Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Mysterious Dr. Barry
Indeed, Dr. James Miranda Barry had graduated from the Medical School of Edinburgh in 1812 and went on to enjoy a successful career as an army surgeon, eventually becoming Inspector General of Hospitals. As Rachel writes above, it was only discovered after his death at a house in Cavendish Square that he was, in fact, a woman. Odder still when you consider that he'd once fought a duel over a woman, while on the other hand, rumor had it that he'd had a homosexual affair with Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of Cape Town, where Barry spent many years in his company. Charles Somerset was the son of the 5th Duke of Beaufort and brother to Lord Fitzroy Somerset. Sophia Bishop, the maid who'd laid out the body, also claimed to have found stretch marks on the body indicative of the fact that the doctor had at least once been pregnant.
For more information on this story, try Dr James Barry: The Early Years Revealed published in the South African Medical Journal in January of 2008 by Hercules Michael du Preez and
The Secret Life of Dr James Barry: Victorian England's Most Eminent Surgeon by Rachel Holmes