Friday, July 29, 2011

Run down, and needing rest and change?

Are you a nerve-exhausted town dweller? Dyspeptic, depressed, anaemic? Trying to think and just getting no response from your brain no matter how hard you press down on the accelerator?

Late July, and schools across the United Kingdom have closed for the summer. Departure lounges and roads to the south are clogged with families heading off on holiday, whilst back in the office even for people without children the atmosphere changes: we may not any longer be bound by the school timetable but prolonged exposure to it in formative years hammers home the message that the six weeks coming up are different in some way. One of the saddest discoveries of starting most jobs is the realisation that from now on, commuting will go on through much of August as well, and one may cling fondly to the idea that there will be at least some form of summer slow-down in blatant contradiction of the evidence.

Well, for most of us the long summer holidays of childhood are gone for ever; but to cushion the blow, we invite you to take at least a short weekend break courtesy of the Wellcome Library. The Library, as regular users will know, is rich in travel writing: wherever humans go, disease and injury follow them, so no matter how obscure a corner of the world one selects, the chances are that a doctor will be there recording his or her impressions. (See our guide to unpublished travel writings in the archives for an overview ; or, for some ripping yarns of medical men going into the unknown, come along to the next running of our “Around the World in 100 Years” Insights Tour.) This posting, however, is intended simply to be a quick weekend break to keep you going until your proper holiday, so we will stay closer to home and allow ourselves to be pampered at a good hotel rather than plunging into the unknown…

One of the frequently-used sources in the Library’s special Quick Reference Area is the Medical Directory (earlier volumes here), of which the library has a long and virtually complete run described in an earlier blog post. As a tool for biography and family history, a means of finding out about individual medical men and women, it is unrivalled. There is, however, a lot more to it: each annual volume represents a snapshot of the medical profession in the UK, listing not merely practitioners but also hospitals, medical societies, benevolent funds, dispensaries … and healing spas. In addition to the official Directory, too, there are advertisements for medical services and equipment, and here again spas and resorts occur. Using this material, we will treat ourselves to a weekend away at a spa in the years between the World Wars.

Spa treatment has been recommended over the years for a huge variety of ailments. In the Medical Directory advertisements, we see it indicated for bronchial complaints, tuberculosis, arthritis, scrofula, sciatica, alcoholism, obesity and constipation – to pluck some conditions completely at random. This blog, of course, cannot offer medical advice and we would urge anyone suffering from most of the complaints listed above to consult a doctor – we will concern ourselves with the more general, vague feeling, so common at this time of year, that there are better places to be than at one’s desk.

But where will we go? The range is huge. Health resorts occur in all corners of the country, linked by the thousands of miles of pre-Beeching Report railway (and, despite the founding of the Irish Free State some years before that gave Ireland her independence, the Directory also lists resorts in Ireland, such as Lisdoonvarna in County Clare). Some are spas in the strict sense of the world, growing up around a mineral spring with medicinal value, but others are health resorts in the broader sense, allowing one to relax and recharge in a pleasant environment. Sometimes this is the seaside, sometimes the mountains. Levels of activity vary: in many cases the sedate stereotype of the genteel watering-place is clearly appropriate, but in others it most certainly is not: the Directory lists Blackpool as a health resort, for example, and whilst that may or may not be true even its best friends could never call Blackpool sedate. Climate varies too, from one end of the country to another, and whilst one patient may need a mild climate for another a brisk breeze may be called for. There is clearly the need for an online flow-chart that will take people through the intricacies of choice and work out the precise spa that would be appropriate for someone suffering from lethargy and constipation but able to deal with chilliness and averse to sea-bathing – here, all we can do is set out some examples…

The resorts of the south and south-west, where winter is mildest, are recommended for people struggling to cope with the British climate. Torquay proclaims itself good for “delicate children of Anglo-Indian stock” and Ventnor, similarly, targets “delicate, Indian-born, children, weakly girls at puberty, and ... the infirm and aged who have no cardiac weakness.” The adjoining towns of Hastings and St Leonards, meanwhile, boast a winter climate notable for “mildness and equability”: there is “a fine sea-front where invalids can walk, sit or drive almost daily during the winter, and good sea-bathing in summer.” In general, although St. Leonards (to the west of Hastings itself) is less sheltered and “rather more bracing”, the two resorts form
“a harbour of refuge for those who are physically unequal to the struggle against the inclement, changeable and sometimes severe wintry weather experienced in other parts of the British Isles.”


As we all know, that inclement and wintry weather doesn’t have to happen in winter – it can come at any time, as much of June demonstrated! For most of us, however, summer is a time to look for something a bit more bracing. Here the Scottish resorts come into their own; latitude (and in some cases altitude) gives them a cooler climate akin to that some way up in the Alps, with the added bonus of the Northern summer's long days. Speyside – a chain of small towns centred on Grantown-on-Spey - offers air that is “singularly fresh and pure, and the atmosphere translucent and free from excess of humidity, owing perhaps partly to the formation of granitic rocks…” Further north still, Strathpeffer – Britain’s most northerly spa – makes similar claims:
“The climate of Strathpeffer is sheltered and sedative, but on the upper slopes the air is fresh and invigorating…. Strathpeffer is therefore eminently a tonic spa.”

All the Scottish spas offer golf, of course; other physical activities available might include walking on the hills or in the sheltered forests of the Spey valley, tennis or bowls. Permits for fishing can also be obtained (we are in the world of John Buchan and would expect no less) and Nethy Bridge, on the Spey, markets itself particularly to “the tired health seeker who is also a trout fisher.”

It all sounds wonderful and definitely one would expect it to have “a powerful restorative effect in many cases of nervous and mental fatigue and overstrain, insomnia, nervous dyspepsia and depression, especially in middle and later life” (as Speyside sells itself). One must, however, be careful not to overdo it – as Braemar counsels, “It should be remembered that the northern and stimulating air is an incentive (sometimes undesirable) to active exercise”, even if one has been ordered expressly to relax.

