From Hair Restorer to Industrial Health: Cataloguing the Manchester Medical Collection (1800-1949)


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life journaling basics

I joined the Special Collections team in March as part of an exciting new project to catalogue and promote engagement with the Library’s 1800-1949 printed medical collections. Generously funded by a Wellcome Trust grant, the project aims to unlock access to the collections for academics working in medical humanities and those undertaking interdisciplinary research, enrich teaching and learning across a range of disciplines and facilitate public engagement.  All access starts with high-quality catalogue records, and I am currently working my way, one book at a time, through a fascinating array of material to put that foundation in place. Some highlights so far are photographed throughout this post.

Hair cropped

“Why many persons permanently submit to the vexations and unsightly appearance of grey hair”, an advertisement from Toilet Medicine (1881), F8.3 W41

Largely drawn from the library of the Manchester Medical Society, which itself ingested the libraries of Manchester Royal Infirmary  and St Mary’s Hospital for Women and Children in the early 20th century, the collection of over 30,000 printed volumes has been designated one of the major UK research collections in the field.  Until now, however, access to the vast majority of the collection has been significantly hindered by its omission from online catalogues.  This project focuses on a targeted group of subject areas: public health, pathology and clinical medicine.  In total, approximately 7000 items!

When the Manchester Medical Society was founded in 1834, the provision of a medical library and reading rooms for its members was deemed a “necessity” for “members of the Profession residing in the North of England”.  From the devastating effects of first epidemic of cholera on British soil 1831 to the founding of the National Health Service in 1948, the Society’s medical collections lay at the heart of its professional activity and reflected new developments in both medical practice and professional organisation regionally and nationally.

Under the direction of leading Manchester ophthalmologist and avid bibliophile Thomas Windsor (Honorary Librarian, 1853-63 and 1879-1883), the library quickly acquired the status of the most valuable collection of medical books outside London.  The number of volumes and pamphlets rose from 2558 in 1858, to 12594 in 1863, and greatly expanded in areas of particular interest to Windsor – rare early-printed medical texts and foreign, especially continental and American, publications.  Rich pre-1800 holdings are now housed at the John Rylands Library.

Map showing numbers of prostitutes recorded throughout France from De la Prostitution dans la Ville de Paris (1836), F8.132 P10

It is both surreal and immensely satisfying to contribute to the current life of the collection, knowing its history as a cutting-edge resource for the burgeoning Manchester medical profession in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the rich network of local practitioners that informed, and in turn were informed by, its development.  It has huge potential to prove as valuable to current researchers, students and those interested in the scientific heritage of Manchester, as it was to those physicians responding to the challenges of modern healthcare in their time.


Physiological experiments on school boys in Healthy Growth (1927) by medical officer of Manchester Grammar School, Alfred Mumford, F5 M67

The first project milestone is cataloguing the ‘Public Health’ section of the collection, approximately 1000 books, which will be completed soon.  Highlights, curious finds and #histmed titbits are shared live from the cataloguing desk on Twitter @ManMedProject.  Follow and join the conversation! For any queries, qualms or comments about the Printed Medical Collections (1800-1949) please get in touch:

The collections are open to anyone with a research interest by appointment.  Please see this guide to consulting special collections at the Main Library. All books that have been catalogued online are searchable via LibrarySearch.


A rare work on the impact of work on physical and mental health: Work and Worry, from a Medical Point of View (1884), F8.36 K28d


Stateless in Manchester – the strange case of the “D.P. Student”

Alison Newby, Honorary Research Associate at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, recently contributed this fascinating post to their blog.

Reading Race, Collecting Cultures

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

Have you ever whiled away an hour or two in the University of Manchester archive? You should try it sometime. You never know what you’ll find.

I was in there one day rooting around trying to uncover the origins of international students who’d come to study in our city over the decades. Imagine my surprise when I saw the following statistic in the 1954 Report of the Council to the Court of Governors: “Stateless …. 1”. What could that mean? Sixty people from India or twelve from France is understandable, but “Stateless …. 1”?

