The University of Kansas An Official Employee Publication From the Office of University Relations



Oct. 3 , 2003
Vol. 28, No. 4

Green chemistry
Minority enrollment increase sets record
Improved student services called key
McAllister to lead Dole Institute as interim director
Shadow dancers
United Way campaign challenges contributors
Financial woes cause Printing Services layoffs
Catholic, Jewish studies professorships established
Grad student stretches talents

Lecture series to bring writers, analysts to KU
AAUP organizes public forum on Patriot Act
Former professor solves royal mystery in Sickly Stuarts
KU joins study of doctoral education

New portable carts provide options for fast food, beverages

Peace Corps renews KU office grant

Faculty receive Higuchi awards
Novelist supports Watkins scholarship

Hispanic heritage celebrated at KU

August employees honored
Engineering hall to be dedicated
KU First
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Former professor solves royal mystery in Sickly Stuarts

By Jennifer Kepka

As all great mystery fans know, Dr. Holmes has all the answers, even when they aren’t so elementary.

For Frederick Holmes, a retired KU Medical Center physician and faculty member, pursuing a medical mystery has led to a new career as a writer.

This month, his book, The Sickly Stuarts: The Medical Downfall of a Dynasty, will be published in the United States.

Holmes says he was “looking for something to do with my retirement” when he started back to school in 1993 at the age of 60, pursuing a master’s degree in English history from KU. His thesis topic combined his love of history and his medical knowledge: Holmes looked into the rise and fall of the Stuart dynasty in England, theorizing that it was actually a combination of disease and disability, not bad fortune, that led to the family’s downfall.

Among his findings, Holmes discovered that Queen Anne, the last ruling monarch of the Stuart family, died of lupus, not gout. The queen’s disease also accounted for her 14 miscarriages and stillbirths; infectious disease claimed her other three children, all before the age of 10, dooming the House of Stuart to die, as well.

“The Stuarts ruled England from 1603 to 1714,” Holmes says. “They were very important people in English history.”

Upon completion of his thesis in 1998, Holmes—something of a rarity as a 68-year-old graduate—gained a little media attention. Shortly thereafter, his thesis topic—and his professed desire to turn the study into a book—gained much more attention, this time from publishers.

“I got all sorts of e-mails, and ultimately I got a publisher,” Holmes says.

Sutton Publishing released the book in England in June. This month it will be released stateside.

Having one book in print has not stopped Holmes’ desire to continue his work. Holmes, now 70, and his wife have plans for a second book, focusing on the practice of medicine in London in the 1700s. The book will be based partially on the correspondence between physicians at the time. The Holmeses plan to visit the libraries of London again to conduct research this November while in England for a book tour.

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