Strathpeffer, as well as golf and walking, offers also the unappetising prospect of the “one of the most highly sulphuretted waters in Europe”, to be quaffed medicinally by the residents. Downing vast stoups of something that tastes like someone else’s used bath-water is, of course, the downside to residence at many health resorts. No such drawbacks await you at Blackpool: the “chief watering place of Lancashire” takes its water externally, on the seven miles of sea-front. Emerging from the sea, one may amuse oneself in all sorts of ways: “the promenades and rock gardens, the covered colonnade and piers…cinemas, tennis, golf, bowling … the children’s playgrounds, sea and motor excursions.” However, as the advertisement coyly points out, “The annual number of visitors and excursionists is believed to be more than five millions, and Blackpool is not an invalid’s resort in the summer season” – which is certainly one way of putting it.

On the facing page, through the random action of alphabetical order, we find the more genteel resort of Bude in Cornwall. Here, there is sea-bathing, and for those unwilling to face the sea the Bude Canal can be pressed into service (built in the nineteenth century to carry fertiliser inland, by now the canal was curtailed to the bottom mile or so: its state today). Facing west, it receives strong Atlantic winds which make it less suitable than some resorts for the physically frail but
“In the early summer and the autumn months… the climate is very good for those who require a pure and invigorating air. Cases of bronchial catarrhs and early phthisis, anaemia, debility and ‘brain-fag’, are stated to respond favourably at Bude.”

“Brain-fag” …. we can all relate to that, can’t we? Jeeves, pack our bags and bring the Bentley round to the front; we’re off to to the seaside to recharge the bean.

Images: all from the 1933 Medical Directory.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Historic Arabic medical manuscripts go online


The Wellcome Library is pleased to announce the launch of Wellcome Arabic Manuscripts Online, a digital manuscript library created in partnership with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and King's College London Department of Digital Humanities.

From the official press release:
Arabic medicine was once the most advanced in the world, and now digital facsimiles of some of its most important texts have been made freely available online. The unique online resource, based on the Wellcome Library's Arabic manuscript collection, includes well-known medical texts by famous practitioners (such as Avicenna, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn an-Nafis), lesser-known works by anonymous physicians and rare or unique copies, such as Averroes' commentaries on Avicenna's medical poetry...

Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, expressed his enthusiasm for the project: "Providing global access to our collections is at the heart of our mission to foster collaborative research, and we are delighted to see these particular treasures become freely accessible online. We are grateful to the Library of Alexandria and Kings College London, whose partnership in this project has enabled us to extend the availability of these rare materials to the countries of their origin."

Funded by the JISC and the Wellcome Trust, the Wellcome Arabic Cataloguing Partnership (WAMCP) was initiated in 2009 with the aim to make the Wellcome's Arabic manuscripts available and to establish a standard in Arabic manuscript cataloguing and display.

This began with the creation of the "cataloguing tool". A schema was adapted from the existing ENRICH schema to allow for non-Western manuscript description. The tool, the repository, and the website was developed by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina with direction from the Wellcome and King's College London team members.

Although the cataloguing tool has been in use for many months now (with over 450 manuscript records now completed or in progress), the website was only released to the public today, with a sample of around 120 manuscript records available to view. The remaining manuscript records will be made available online throughout the summer.

Image: WMS Arabic 529 - Anonymous book of magic spells

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sightings of Cayley Robinson in Florence, Paris and Cheltenham

Visitors to the Wellcome Library see in the entrance hall four paintings of the Works of Mercy by Frederick Cayley Robinson. They are allegories embedding the oppositions within themes relevant to the historic mission of hospitals: institutions and individuals, children and adults, interiors and exteriors, civil and military, night and day, etc. They were previously in the Middlesex Hospital in London, and are remembered with affection by many staff members of the hospital and visitors.

Orphans 1, one of the Works of Mercy by Frederick Cayley Robinson, 1915. Wellcome Library no. 672831i.

Cayley Robinson's pictorial ideas were much enriched by his studies abroad. We have a glimpse of him in Florence in Bernd Roeck's book Florence 1900: the quest for Arcadia. [1] As Roeck points out, Florence in 1900 was of importance as an artistic centre as much for its visiting foreign artists as for its natives. "We should at least mention the three visits that Degas paid to the city, the presence of Maurice Denis during the winter of 1893-4, and the extended visit by the English symbolist Frederick Cayley Robinson, who lived in Florence between 1898 and 1902, engaging chiefly with the work of Giotto, Mantegna and Michelangelo." Other artists mentioned include Max Klinger, who established the Villa Roxane (home to Max Beckmann, Käthe Kollwitz and Gustav Klimt), and Arnold Böcklin, who lived in Florence and Fiesole for almost two decades. A painting by Cayley Robinson, The Kingdom of the Past in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, shows his familiarity with Böcklin's Island of the dead or with Klinger's etching of it. [2]

*******



Cayley Robinson is mentioned, in passing and more unpredictably, in the autobiography of the radical campaigner Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), where he appears in a completely different role: as landlord. In 1903 Edith, Mrs Havelock Ellis, "arranged with the artist Cayley Robinson to take his flat in an ancient house on the Quai [de] Bourbon in the Ile Saint Louis in Paris for month of June." [3] Cayley Robinson had been a student in Paris, and after leaving Florence evidently used a pied-à-terre in that attractive street near the cathedral of Notre Dame (above).

*******

On Thursday 28 July 2011 the auction firm of Chorley's at Cranham, near Cheltenham, will offer for sale a modello (above) by Frederick Cayley Robinson for the Orphans, one of the four paintings in the Wellcome Library . It comes from the accumulated collection of Tony Haynes, a Gloucestershire art-dealer. The modello (lot 359 in the sale) is signed and dated 1914 in the lower left corner, the same place in which the finished version is signed and dated 1915. Measuring 65 x 111 cm., it is on a scale of 1:9 compared with the area of the finished version (199 x 339 cm.).

As might be expected of a modello on this scale, the composition is completely worked out. To work out the composition, Cayley Robinson will have already painted studies on a smaller scale: there is a smaller study for the Orphans, measuring 21.6 x 37.5 cm., i.e. 1:9 again compared with the Haynes modello, or 1:81 compared with the area of the finished version. This small preliminary study in tempera formerly belonged to the parasitologist G.H.F. Nuttall (1862-1937), whose collections of photographic prints and lantern slides, aesthetically rather different from Cayley Robinson, are also in the Wellcome Library (example right: a Kentucky family of "dirt-eaters" with hookworm, Wellcome Library no. 750040i). [4]

The Haynes modello might have been painted for the approval of the patrons, Edmund Davis and the Governors of the Middlesex Hospital. It is inscribed on the verso in what looks much like the artist's hand, though, oddly, the inscription spells his name wrongly (Caley: left, from Chorley's website). As this composition is for many people their favourite among the four pictures, there must be a fair chance of the modello reaching its lower estimate of £6,000.