You’ve probably guessed already I was on another voyage of discovery, one which I’d like to share with you…

Don’t think the mass migration of desperate refugees we’ve witnessed in recent years is anything new to Europe. It isn’t. The “Stateless Student” I’d stumbled across turned out to be only one individual…

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Speech Acts at Manchester Art Gallery: dom sylvester houédard on tour


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Fran Horner, a postgraduate student studying the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies, tells us more about her internship at The John Rylands Library working with the dom sylvester houédard archive.

What is on display in an art gallery? What isn’t on display? Who is represented in an art gallery? Who isn’t represented? What narratives are presented and explored?

The new exhibition Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination- Repetition opened at Manchester Art Gallery on 25 May 2018. The exhibition challenges traditional ways that institutions exhibit art work, allowing new meanings and perspectives to surface in the exhibition’s shared narrative without relying on the conventional frames of artists’ biographies and identities.

It features work from 43 artists, including some poetry and a sculpture poem by dom sylvester houédard (or dsh as he preferred to be known) which is on loan from The John Rylands Library. I have been working with dsh’s literary archive since January this year and was fascinated to see how his archival material was to be transported and installed in the exhibition. The Conservation team very kindly let me observe the process at Manchester Art Gallery.


Photograph of vinyl interpretation to be stuck to the wall in the Speech Acts exhibition. Photograph taken by the author.

Firstly, each piece of archive material had to undertake condition checks at The John Rylands Library in which the material was inspected, and any noticeable flaws or conservation work were recorded. The condition checks are very important because they can trace where and when a piece of work sustains any damage.

The archive material was then securely packaged using special acid-free archival envelopes and boxes to be transported to the art gallery.

Once the material reached the art gallery, it then had to experience an acclimatisation period where the material adapted to its new environmental surroundings and conditions. The temperature and relative humidity had to be at certain levels in order for the material to be satisfactorily exhibited in the gallery and so as not to incur any damage.


Photograph of conservators consulting the condition report of a piece of dsh archive material. Photograph taken by the author.

Once the material had successfully acclimatised, its condition was checked by both the John Rylands Library and Manchester Art Gallery Conservators (the material’s condition will also be checked on departure of exhibition venue and on return at The John Rylands Library). The material could then be installed.

dsh’s poetry is carefully displayed in a glass case allowing visitors to look closely at the object without damaging it. The poetry is flat and is placed on custom-made archival mounts. Other items in the same case require cradles (3D mounts) to be exhibited and properly seen. The sculpture poem Wind Grove Mind Alone (1974) is displayed in acrylic box suspended from the wall allowing visitors to clearly see its clever, optical illusion from different angles.



 Photographs of installation of dsh archive material and sculpture poem. Photographs taken by the author.

dsh’s work sits in the exhibition in relation to the work of friend and fellow artist Li-Yuan chia (1929-1994). dsh supported Li-Yuan chia’s creation of the LYC Museum in Cumbria, 1972, which functioned as a centre for the local creative community. The LYC Museum embodied Li-Yuan chia’s interpretation of art as a form of social interaction and experimentation which this exhibition positions as a model for the modern public art gallery. The LYC children’s art room has been recreated in Manchester Art Gallery’s Clore Art Studio in which everybody is invited to have a game of ping pong, draw something and watch artist-filmmaker Helen Petts’ film Space & Freedom.


 Photograph of recreation of LYC Museum sign in the Speech Acts exhibition. Photograph taken by the author.

Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination- Repetition is free to visit at Manchester Art Gallery until 22 April 2019. Curated by Hammad Nasar with Kate Jesson.


Manchester Movement Histories


By Dr Kerry Pimblott

The key to a more just future lies in a real reckoning with our collective pasts.

At least that was the thinking of the eminent scholar-activist, W. E. B. Du Bois. Writing in February 1905 – at the height of what many consider ‘the nadir’, or lowest point, in American race relations – Du Bois stated,

We can only understand the present by continually referring to and studying the past: when any one of our intricate daily phenomena puzzles us; when there arises religious problems, political problems, race problems, we must always remember that while their solution lies here in the present, their cause and their explanation lie in the past.

