Monro's father, John Monro (1670-1740), an army surgeon, and later a surgeon-apothecary in Edinburgh, was instrumental in the founding of the medical school in Edinburgh in 1726. After studying medicine in London under Cheselden, and also in Paris and Leiden under Boerhaave, Alexander became one of the first professors of the newly opened medical school at Edinburgh, a position he held for the next forty years, eventually being succeeded by his son, Alexander Monro, the Younger. One of Monro's students was Oliver Goldsmith, who studied at Edinburgh between 1752 and 1754. In 1726 The anatomy of the humane bones was published at Edinburgh. It appeared without illustration, as Monro intended the work as a commentary on actual demonstrations of dissection; he was aware, moreover, that his old teacher Cheselden was preparing his atlas Osteographia. To the second and subsequent editions were added an account of the nerves, a commentary of Boerhaave's views on the motion of the heart, and descriptions of the thoracic duct. By 1728 twenty editions of this extremely popular work had appeared. In 1759 a magnificent illustrated edition was published in Paris, without Monro's consent. It was edited and translated by Jean-Joseph Sue, a distinguished anatomist and professor of medicine. The thirty-two plates, engraved by a variety of people, have elaborate backgrounds, and are accompanied by outline drawings. Plate 4 portrays a female skeleton, one of the earliest depictions in an anatomical work; it was copied, with modifications, from Felix Platter's De corporis humani (1583). Monro planned to issue his own illustrated edition, but never carried out his plan.