[1] Bernd Roecke, Florence 1900: the quest for Arcadia, Yale University Press 2009, p. 199; translation of Florenz 1900: die Suche nach Arkadien, Beck 2001

[2] Jane Munro, Chasing happiness: Maurice Maeterlinck, the Blue bird and England, Fitzwilliam Museum 2006, pp. 51-52

[3] Havelock Ellis, My life, London: Heinemann, 1940, p. 337

[4] Frederick Cayley Robinson, A.R.A., 1862-1927, Fine Art Society 1977, no. 50

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Digitising our early European printed books


As part of the Wellcome Digital Library pilot project, we’re joining forces with ProQuest to digitise over fifteen thousand volumes from our rare book collection. They will be made available through ProQuest’s new Early European Books (EEB) database – a sister project to the long-established and successful Early English Books Online.

As its name suggests, EEB will trace the history of printing in continental Europe from its origins up to 1700. A number of other libraries have already contributed to the project, including the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze. We’ll be contributing our entire collection of pre-1700 non-English printed books – including many rare or obscure texts on subjects ranging from alchemy to zoology, as well as some of the most spectacularly illustrated books of the period. Landmark works include the first edition of anatomist Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica (1543), the complete works of surgeon Ambroise Paré (c.1510-1590), Rabanus Maurus’s encyclopedia De sermonum proprietate (1467) (the medical section of which is sometimes called the first printed medical book) and a beautiful colored copy of Hartmann Schedel’s Liber chronicarum (‘The Nuremberg Chronicle’, 1493), formerly owned by the artist William Morris (1834-1896). In addition, the project will also provide access to important continental editions of works by famous English medical authors, such as William Harvey’s seminal work on the circulation of the blood, De motu cordis (1628), which was first published in Germany.

Unlike other parts of our project, which are being fully funded by the Wellcome Library, this partnership will involve a significant investment from ProQuest. In return for access to our collection, ProQuest will make the entire collection freely available to all UK-based users, and to users in the HINARI group of developing countries. Wellcome Library members will of course have free access to the collection from anywhere in the world. In addition, ten percent of the collection – about 1,500 books – will be selected by the Wellcome Library to be made freely available to any user worldwide via the Wellcome Digital Library portal. There will be other benefits too: as part of the project, we are taking the opportunity to make sure that previously uncatalogued (and hence unavailable) material is also included, giving the new database complete coverage of our pre-1700 European holdings.

Why choose to work with a commercial partner? Well, for one thing we recognise that for some parts of our holdings, high-quality research access will depend on material being made available within bigger collections of related material. Our early European books are not only of interest to historians of medicine but also to a wider scholarly audience, for whom the ability to search across a comprehensive database rather than a subject-specific portal is important. We also recognise that a one-size-fits all approach to book digitisation isn’t always best. By partnering with ProQuest, we hope that users of our collection will benefit from the ability to see works in a broader historical context, and from the development of tools such as text recognition that are adapted to the challenges of early European printing – benefits that we are unlikely to be able to replicate, at least in the short term, within our own digital library.

As the project develops we’ll tell you more about how it’s going, announce new content as it comes online and be inviting some input from our users and the wider research community to help us select items to be included in the 1,500 books we make freely available from the outset.

Author: Simon Chaplin

Friday, July 22, 2011

The matter of golden bedposts

Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice: Scuola Grande and Hospital of San Marco, with the equestrian sculpture of Bartolomeo Colleoni in the foreground. Albumen print, 189-. Wellcome Library no. 665112i.

A set of three volumes on art-collecting in Venice was published between 2007 and 2009, and the first volume, ranging from earliest times to the 16th century, is among several books on Venetian history reviewed in the June 2011 issue of The Burlington Magazine (this volume reviewed by Dr Nicholas Penny). [1]

Together the books remind us of the extraordinary value of Venetian records as documents of early modern history. The series of volumes about "art" collections also reminds us that paintings, tapestries, sculptures etc. are physical items and may therefore be accounted for in terms of Material Culture (once known as Archaeology, which, in popular usage at any rate, now means something rather different). The many surviving documents in the form of wills and house-inventories listing works of art particularly lend themselves to such treatment.

Dr Penny comments that:
"Such documents, over the last thirty years, have been more systematically investigated and analysed by social historians concerned to trace the origins of consumerism in 'early modern' Europe, resolutely demonstrating their clinical prowess by classing even the most spectacular or glamorous works of art as specimens of 'material culture'."

He has in mind accounts which tabulate statistically the paintings, tapestries, books etc. recorded in inventories, but which pay no attention to the question as to what paintings, what tapestries, and what books they were, let alone what their authors (or even owners) thought about them. Such studies are compared to the statistical results of clinical trials. They may indeed have limitations: to caricature, one household might have only one painting and another might have fifteen, but if the painting in the first house was fifteen square feet in area and the fifteen paintings in the other measured one square foot each, what's the value of knowing merely the difference in the number of paintings?

To some extent these studies are simply reactions to, and complements of, earlier generations of art-historical studies which paid no attention to the size and purpose of collections in which particular treasures (or indeed any items) played a part. Both types of study are of value, as are those which combine both approaches. The last paper of many published by the late Professor J.M. Montias, for example, on 'Artists named in Amsterdam inventories, 1607-80', consisting mostly of statistical tables and commentary on them, reveals that the most collected drawings in his survey were those on parchment by Pieter Quast (1606-1647), such as this example in the Wellcome Library (above right: Wellcome Library no. 21093i). [2]

Exemplary treatments of inventories are to be found frequently in The Burlington Magazine itself, and the same June 2011 issue publishes for the first time an inventory of the pitiful belongings of the renowned and mysterious painter Giorgione after his wretched death of plague in one of the lazarettos of the Venetian state in 1510. [3] A variety of approaches to material culture is found in the recent volume Everyday objects, which has chapters devoted to such subjects as shoes, playing cards, bagpipes and portraits--seemingly the very stuff studied by the older generations of archaeologists. [4] However, the introduction to that book declares a broader subject in view than the material substance of things:
"This is a book about the things people owned and the way they used them. It explores how they were made, how they were acquired, how they were used and what people thought about them. Knowing about people's possessions is crucial to understanding their experience of daily life, the way they saw themselves in relation to their peers, and their responses to and interactions with the social, cultural, and economic structures and processes which made up the societies in which they lived."

