Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Medical archives catalogue and DNA

A couple of medically related archive stories, the first from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh archive at 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh:


The RCPE Sibbald Library and Archive has tens of thousands of manuscripts and letters within its collections which it has previously not had the resources to catalogue. As a result of a recent ongoing project, funded by the Wellcome Trust Research Resources Scheme over 8,000 items have been catalogued in order to open up access to this material. The majority of the collections consist of lecture notes and research by some of the most eminent doctors of their day. These demonstrate developments in medical theory and practice from 1700 onwards, in one of the most important centres for medical education in the world. Some fascinating items discovered during this work include a draft post mortem report on Napoleon Bonaparte (written on St Helena on the day he died), correspondence with the Marquis de Lafayette and notes regarding the conduct of Dr Robert Knox (of Burke and Hare notoriety).

The Archives catalogue can be searched at:

(With thanks to Simon Fowler, and RCPE archivist Alison Scott)

The second concerns a major project by the Wellcome Trust to pull together a range of collections on the history and study of DNA. The story was featured on Radio 4's Today programme earlier, and there's a short piece on it at


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