Robert Tabor 1642-1681
Sir Robert TABOR 1642-1681
Born in Cambridge, son of John Tabor, registrar to the Bishop of Ely. Apprenticed to a Cambridge apothecary, Peter Dent, before matriculating at St John’s, Cambridge 1663, but did not graduate. Moved to Essex in the early 1660s where he developed an effective medicine for marsh-ague (malaria) based on cinchona tree bark (quinine), then being imported from South America. Extended his practice to London and appointed a physician in ordinary to Charles II, 1672; his practice flourished, but not without opposition from the Royal College of Physicians. Travelled to Europe where he practised his cure on various royal and noble patients. Variously known as Tabor, Talbor and Talbot.
Tabor's will has no mention of books; the residue of his estate was bequeathed to his wife Elizabeth. His medical books were advertised as the appendix to an auction sale of the medical libraries of Thomas Allen and Christopher Terne, by Edward Millington in London, 12 April 1686. The interpretation of the catalogue is not certain but if Tabor’s books comprised the separate section at the end, headed Libri omissi, they comprised 210 lots plus 3 manuscripts, of medical and scientific titles, almost entirely in Latin. About 19% of these (ca.40) are 16th-century books, the remainder 17th-century. It is now known to what extent Tabor owned other, non-medical books.
None of Tabor’s books have been identified.
- Alston, R. C., Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, St Philip, 2010.
- Bibliothecae medicae … D. Christ. Terne D. Thomae Allen, 1686 (ESTC t26289).
- Dobson, Mary J. "Tabor [Talbor, Talbot], Sir Robert (bap. 1642, d. 1681), physician and apothecary." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.