The editors' awareness that a narrower approach can be taken to such objects is shown in their claim that "this is the first volume to offer multi-disciplinary analysis of a variety of material goods in pre-modern societies".

A nativity by Leandro Bassano (1557-1622). Wellcome Library no. 44696i.

The degree to which past material objects can and should be vivified with intellectual and spiritual culture is a question which surfaces frequently for custodians and users of the Wellcome Library and the dispersed parts of the other Wellcome collections. For it is noticeable that the material collections formed by Henry S. Wellcome were not generally formed for the study of the materials as an end in themselves. The purchases of books, pictures and technical instruments were carried out for what could be deduced from those material artefacts, and then communicated to the public, about the mentalities that produced and consumed them, about the personalities recorded within them, and about their place in the history of human activities.

The Wellcome Library and the other collections have not always succeeded in this: many of the Wellcome Library's catalogue records for paintings, for instance, are devoid of interpretation, but it is our intention and practice to add to those records new knowledge that arises elsewhere, and some of that new knowledge comes from those inventories.

An example of the way in which the inventories can shed light on items in other collections (including the Wellcome Library) is given in Dr Penny's review of the Venetian volume. He comments:
"Those of us who have wondered, when looking at Jacopo Tintoretto's Rape of Lucretia in the Art Institute of Chicago whether grand Venetian beds really did have large carved gilded figures in place of posts, or whether the painter invented such to increase the number of tumbling figures in his dynamic composition, will sit up when we meet (on p. 355) a 'lettiera de legname dorada con quattro figure' [bedstead of wood gilded with four figures] among the extraordinary possessions of Girolamo Superchi inventoried in March 1577, a few years before the probable date of Tintoretto's painting."

In the left foreground of Tintoretto's picture in Chicago, one of the four sculpted figures is broken off from Lucretia's bed and sent flying: the vandalism stresses the violence of the rapist, the out-of-control Prince Tarquin.

A nativity attributed to Lambert Sustris. Wellcome Library no. 44695i.

A similar bed is shown in a roughly contemporary painting in the Wellcome Library which is recorded in several versions (in the Louvre, in the Prince of Hanover's collection, and elsewhere), and which has sometimes been associated with Lambert Sustris (ca. 1515-ca. 1568?), a painter from Amsterdam who spent his later career in Venice. Its subject is a mystery: there are no halos or other implications of sanctity, so we cannot say that the owner of the bed is Saint Anne (mother of the Virgin) or Saint Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist). It has even been suggested that the subject is one of secular history: Caterina Cornaro (1454-1510), Queen of Cyprus, giving birth to her short-lived son Prince Jacques III Lusignan (1474-1474), though that would be unusual given the lack of examples of similar works from the time; the suggestion may have come from someone who had sat through Fromental Halévy's grand opera on the subject, La reine de Chypre (1841).

Whoever the owner, the room is a lavish hall in a palace with marble floors, coffered ceilings, and a four-poster bed supported by carved and gilded caryatids. The scene might give us a hint of what the house of Girolamo Superchi looked like.

Scarcely less ornate is the magnificent carved bed shown in a painting by Leandro Bassano (1557-1622), another Venetian painter: here the descending Holy Ghost indicates the sacred subject of the scene, presumably the birth either of the Virgin or of the Baptist. The bedposts are adorned with putti playing amidst the scrollwork (detail right), though it is not clear whether they are gilded or of polished walnut.

We, like earlier people who viewed these three paintings, can enjoy the splendid furnishings vicariously even if we cannot own them ourselves. So one purpose of the Wellcome Library collections -- recipe books, sacred paintings, old photographs of Venetian squares, and so on -– is to enable us to experience and recreate in our own minds something of the material culture of the past, even though their contents may no longer be available for us to visit in person. Such an experience expands our own understanding of life, and applies as much to vanished moments from our own lifetimes as to previous centuries.

[1] Il collezionismo d'arte a Venezia, Venice: Fondazione di Venezia and Marsilio, 2007-2009. 1. Dalle origini al Cinquecento, by Michel Hochmann, Rosella Lauber & Stefania Mason, 2008 -- 2. Il Seicento, by Linda Borean & Stefania Mason, 2007 -- 3. Il Settecento, by Linda Borean & Stefania Mason, 2009. Vol. 1 reviewed by Nicholas Penny in The Burlington magazine, June 2011, 153: 410-411.

[2] John Michael Montias, 'Artists named in Amsterdam inventories, 1607-80', Simiolus: Netherlands quarterly for the history of art, 2004-2005, 31: 322-347.

[3] Renata Segre, 'A rare document on Giorgione', The Burlington magazine, June 2011, 153: 410-411.

[4] Tara Hamling, Catherine Richardson (editors), Everyday objects: medieval and early modern material culture and its meanings, Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2010.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spreading the Word

From the 15th July until 28th August 2011, an exhibition consisting of reproduction posters entitled Spreading the Word: AIDS posters from Around the World, will be on display at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester. The Wellcome Library has worked closely alongside curator, Dr. Sarah Graham, from the University of Leicester to supply the posters for the exhibition. Out of 3000 posters held by the Wellcome Library, 23 posters from five different continents have been chosen to display the ways in which various organisations inform the public about HIV and AIDS.

The date of the exhibition is certainly significant, as July 2011 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first reported cases of the disease.

The range of posters is particularly diverse. Many appeal to individuals, whilst others are directed at whole communities. For instance, the poster targeting Indian women shows a pledge for women to fight against AIDS. The traditional meaning of the bindi is transformed to act as a symbol of empowerment, mirroring the importance of the red ribbon with regard to AIDS awareness.

Similarly, the poster aimed at the Jewish community reiterates the idea that AIDS can affect all communities, showing the universality of the illness. The poster provides a message of support as opposed to a message of judgement and stigma.

