William Percivall (1792-1854)

William Percivall (1792-1854) was an Army officer and veterinarian who supported advancement of the profession of veterinary medicine through his writing and by founding an influential veterinary journal. Percivall graduated from the London school in 1811. He wrote The Anatomy of the Horse in 1832 and the 4-volume Hippopathology published between 1834 and 1852. Embracing his interest in veterinary education for practitioners and concern about the quality of teaching at the London school, he published Lectures on the Form and Action of Horses in 1850. All are in the Rosen collection. In 1868 he published The Horse: Embracing the Structure of the Foot which is not in the Rosen collection, but in the University of Saskatchewan's Veterinary Medicine Rare collection.

Percivall was the founder and first and last editor of The Veterinarian. He was joined by William Youatt in 1828 during the first year of the journal’s life, but Percivall withdrew during the difficult years and returned in 1847 when Youatt passed away and continued as sole editor until 1854. “The objectives of The Veterinarian were to benefit the profession by the publication and transmission of knowledge and also to reform the London Veterinary School” (Jones, 2015, p. 351). On Percivall’s death the journal was purchased and passed to the London Veterinary College. In 1902 it merged with The Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics and ceased to exist as a separate entity. More information on Percival and Youatt's journal is in the Veterinary Journals section.

“The advancement of veterinary knowledge by clinical observation was a feature ever present with Percivall. It was one of the reasons why The Veterinarian existed.” (Smith, 1976b, p. 170).

keywords: military veterinarian; science writer/publisher

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