Du Bois’s call to ‘look-back-to-move-forward’ rings no less true today than it did over a century ago. Last week it was this dictum – in a new nadir typified by the twin tragedies of Grenfell…

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Rediscovered: the Jan Łukasiewicz Papers


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Dr James Peters writes another in our occasional series of posts on some of our lesser known collections.


Jan Łukasiewicz (1878-1956), photographer unknown. Wikimedia Commons public domain image.

Jan Łukasiewicz (1878–1956) was one of the most significant Polish philosophers of the twentieth century. He was a member of the Lvov–Warsaw school of philosophy, which made ground-breaking contributions to the study of analytical philosophy and logic.


Łukasiewicz himself was one of the stars of Polish philosophy in the inter-war period. For many years Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw, he was also Rector of the University on two occasions. In addition, in 1919–20 he served in Ignacy Paderewski’s cabinet as minister of education.

Łukasiewicz’s world collapsed with the German invasion of Poland in 1939. German victory saw the country’s universities closed, and its intellectuals persecuted. Łukasiewicz worked for the Polish Underground University during the occupation, but his attempt to flee to Switzerland failed, and at the War’s end, he was effectively a displaced person. Eventually Łukasiewicz and his wife were offered residence by the Republic of Ireland, and having moved to Dublin, he was appointed Professor of Mathematical Logic at the Royal Irish Academy.

Carnap letter

Letter from the philosopher Rudolf Carnap referring to Łukasiewicz’s employment problems (Łukasiewicz Papers).

Despite this opening, exile proved difficult for Łukasiewicz. Although he continued to publish important work during this period, Łukasiewicz felt cut off from a like-minded community of philosophers. Surviving letters in his archive hint at a desire to move to a post in England, particularly to Oxford, but these hopes came to nothing, perhaps unsurprisingly given his age and background.

Łukasiewicz’s letters also refer to his frequent ill-health, something he believed was exacerbated by his hostile landlord: he told one correspondent in 1954 that as a result: “My health is now ruined and could be restored only if all this vexation will be stopped indefinitely”. His sense of persecution led him to tell another associate that “some agents of the [Polish] secret police may be involved” in his problems.  It was a sad end to a prestigious career.

Łukasiewicz’s papers came to the Library by an unconventional path. All of his pre-War papers, as well as his library, had been destroyed during the siege of Warsaw. His post-war papers were initially deposited at the Royal Irish Academy, but Łukasiewicz’s former pupil, Czesław Lejewski (1913–2001), who was professor of philosophy at the University of Manchester, negotiated their transfer to Manchester in the 1960s.

Unfortunately Łukasiewicz’s papers have not received much attention since then. They are uncatalogued, and present some challenging problems for future cataloguing. The archive is disordered, some of the content about logical theory is highly technical, and much of it is written in Polish.

The papers are however undoubtedly significant for history of modern philosophy and logic. An extensive body of correspondence includes numerous letters from former colleagues and pupils such as  Bolesław Sobociński, Józef Maria Bocheński, Heinrich Scholz, Czesław Lejewski, Ivo Thomas, Jerzy Słupecki, Tadeusz Czeżowski, and Henryk Hiz.

This correspondence is likely to be revealing about issues of exile and displacement in the post-war period, as several of Łukasiewicz’s correspondents were fellow émigrés. Equally, some of his correspondents remained in Poland, and their letters may be a useful  source of information for intellectual life under the Communist regime.

Although Łukasiewicz’s reputation faded somewhat after his death, some of his ideas have re-emerged in contemporary conceptions of ‘fuzzy’ logic.  He remains an esteemed figure in his native Poland, and is one of the Lvov–Warsaw philosophers represented in the imposing statue group at the University of Warsaw library.

Warsaw statues

University of Warsaw Library, statues of the Lvov-Warsaw School: Łukasiewicz is second right, with Stanislaw Leśniewski,  Alfred Tarski, and Kazimierz Twardowski.
Courtesy of the University of Warsaw. Photographer: Mirosław Kaźmierczak (University of Warsaw).