Whilst I enjoyed viewing all the posters on display, I particularly liked the poster, ‘Be a good sport,’ from the Terrence Higgins Trust. This poster reflects the nature of the world-wide epidemic, represented by the 5 rings to show the 5 different continents, epitomising the message of the two aforementioned posters. The colour of the condoms on the white background stand out to present a powerful image which is underlined by the humorous quote of ‘be a good sport;’ a poster that could be aimed at anyone, symbolising that, like sport, AIDS can bring nations together.

The space chosen for the exhibition at the New Walk gallery could not be more perfect. Beautifully displayed, positioned near the entrance, the posters are unavoidable. Indeed, visitors will be unable to escape a confrontation with this world-wide illness, as the exhibition provides a thoroughly thought provoking visit to the gallery.

Spreading the Word: AIDS Posters from Around the World, New Walk Museum, 53 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA (Friday 15th July 2011 - Sunday 28th August 2011)

Author: Alice Calloway

Images:
- A woman with a red Bindi spot representing a pledge to fight AIDS; an advertisement by the Arcon, the Lions Club of Bombay Hilltop and the HIV/AIDS Information and Guidance Centre in Bombay (Wellcome Library no. 677265i)
- The star of David incorporating a needle; representing AIDS among Jews and the work of the Jewish Aids Trust. Black and white lithograph (Wellcome Library no. 666512i)
- Two rows of Olympic coloured condoms; advertisement for safer sex by the Terrence Higgins Trust for those affected by HIV/AIDS (Wellcome Library no. 666857i

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy 200th Birthday, William Makepeace Thackeray


William Makepeace Thackeray, Victorian novelist probably best known for his panoramic work Vanity Fair and its anti-heroine, Becky Sharp, was born in Calcutta on 18 July 1811. While his work does not, on the whole, reflect the medical profession of the day in the way that we find in George Eliot or Mrs Gaskell, or the rising concerns over urban sanitation that inform the symbolic presence of 'Tom All Alone's' in Dickens' Bleak House, his own life was not without interest from the point of view of medical matters.

His move to England from India after his father's death, to be cared for by relatives while his mother remained in India with her new husband, with the additional trauma of being sent to a horrible boarding school, is one in a long series of similar accounts which inform us of the hidden costs of Empire to the families engaged in governing it. While the practice of sending children 'home' may seem to us cruel and callous, this was considered a necessary precaution against the many diseases and threats to health which were perceived as rife in India and as a manifestation of parental concern, rather than indifference. The emotional effects on the children in question, however, were often devastating. The entry for Thackeray in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography points out that 'his recollections of school tyrannies and the terrors of school boyhood show up repeatedly in his fiction'.

Thackeray's life was punctuated by a number of episodes of serious ill-health. His transition from his public school, Charterhouse, to Trinity College Cambridge was delayed for health reasons. In 1849, while writing his semi-autobiographical novel Pendennis, he suffered a nearly fatal illness (possibly cholera or typhoid).
According to a letter held in Archives and Manuscripts (MS.7996), he also underwent an unnamed but serious illness during a visit to Italy in the early 1850s (the mention of recurrent attacks of 'aguish fever' leads one to wonder if this might have been malaria, still rife in Italy at that date), that led him to express caution about a projected American trip. In December 1859 and January 1860 he was indebted to the Institution of Nursing Sisters (founded by Elizabeth Fry) for the services of a 'excellent nurse' over a period of five weeks: his letter of thanks to the Lady Superintendent (SA/QNI/W.6/2) enclosed an additional donation towards their work.

A few years into their marriage, his wife, Isabella, became severely depressed and attempted suicide. She spent some time in the private asylum in Paris established by the French pioneer in psychiatric medicine, Esquirol. An apparent improvement in her state led Thackeray to remove her from the institution and take her for water treatments at German spas, but this failed to bring about permanent improvement. In 1842 he placed her under the care of Dr Puzin at Chaillot, where she remained for the rest of her life.

This sad state of affairs was an open secret in the literary circles in which Thackeray moved. It was not, however, common knowledge outside those circles and thus scandalised gossip arose when 'Currer Bell' (Charlotte Bronte) placed a fulsome dedication to Thackeray in the second edition of her novel Jane Eyre (a much-filmed work of which there is yet another forthcoming new version). Since this novel famously deals with the relationship between a governess and a man whose dark secret is the existence of his insane wife, it was suspected that Bronte's tale was a roman à clef about her own relationship with Thackeray (who, at that point, she had never even met).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Food, Glorious Food!


In 2002 and 2009 the Wellcome Library acquired the papers of food policy activist and expert Tim Lang (b.1948). The collection has recently been catalogued in detail (PP/TLA) and is now available for consultation.

Tim Lang’s archive provides an important record of the development of food policy issues, notably in the UK, and the rise of this subject to a senior position on the political, public and media agendas since the early 1980s. It reflects Lang's increasing and extensive involvement in the field of food policy, nutrition, environment and public health from the late 1970s up until 2000. It encompasses his roles in pressure groups such as the London Food Commission, Parents for Safe Food, the National Food Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment (SAFE) Alliance, as well as his activities as Professor of Food Policy and Director of the Centre for Food Policy, Thames Valley University (Wolfson Institute of Health Sciences).

Comprising distinct series of correspondence; reports and publications; talks and writings; subject files and press cuttings, the Lang archive provides a rich research resource on a myriad of food-related topics. Such as:

• Food production and preparation standards
• Food poisoning 'scandals', including the salmonella in eggs and lysteria food poisoning scares of the late 1980s
• Food irradiation
• Use of Bovine Somatotropin (BST), a synthesised growth hormone, to increase yield in dairy cows
• Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow disease” and its human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
• Food poverty and low income consumers
• School meals campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s
• Food additives, including material generated by the Food Additive Campaign Team
• Food adulteration
• Pesticides in the food chain
• Food labelling and consumer protection
• Food Safety legislation, notably the Food Safety Act 1990 and EEC regulations
• National food policy, government initiatives and regulation
• Genetically engineered and modified foods
• Effects of food production and farming methods on food safety and the natural environment
• Sustainable agriculture
• Sugar levels in processed foods

There is also a wealth of information on food trade and economics issues affecting the UK and Europe and on a global scale, notably fair trade and protectionism agreements and the retail food industry.

This collection relates and inter-links with many of the Wellcome Library’s primary and secondary source material on nutrition and diet, public health, and health education.

