Yeo, Gerald Francis (DNB12)

YEO, GERALD FRANCIS (1845–1909), physiologist, born in Dublin on 19 January 1845, was second son of Henry Yeo of Ceanchor, Howth, J.P., clerk of the rules, court of exchequer, by his wife Jane, daughter of Captain Ferns. Yeo was educated at the royal school, Dungannon, and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated moderator in natural science in 1866, proceeding M.B. and M.Ch. in 1867. In 1868 he gained the gold medal of the Dublin Pathological Society for an essay on renal disease. After studying abroad for three years, a year each in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, he proceeded M.D. at Dublin in 1871, and became next year M.R.C.P. and M.R.C.S. Ireland. For two years he taught physiology in the Carmichael school of medicine in Dublin. He was appointed professor of physiology in King's College, London, in 1875, and in 1877 assistant surgeon to King's College Hospital, becoming F.R.C.S.England in 1878. He delivered for the College of Surgeons the Arris and Gale lectures on anatomy and physiology in 1880–2. Yeo did much good work with (Sir) David Ferrier, a fellow professor of neuro-pathology at King's College, on the cerebral localisation in monkeys, but he was best known from 1875 as the first secretary of the Physiological Society, which was originally a dining club of the working physiologists of Great Britain. Yeo conducted the society's affairs with tact and energy until his resignation in 1889, when he was presented with a valuable souvenir of plate. In conjunction with Professor Krönecker of Berne, Yeo inaugurated the international physiological congresses which are held triennially; the first met at Basle in 1891.

Yeo was elected F.R.S. in 1889. He resigned his chair of physiology at King's College in 1890 and received the title of emeritus professor. He then retired to Totnes, Devonshire, and later to Fowey, where he devoted himself to yachting, fishing, and gardening. He died at Austin's Close, Harbertonford, Devonshire, on 1 May 1909. Yeo married (1) in 1873 Charlotte, only daughter of Isaac Kitchin of Rockferry, Cheshire (she died without issue in 1884); (2) in 1886 Augusta Frances, second daughter of Edward Hunt of Thomastown, co. Kilkenny, by whom he had one son.

Yeo, who was a fluent speaker with a rich brogue, was good-natured, generous, and full of common sense. His ‘Manual of Physiology for the Use of Students of Medicine’ (1884; 6th edit. 1894) was a useful and popular text-book. He contributed numerous scientific papers to the ‘Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society’ and to the ‘Journal of Physiology.’

[Cameron's History of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Dublin, 1886, p. 682; Brit. Med. Journal, 1909, i. 1158; Dublin Journal of Medical Science, vol. cxxvii. 1909 ad fin.; personal knowledge.]

D’A. P.