Medical Student and Practitioner

Superintendents |  Young Adventurer |  Medical Student and Practitioner
Alienist and Administrator |  Man of Letters |  Philosopher

In 1858, R. Maurice Bucke enrolled as a student of medicine at McGill University. The medical school at McGill was considered one of the best in North America at the time. Students studied a variety of topics, including anatomy, chemistry, and pharmacology. They were required to work in the hospital for twelve months and complete a thesis for their degree. In 1862, Bucke graduated as the year's gold medalist and won several prizes, including an award for his thesis on "The Correlation of the Vital and Physical Forces."

After obtaining his medical degree at McGill, Dr. Bucke left for Europe to complete post-graduate studies in London and Paris. It was during his time in London that he met Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, a physician whose ideas were highly influential in shaping Dr. Bucke's treatment methods as a later alienist (one who specialized in the treatment of mental disorders). Richardson was an advocate against the use of alcohol, both medically and socially. When Dr. Bucke was Medical Superintendent at the London Asylum for the Insane, he attributed his decision to discontinue alcohol use to Richardson.

Dr. Bucke returned to Canada at the end of 1863, and took over his late brother's medical practice in Sarnia, Ontario. In 1865, Bucke married Jessie Maria Gurd and settled into his career as a general medical practitioner until his appointment to the Asylum for the Insane in Hamilton in 1876.