years of his death Targett examined morbid growths for the Clinical Research Association. He was an Examiner in Midwifery at the Conjoint Board from 1901-1906, and from 1908 to the time of his last illness. From 1900-1902 he served on the Board of Examiners for Midwives.

He died at his residence, 19 Upper Wimpole Street, from ulcerative endocarditis, on May 26th, 1913, being survived by Mrs Targett. A fine portrait of him is in the Guy's Hospital Gazette (1918, xxvii, 490). He had only one child, a son, who died of appendicitis in 1911.

A very full bibliography of Targett's publications, some ninety-five in number, by Mr William Wale, Librarian of Guy's Hospital, accompanies his biography in the Guy's Hospital Gazette (1913, xxvii, 243). It has been printed separately with portrait, and was the first complete bibliography of a Fellow to be published up to 1920. A copy is in the College Library.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England