Saving Oxford Medicine

Archives of the Oxford Regius Professors of Medicine of the 20th century

<<Saving Oxford Medicine: An Introduction

This list indicates, where known, the location of the main body of the personal archive of each Regius Professor from 1895. Follow the links to descriptions and online catalogues, where available. Additionally, letters to colleagues and fellow professionals will occur in the archives of the recipients.

We would be grateful for further information about any of these archives, or suggestions as to their possible location where that is not stated.  Please contact: chrissie.webb@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

1895-1904

Sir John Scott Burdon Sanderson (1828-1905), pathologist and physiologist

As an experimental pathologist, Sanderson advanced the understanding of the causes of infectious disease and the acceptance of germ theory in Britain. His work as a physiologist included research for Charles Darwin on the movement of the leaf of the Venus flytrap. In 1882 he was elected Oxford’s first Waynflete Professor of Physiology (a position endowed by Magdalen College in honour of their 15th century founder, William Waynflete).  Sanderson was instrumental in creating the Faculty of Medicine in 1885 and in reducing the length of the Oxford medical degree from eight to seven years.

1905-19

Sir William Osler (1849-1919), physician

Osler is credited with pioneering bedside teaching, bringing medical students out of the lecture theatre and into the hospital wards.  He was the author of The Principles and Practice of Medicine (Edinburgh, 1892) and many other works. In 1907 he bought a house at 13 Norham Gardens, Oxford, where he lived with his family. It is now the home of the Osler-McGovern Centre, a venue for the promotion of the study of medicine and the history of medicine.

  • Correspondence and other papers are held by Johns Hopkins University Libraries; McGill University, Osler Library; Yale University Libraries, Medical Library; and Duke University Medical Library

1920-7

Sir Archibald Edward Garrod (1857-1936), physician and biochemist

Garrod made a particular study of the individual’s genetic predisposition to disease. His Inborn Errors of Metabolism (London, 1909) is often regarded as the starting point of human biochemical genetics.

  • No information on archive

1928-43

Sir Edward Farquhar Buzzard (1871-1945), physician

Buzzard was an innovator and reformer. In Oxford, as doctor and adviser to Sir William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, he achieved his aim of developing a medical school devoted to clinical as well as laboratory research with the creation of the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research in 1936, and the subsequent enlargement of the medical school.  He advocated a coordinated hospital system, anticipating changes brought about by the National Health Service in 1948.

  • Academic papers are held by Magdalen College Archives, Oxford

1943-8

Sir Arthur William Mickle Ellis (1883-1966), physician and pathologist

Ellis came to England with the Canadian Army Medical Corps at the outbreak of the First World War. After demobilisation he remained in England, probably encouraged by Sir William Osler, then Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford and a fellow Canadian. He was appointed professor of medicine at London University in 1924 and gained recognition for his work on renal disease. During his time as Regius Professor he faced the complex challenges of the post-war reconstruction of the medical school and controversy over the formation of an undergraduate clinical school.

  • No information on archive

1948-54

Arthur Duncan Gardner (1884-1978), bacteriologist

Gardner was a member of the Oxford team led by Professor Howard Florey that isolated penicillin, demonstrated its effectiveness, and further developed the drug during the Second World War.

  • No information on archive
  • Autobiography held by University College Oxford Archives

1954-6

During this time the Professorship was vacant, with Gardner acting as Deputy

1956-68

Sir George White Pickering (1904-80), physician

Pickering took a keen interest in education generally, and in medical education specifically. He played a vital part in the development of medical teaching at Oxford, bringing the independent departments of postgraduate medicine together in the expanding clinical school. He was the author of The Challenge to Education (London, 1967) and The Quest for Excellence in Medical Education (Oxford, 1978) among other works.

1969-79

Sir William Richard Shaboe Doll (1912-2005), epidemiologist

Doll, along with Austin Bradford Hill, established the link between smoking and lung cancer in 1950. He raised money for the founding of Green College (now Green Templeton College) as a graduate college specialising in medicine. Large-scale studies of the causes, prevention and treatment of cancers and other major diseases are now based in the Richard Doll Building, opened in 2005.

  • Papers are held by the Wellcome Library, London

1979-92

Sir Henry Harris (b. 1925), medical researcher

Harris followed Sir Howard Florey as Professor of Pathology at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in 1963. He and his colleagues developed the technique of cell fusion, one of the main roots of somatic cell genetics. By this means they devised the first systematic method of determining the order of genes along the human chromosome. In 1969 Harris demonstrated that certain normal genes have the ability to suppress malignancy. Worldwide research continues on these, now referred to as tumour suppressor genes. In retirement he published a volume of short stories, Remnants of a Quiet Life (Oxford, 2006).

1992-2000

Sir David John Weatherall (b. 1933), molecular geneticist

Sir David was appointed Nuffield Professor of Clinical Medicine in 1974. His major contribution to medicine has been his research into thalassaemia, a set of inherited blood disorders that affect the body’s ability to create red blood cells. He has been able to improve clinical treatment of the disease and introduce programmes for its prevention and management, particularly in developing countries. Largely due to him, Oxford University is recognised as a world leader in global health, with a network of long-standing clinical research units in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Kenya funded by the Wellcome Trust, and a Medical Research Council unit in The Gambia.

Sir David established an Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University in 1989, which was renamed the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine on his retirement in 2000. Its scientists work on areas of molecular and cell biology that can improve the understanding and treatment of diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

  • Archive held by Sir David

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