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Sir William Thornley Stoker, Bart., M.D.

B. 6 March 1845 at Dublin, Ireland

D. 1 June 1912 at Dublin, Ireland

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Educated at Wymondham Grammar School, Norfolk, England

and the Queen’s College, Galway, Ireland

William Thornley Stoker, A Family Perspective

 

Thornley was Bram’s oldest brother and, during their lifetimes, arguably the most successful and well known of all the Stoker siblings. A gifted scholar, he studied medicine at Queen’s College, Galway, graduating in 1866. He remained there for several years in a teaching capacity before entering private practice, where he soon earned a reputation as a skilled surgeon. He made a career of surgical practice and research, becoming a Fellow of the Royal University and serving as president of both the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Royal Academy of Medicine. A noted expert in abdominal and cranial surgery, he not only produced numerous watershed medical texts, but also was the first surgeon to perform a variety of modern procedures in Ireland. Ever on the cutting edge, he also has the credit of organizing Ireland’s first modern school of nursing.

 

Thornley also had an active life outside of medicine, serving as governor of the National Gallery of Ireland and a senior figure of the Royal Hibernian Academy. His national eminence in medicine led to significant social stature as well, as he was honored with a knighthood in 1895 and a baronetcy in 1911. In Thornley is perhaps best exemplified the Stoker family’s rise from humble respectability to social prominence, which largely took place during Thornley and Bram’s lifetimes. When he passed away in 1912, six weeks after Bram, an obituary honored his life accordingly: “Starting in life without resources other than intellect and energy, he arrived at a professional position given to few, and at a social position in his native land second to none.”

 

Bram’s knowledge of state-of-the-art medical practices, such as the transfusions which appear in Dracula, is largely credited to Thornley. 

 

- W. Parker Stoker, 2018