Further information on Łukasiewicz can be found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Sunday School Holiday Camp Collection in the Brethren Archive


Emma Dent writes:

A small collection amidst the Christian Brethren archive is that of the Cardiff Assemblies’ Sunday School Holiday Camps.

Although Cardiff Assemblies’ Sunday School holiday camps began in 1948, records held at the archive begin when the camps grew in popularity and size in the 1960s. The collection is far from a complete record, but offers many glimpses into how and why the camps were devised and run.

It is not entirely clear if the camp attendees were gathered entirely from families attending Brethren assemblies or also from other churches or chapels in the local area. Lists of camp attendees from the 1960s do indicate that campers from Baptist churches also sometimes attended but this appears to have changed in later years, with camp attendance entirely drawn from Brethren assemblies.

What is evident is that the camps were immediately popular and soon began publishing their own prospectuses and even a camp tie was manufactured at one point. Camp song sheets and poems were produced. (Sample lyrics “Camping stories start in 1947” and “I love to go a camping, down at Oxwich Bay”.

Dozens of young people attended the camps in the 1960s and 70s, with some becoming oversubscribed. The average age of a camper was around 13 or 14, though some children as young as 11 or as old as 18 attended. In later years senior camps were established to cater for the older camper.

Such camps were not unique, as evidenced by a report from delegates on a 1969 conference to study the ‘problems and objectives of Christian Youth Camps’ which was attended by delegates from various Christian backgrounds.

One of the more unusual items is sets of slides from early days of the camps, in 1966, depicting, variously, groups of campers playing games or washing up, workers shaving and most intriguingly of all, a ‘camp wedding’. Disappointingly there are no further items to describe whether this was a real wedding or some kind of elaborate dressing up situation!

Much of the collection though is made up of the kind of paperwork that makes up the planning of any such event – such as finding a suitable location to hold the camps, or cost-effective transport.

Anyone who has run a committee will recognise the tone of the letters seeking new membership for the Assemblies’ camp committee – though many committee members were long standing and the chairs and secretaries in particular seem to have stayed in post for years, if not decades.

Preparing a camper for baptism seems to have been a key aim. Several letters in the collection ask for prayers for boys who have “professed their faith” at camp and conversely also for those who “resisted the claims of the Saviour”.

As would be expected, religion was key to daily camp life, with timetabled worship and prayer times. Religion was also key to much of the planned ‘fun’ activities, such as quizzes on Bible quotes and what was badged as Quiet Time was essentially time put aside for Bible study. A padre or spiritual leader was appointed to each camp and religious literature was available for free and for sale.

It was not all prayer, however. Camps held Sports Days to which parents were invited; though a 1966 camp had the misfortune to be poorly attended as it was on the same day as the World Cup Final (let’s hope that none of the campers that year were big football fans).

Intriguingly, letters in the 1970s refers to the camp “moving away from the fervent evangelical ‘get them saved at all costs’ approach because ‘professions’ are all too easily obtained in camp atmosphere. For this reason the emphasis in the morning talks has been practical Christian living.” Frustratingly, whether or not this approach was continued and in what way, in future years of the camp, is not documented.
In the mid-1990s the camp underwent several rebranding exercises but although the cessation of the camps is not recorded in the items, they appear to have dwindled out around this time.

With many thanks to Christian Brethren Archivist Jess Smith for the opportunity to work on this small but intriguing look at Brethren life.

The Life of ‘Little Magazines’


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Fran Horner, a postgraduate student studying the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies, in her fourth blog post, tells us more about her internship at The John Rylands Library working with the dom sylvester houédard archive.

 In 1966, Cavan McCarthy, a student at the University of Leeds, wrote:

The poetry of today can only be seen in little magazines, short-lived but vital publications which hold a unique position in the artistic world. They act as a workshop for experimental and commercially impossible poetry, as group and information centres and as lines of contact between small clusters of individual poets. An artistic position gained can only be of value if it opens up new possibilities which render it anachronistic; therefore, small magazines do not live for long. Reading them can at first be difficult, because they are so fragmented, but this very variety means that anyone who takes a little trouble can be sure of finding something to his taste.