Author: Amanda Engineer

Image: Primary school children, eating lunch (Anthea Sieveking, Wellcome Images)

Tim Lang is currently Professor of Food Policy at the Centre for Food Policy, City Health and Community Sciences, City University.

New issue of Wellcome News

Published four times a year, Wellcome News contains up-to-date articles highlighting the Wellcome Trust's wide-reaching science and public engagement activities, grant schemes, policies and more.

The latest issue's 'From the Archive' feature, highlights one of our digitised recipe manuscripts (MS.7113), compiled by Lady Ann Fanshawe in the 17th century.

The issue also contains an extra supplement, Wellcome News 1936, to tie in with the Trust's 75th anniversary. The supplement imagines how Wellcome News might have looked in the year of the Trust's founding, and is inspired by material from the Library's collections.

Both Wellcome News - and its 1936 supplement - are available to download from the Wellcome Trust's website.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mervyn Peake in China

At the weekend we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of the artist and writer Mervyn Peake (1911-1968). Most famous for his Gormenghast trilogy – the story of a hermetically sealed earldom decaying within the seams of arcane ritual – Peake often cited the influence of his childhood in China upon this sequence of novels.

The son of medical missionaries, Peake grew up speaking Mandarin in Tianjin, 70 miles south-east of Beijing. A time of warlords, where travel could still be by palanquin, the wondrous phantasmagoria of his childhood can be glimpsed in the photographs held by the Wellcome Library of the Victorian explorer John Thompson (1837-1921).

For the fancifully minded, the claustrophobic accretion of masonry that is Gormenghast is suggested in the photograph (above) of the Open Alter of Heaven in Beijing, and its crumbling acreage of towers and rooftops seen in the photograph (left) of the ruins of the Old Imperial Summer Palace.

The scope of Peake’s artistic commitment was vast and as an artist he illustrated works from Alice in Wonderland to this study of witchcraft. As the no less fantastical photographs of John Thomson show, the hinterland of Peake’s imagination was rich indeed.

Item of the month, July 2011: On this day in Amsterdam ...

This print (left) sits in the Wellcome Library among a group of Dutch posters about the use of recreational drugs. It is exceptional for its casual production values: scraps of paper torn out of a notebook, containing incoherent verses which surround incompetently scrawled drawings, photographed on a ready made background and put together with whatever editing software was available for such purposes in 1995, the date on one of the drawings.

The scrawl can however be forgiven, as the author of these drawings was not a professional artist, and their incoherence is their whole point. As the signature "brood" indicates, they are the manic ramblings of Herman Brood (right), the charismatic Dutch rock-and-roll star whose well-publicised life was fuelled by drug-use: chiefly LSD, cannabis, heroin, amphetamines and alcohol. His heyday was the 1970s and 1980s. When the music industry became too strenuous, he turned to painting in the graffiti-influenced street styles which have since become more popular than they were then, and, though colour-blind, won some renown as a spraycan artist. This poster is an example of his drawing style, apparently published to dissuade drug users in Amsterdam from following his course in life.

As well they might (be dissuaded). For in Brood's case, years of drug-use had taken their due, and although he had made plans for a new recording with a full orchestra, the future must have looked unappetising to him. On 11 July 2001 he leapt to his death from the top of the Amsterdam Hilton hotel. To remember that moment, and the life that came to a sudden end at that time, a memorial event has been organized to take place there today, 11 July 2011, at 13.15 pm.

Image credits
Poster:
Wellcome Library no. 748920i; © DACS 2011

H. Brood in December 2000 with parrot: photograph by Sander Lamme in Wikimedia Commons: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Herman_Brood_2000_Amsterdam_Sander_Lamme.jpg

Hilton Hotel, Apollolaan, Amsterdam: by PatrickDR on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/patrickdr/2469928582/

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Europeana Libraries highlights



Europeana Libraries has produced a lovely video to highlight a selection of the more than 5 million objects which the project will put online in the coming 2 years. The clip reveals the great variety of objects, ranging from ancient manuscripts to printings, photographs and films about the history of medicine.
Europeana Libraries will bring the digital collections of 19 of Europe's leading research libraries to Europeana and The European Library. The content will include:
• 1,200 film and video clips
• 850,000 images
• 4.3 million texts (books, journal articles, theses, letters)
The Wellcome Library will be contributing images and films in the area of the history of science and medicine. The iconic flea image from our copy of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia can be seen 23 seconds into this short video. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sir Isaac Newton in Herefordshire

Isaac Newton by James Thornhill. Wellcome Library no. 45765i
Stoke Court, at Stoke Edith in Herefordshire, was a large and imposing house built between 1696 and 1704 by the Foley family, descendants of the ironmasters Richard Foley (1580-1657) and Thomas Foley (1617-1677). One of its finest features was the group of baroque mural paintings made for the house in 1704 by James (later Sir James) Thornhill (1675/6–1734). They were very accomplished Italianate compositions with many figures, drama, allusion and trompe l'oeil.

The creation of the mythological and allegorical paintings for Stoke Court was one of the first major projects undertaken by Thornhill after he became a freeman of the Painter-Stainers' Company in 1703. Following further magnificent decorations at Chatsworth and Greenwich, his career would come to a climax with his paintings in the dome of St Paul's Cathedral (1716-1720), all three ensembles still to be seen today.

However, the equally splendid Stoke Court paintings can no longer be seen: sadly, the Foleys' mansion was consumed by fire on 15 December 1927, and Thornhill's murals perished with it. Judging from photographs, they formed a sight as impressive as anything at Castle Howard or Chatsworth. Thornhill's paintings on canvas were rescued, but subsequently dispersed. Now Jeremy Barker has tracked down several of them in Lancaster House, Eltham Palace, Yale University, and elsewhere, and has published his findings in a new Festschrift. [1]

Besides paintings of such subjects as The marriage of Cupid and Psyche and The triumph of arts and sciences, Thornhill's work at Stoke included only one portrait: a painting of Sir Isaac Newton. According to family tradition recorded by Lady Emily Foley, the painting was acquired because Newton was Master of the Mint when Paul Foley (1644/5-1699), the first builder of Stoke, was Speaker of the House of Commons (having previously been a commissioner of accounts). Foley's Speakership lasted from 1695 to 1698, and Newton took over the Mint in 1696, so this was quite possible. It could not have been painted during that brief period of overlap, as Thornhill's apprenticeship did not end until 1696, but he could have supplied it at a later date.

