John Charles Boileau Grant

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John Charles Boileau Grant (1886-1973) was the fourth Professor and Chair of Anatomy in the Faculty of Medicine from 1930 to 1965.  Dr. Grant was an eminent anatomist and the author of three textbooks, one of which, Grant's Atlas of Anatomy (1943), has gone through thirteen editions and is still used worldwide. It is without a doubt, the most successful book written by a U of T Faculty of Medicine professor. His worldwide fame, some might argue, is only second to Frederick Banting and his discovery of Insulin.

Born in Loanhead, Scotland, Grant graduated from the University of Edinburgh medical school in 1908. He then spent two years as an anatomy demonstrator and then became a resident at the Bristol Infirmary. Dr. Grant came to Toronto after serving as Professor and Chair in Anatomy at the University of Manitoba from 1919 to 1930.  When he first came to U of T, he established a Museum of Anatomy with the specimens in characteristic four-sided jars, set on revolving bases for easy viewing. The museum was used as a teaching tool for students to study anatomy from a large private collection. In 2007 the Toronto Star called it a "macabre collection" but to medical students it contunes to function as an integral resource part of their education.

Grant became known in Toronto for his dramatic lecturing style that involved, as all the great anatomy professors prided themselves, on being able to draw the intricate organs of the body on the blackboard. He also instituted the departmental tradition of having demonstrators wear blue-coloured lab coats so that they could be easily identified in the dissecting laboratory.  It was during his tenure that the Department of Anatomy was repeatedly voted by the graduating class as the best department during their undergraduate studies. In 1932, Grant established a Division of Histology and welcomed the idea of graduate studies being brought to the Faculty of Medicine, though that would not become a reality until near the end of Grant's life. Grant died in Toronto on August 14th, 1973.






Hall, Joseph. A Macabre Collecion. Toronto Star, published July 7th, 2007

Shorter, Edward. 2013. Partnership for excellence: medicine at the University of Toronto and academic hospitals. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Tobias, P.V. "The contributions of J. C. Boileau Grant to the teaching of anatomy" The South African Medical Journal, (vol. 83), May 1993. 



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