John Ker 1648/9-ca.1714

From Book Owners Online

John KER 1648/9-ca.1714

Biographical Note

Physician, of Scottish or Irish origin; described as “Hibernus” when he matriculated at Leiden in 1694, and as “Scoto-Britannus” on the titlepage of his thesis De secretionis animalis, Leiden, 1697. He is otherwise recorded only as the author of a substantial two-volume textbook on the writing of good Latin prose (Selectarum de lingua Latina observationum libri duo, 1709, “in usum juventutis”), and of Quaternae epistolae, to Richard Bentley, Ezechiel Spanheim and L. F. Bonet, published in 1713.


Part of Ker’s library was sold by auction in London, by Fletcher Gyles, beginning 19 April 1714. The catalogue noted the collection’s particular strengths in grammar and languages: “’tis uncommon, to find so great a number and variety of grammars, rhetorics, and other best helps, to attain perfection in the three learned languages”. It included 1647 lots, divided between Latin theology (290), Latin (and Greek) philology (984), Latin philosophy, law, mathematics and medicine (284), and French books (89); the sale included no English language material, and this element in Ker’s library must have been disposed of separately.

Characteristic Markings

None of Ker’s books have been identified.


  • Alston, R. C. Inventory of sale catalogues 1676-1800. St Philip, 2010.
  • Innes-Smith, R. W. English-speaking students of medicine at Leyden, 1932, 133.