Where is this painting of Newton today? There are four surviving versions of Thornhill's portrait of Newton, three of which have documented provenances which show that they could never have been at Stoke Court. The fourth is in the Wellcome Library (illustrated above). Having seen the Wellcome Library version, Mr Barker raises the question: could this one have been the painting of Newton at Stoke Court?

At present, the documented provenance of the Wellcome Library's version goes back only as far as the auction at which it was bought by Henry S. Wellcome (1853-1936), the founder of the Wellcome Library. This took place at Foster's auction house at 4 Pall Mall, London, on 13 September 1933, lot 259, where it was misdescribed as "Sir Arthur Newton" (Arthur Newton was the name of a famous marathon-runner of the time).

The painting was attributed to "Zeeman": there was a Dutch marine painter (Reinier Nooms, ca. 1623-ca. 1667) who was known by the name "Zeeman" (meaning sailor), but in this context the cataloguer was more likely referring to the portrait painter Enoch Seeman (1689/90–1744), who came to London from Danzig in 1704. Seeman is sometimes referred to as Zeeman, his earliest dated painting is from 1708, and he painted a portrait of Newton. [2] Seeman's Newton was a lively portrait, very different from Thornhill's melancholy Newton, who has been described in the writer's presence as looking as if he has escaped from the Addams Family. Nevertheless Seeman was not an unreasonable attribution by the standards of the time. (Above left: mezzotint of Newton by J. MacArdell after E. Seeman, 1726. Wellcome Library no. 7410i.)

At Foster's, Wellcome bought the Newton portrait for £3. Although there is no positive evidence of its having been at Stoke Court, its appearance at auction not long after the fire is suggestive. Mr Barker concludes: "All one can say is that there is the possibility (in the author's opinion a strong one) that Lady Emily's picture was indeed the one now in the Wellcome Library. But we can say with absolute certainty that the Wellcome Library got a bargain!"

[1] Jeremy Barker, 'James Thornhill, Thomas Foley and the decoration of Stoke Court, Herefordshire', Essays in honour of Jim & Muriel Tonkin, Hereford: Woolhope Club, 2011, pp. 93-112 (ISBN 978-0-9505823-4-4; details here).

[2] L.H. Cust, 'Seeman, Enoch (1689/90–1744)', rev. Sarah Herring, Oxford dictionary of national biography, Oxford 2004

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dream a little dream…



In May 1940, Birmingham schoolteacher and army reservist, Kenneth Davies Hopkins, was captured by the Nazis in France, and sent to a succession of Prisoner of War camps in Germany. Whilst interned he had the idea of recording the dreams of his fellow POWs in order to later analyse them. His interest in psychology had been awakened in the 1930s when his MA Education dissertation had been supervised by C. W. Valentine, who, like Hopkins, was interested in the psychology of dreams

Over the next two years, Hopkins meticulously kept records of the dreams reported to him, using only a pencil and the rough paper he had available to him in the camps. This provides an exceptional record. As Valentine said to Hopkins in a letter dated 8th November 1940 "it would be a unique contribution, as far as I know, to have reports on dreams of prisoners of war while entirely separate from their normal environment", before going on to suggest that Hopkins look out for "wish-fullfilment dreams, fear dreams based upon war experiences, regression to childish memories, and symbolism in dreams" (PSY/VAL/4/6).

If it wasn’t for this letter, we would never have known of this important resource. In 1945, Major Hopkins’ dream research notebooks were found abandoned in a liberated camp. The letter to Valentine was with them, so the camp liberators forwarded the books to him in the hopes that he could reunite Hopkins with his notes. Unfortunately, Kenneth Hopkins had developed bronchial asthma and emphysema in 1942 whilst interned near Hildburghausen in central Germany, and had died there.

The notebooks remained in the possession of Professor Valentine until they were donated to St. Martin’s College Library, Lancaster, who deposited them on permanent loan with the British Psychological Society. In September 2008, Valentine’s papers were deposited with the Wellcome Library, along with other collections from the British Psychological Society History Centre.

In addition to the Hopkins material, the C. W Valentine archive held by the Wellcome Library includes notebooks created Valentine during observational studies of the infant psyche, drafts of his works Psychology and its Bearing on Education and The Psychology of Early Childhood, both of which are held by the Wellcome Library, along with notes from his university days.

Picture credit: The dream of a patient in Jungian analysis: left, a rocky wall; right a swirling wave; at the end, six people. Drawing by M.A.C.T., January 1971. Iconographic Collections, 658096i

Friday, July 1, 2011

Archives and manuscripts cataloguing, June 2011

This month’s new cataloguing bulletin from the Archives and Manuscripts department releases a large tranche of material for researchers to work upon: five collections of twentieth-century papers, totalling over 230 archive boxes of material or over 1000 new database records. Our congratulations to the cataloguers! All this material is now not merely catalogued in the online database, but also enabled for online ordering so that researchers can, should they wish, browse the catalogue, click the ordering link and have the material ready to view on Monday.

Although the records’ date is similar – twentieth-century, with a bias towards the latter half - the subjects documented span a wide range, from institutional documentation to personal papers, from hard-core laboratory science to the social implications of health and welfare. The largest and smallest collections are both records of organisations concerned with public health and with communication (in both directions) between citizens and their health-providers.

The records received from the Royal Society for Public Health and its predecessor bodies (SA/RSP) total well over 100 archive boxes and span the widest date-range of any released this month, going back to the foundation of the Sanitary Institute in 1876. The organisation’s history is complex. The Sanitary Institute amalgamated with the Parkes Museum of Hygiene in 1883 (and opened a School of Hygiene), changing its name in 1955 to the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (the shorter form Royal Society of Health was also used. The Royal Institute of Public Health was founded in 1886 (simultaneously, the same founders set up the College of State Medicine which merged in 1892 with the laboratory founded by the British Institute for Preventive Medicine and eventually became the Lister Institute: see that organisation’s records held as SA/LIS). The third major strand in the organisation’s history is that of the Institute of Hygiene, which was founded in 1903, and merged in 1937 with the Royal Institute of Public Health to form the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene. In 2008 the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health merged with the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene to form the Royal Society for Public Health, bringing all these bodies together. The archives document some strands in the history better than others: the main body of records of the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene were held at its headquarters in the 1990s and surveyed by the Wellcome Library’s archivists then, but had gone elsewhere by the time the newly-unified society presented its historic papers to the Library in 2009. When the missing records are located, they will join the archive here. The collection is, however, already a rich source and includes minutes, examination registers relating to the various qualifications awarded by the societies, publications, financial, legal and administrative material, photograph albums and property records and was first described in an earlier blog posting a few days ago.

