William Ramsay McNab

1844 - 1889

Botanist and physician. Born in Edinburgh into a line of horticulturalists, McNab's father was James McNab (1810-78), a curator at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and then read medicine and botany at the University of Edinburgh. He studied for a year in Germany. In 1867, he began his career in the Crichton Royal Hospital in Dumfries, but then abandoned medicine and turned to botany. In 1870, he was appointed Professor of Natural History at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. He then moved to Dublin as Professor of Botany at the Royal College of Science and was later gained an additional appointment as Scientific Superintendent to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin (Dublin). He died of heart failure aged only forty-five and his wife was forced to sell his books, equipment and herbarium to support herself and their five children. He is buried in Dublin but is also remembered on his parents stone in Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh.

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