A far smaller collection is that of Health Concern (SA/HCN). This body was founded in the mid 1980s with the primary aims of 'campaigning for more resources, co-ordinating comment on Government plans for the NHS and exchanging information on research.' – it was a broad alliance of various member organisations who shared the aim of supporting the NHS by promoting its basic principles and mounting an educational programme on healthcare and treatment. Although non-party in its remit, it clearly operated at a time when the whole concept of socialised healthcare versus the market was a political hot issue (and indeed was founded by Lord Ennals, who had been a Labour minister under Harold Wilson) so its activities were inescapably political in their context. The papers, dating from the 1980s, document its founding and administration during these crucial years.

Turing to personal papers, the records created by Professor Tim Lang and held as PP/TLA are also of major importance regarding public health issues. Tim Lang’s work has been in the field of public understanding of the food supply chain and the issues raised by what we eat and how we get it. His archive, totalling seventy boxes, documents his extensive involvement and role in the field of food policy, nutrition, environment and public health from the late 1970s up until 2000, and also provides a significant record of the development of food policy as a topic for discussion, notably in the UK, during this period. Organisations such as the London Food Commission, Parents For Safe Food, the National Food Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment (SAFE) Alliance are documented, as well as Tim Lang's wide-ranging writings on food; subject files cover some of his interests such as meat production standards, a school meals campaigns in Lancashire (early 1980s) as well as the national school meals campaigns in the 1990s, low income and food poverty, the Food Safety Act 1990, the salmonella and the listeria 'scares' in the late 1980s, and the impact of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) reform and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on the food trade, health and safety, the environment and the developing world.

Finally, two collections relating to laboratory scientists conclude this month’s round-up. The papers of Robert Race and Ruth Sanger relating to their work on blood groups (PP/SAR, complementing the organisational records held in SA/BGU) were described in a separate blog posting earlier today. Like Race and Sanger, Dr Shirley Ratcliffe (PP/SRA) was involved in work at a Medical Research Council Unit, in this case the Edinburgh Cytogenetics Unit Study of Long Term Outcomes for Children Born with Sex Chromosome Abnormalities which in 1967 embarked on a longitudinal study of children born with these abnormalities, to establish the conditions’ incidence and long-term prognosis. The study – which also looked at a control group of children without these conditions – ran until the mid-1990s, but Dr Ratcliffe’s papers on the subject continued to be generated until 2010, the very year in which they were transferred to the Library. Much of the material, clearly, is made of clinical patient data that for the moment is closed under the Data Protection Act; however, there is much material on the conditions in general that is available for consultation now, with more to come of course as the years pass.

Image: a man with Klinefelter Syndrome, in which an extra X chromosome is added to the normal male XY pairing; the work of Shirley Ratcliffe looked at children born with this type of chromosomal abnormality, among others. In this picture, taken from Wellcome Images, the subject - who has undergone testosterone replacement therapy to enable development of male secondary sexual characteristics such as development of muscle bulk - is working out to avoid the development of osteoporosis, a common problem in males with his particular Syndrome.

An unstoppable team in blood grouping: R. R. Race and Ruth Sanger

The archives of Robert Russell Race and Ruth Sanger have recently been made available for consultation in the Wellcome Library (ref. PP/SAR). Race and Sanger are best known for their contribution to the understanding of blood groups, in particular Rh antigens and antibodies, and the genetic mapping of the X chromosome.

Robert Race was born in 1907. After qualifying in medicine in 1933 he became an assistant in a pathological laboratory. In 1937 he was appointed assistant serologist to Professor Ronald Fisher at the Galton Laboratory, University College London, as part of the laboratory serum unit. During the Second World War the unit moved to Cambridge with the duty of preparing blood grouping serum for transfusion purposes.

In 1946 the unit was reconstituted at the Lister Institute for Preventative Medicine in London as the Medical Research Council Blood Group Research Unit, with Race appointed Director. The MRC Blood Group Unit acquired an international reputation in the field of haematology, receiving blood samples from all over the world, and, in 1965, it extended its work into the genetics of blood groups. One of the unit's important contributions was the discovery of the Xg antigen in the 1960s.

Ruth Sanger was born in Australia and first came to England in 1946 to work with Race and complete her PhD. After completing her studies in 1948 she briefly returned to Australia, and then rejoined the staff of the unit in 1950. From this point the work of Race and Sanger becomes intertwined, with most major papers being written together. The first edition of Blood Groups in Man was published in 1950 and quickly became the standard reference text. Race and Sanger married in 1956, and upon the retirement of Race as Director of the Unit in 1973, Sanger became Director until her retirement in 1983.

The collection contains personalia, research notes, newspaper cuttings and photographs relating to honours and awards received, correspondence and papers relating to societies that Race and Sanger were associated with, programmes and photographs of conferences and visits, and reprints of articles written by Race and Sanger. At the heart of the collection is a series of 115 typescripts of lectures given by Race and/or Sanger between 1939-1977. These lectures reflect their research activities and relate to many other parts of the collection.

Complementing the personal papers of Race and Sanger are the archives of the MRC Blood Group Unit. Although progress reports for the unit are in the papers of Race and Sanger, the organisational records of the unit are a separate collection (ref. SA/BGU). Together these collections provide a detailed insight into the work of Race and Sanger.

Both collections will be digitised later this year as part of the Wellcome Digital Library programme, which is currently focussed on the theme of 'Modern Genetics and its Foundations'. Other notable collections being digitised include the papers of Francis Crick, Fred Sanger, Arthur Mourant, and Sir Peter Medawar. For further details see the archives digitisation pages.

Author: Toni Hardy

Image: Sanger and Race together in August 1978, from file PP/SAR/F/6/5. The location is unknown, possibly their office at the Lister Institute; readers may like to amuse themselves trying to match the titles of the files behind them to those in the archive collections.

 
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