Front cover of Ikon little magazine, volume 1, number 3, 1966, featuring typestract poem by dsh. By kind permission of Prinknash Abbey Trustees.

This extract is from the article ‘trad/ kin kon: the Poetry Magazine Scene’ which can be found in volume 1, number 3 of little magazine Ikon. Ikon was an experimental poetry magazine founded and published at the University of Leeds Student Union from 1964 to 1966 by editor Cavan McCarthy. Unfortunately, only four issues of Ikon were published, but Volume 1, number 3 was collected by British concrete poet and monk dom sylvester houédard (known as dsh). It was a special issue dedicated to concrete poetry and featured some of dsh’s typestracts.

McCarthy’s article explores the relationship between concrete poetry and its gathering momentum as an avant-garde poetry movement through the format and distribution of little magazines. McCarthy describes little magazines as a ‘workshop’ for early or mid-career writers or artists to push the boundaries of poetry, playing around with form, structure and content without being conscious of pleasing a corporate money-driven publisher. dsh contributed many of his typestracts to little magazines which acted as an arena for his experimentation with the forms and structures of printed poetry on his Olivetti typewriter. He submitted his work to little magazines in Britain, America and numerous countries in Europe which widened his readership and built strong pen-pal relationships with concrete poets worldwide. These little magazines raised the early literary and artistic status of the contributors (many went on to become significant writers) and celebrated the ground-breaking differences that concrete poetry had to traditional forms of poetry.


Manifold little magazine, number 1, 1962. By kind permission of Prinknash Abbey Trustees.

I have found many letters inside little magazines from editors containing desperate pleas for more subscriptions or donations from their readers to ensure the survival of their publications. Their futures were never certain, publishing one issue at a time, always conscious of their budget but wanting to sustain their literary ‘workshop’. Many of the little magazines didn’t last for many issues, like Ikon and its four issues, however, they served a great purpose in the world of literature in 1960s Britain. The literary communities built from the distribution of little magazines allowed exchange of various literary and artistic ideas, consequently exposing political and social values and trends of the time thus rendering them important documents of history.

From working with the collection of little magazines found in the dom sylvester houédard Book Collection, I have come across little magazines of all shapes and sizes. Some are more DIY than others, for example: Manifold edited by Rich Vera is held together by staples with a hand-drawn typeface and cover. Notebook 1, edited by Dana Atchley consists of submissions of original poetry, art and prose kept together in a ring binder folder; as opposed to more established, better funded little magazines like Panache, a 176-page book which has a hand-bound spine and looks apologetically more professional. The magazines are typically made from cheap, easily sourced material that isn’t designed to be very durable, giving them their ephemeral nature. Editors, writers and artists were great innovators in finding and using whatever material they had to hand to create such intellectual and artistic publications which could be mass produced and easily distributed on a tight budget.


First page of Notebook 1 little magazine in a ringbinder, 1970. By kind permission of Prinknash Abbey Trustees.

I have found many letters inside little magazines from editors containing desperate pleas for more subscriptions or donations from their readers to ensure the survival of their publications. Their futures were never certain, publishing one issue at a time, always conscious of their budget but wanting to sustain their literary ‘workshop’. Many of the little magazines didn’t last for many issues, like Ikon and its four issues. However, they served a great purpose in the world of literature in 1960s Britain. The literary communities built from the distribution of little magazines allowed exchange of various literary and artistic ideas, consequently exposing political and social values and trends of the time thus rendering them important documents of history.


Front cover of Panache little magazine, 1971. By kind permission of Prinknash Abbey Trustees.

To read more about little magazines, I recommend British Poetry Magazines 1914-2000: A History and Bibliography of ‘Little Magazines’ edited by David Miller and Richard Price, which is available in the Special Collections held at the John Rylands Library.


Digital Access to Mission Work material



I’m delighted to announce that a new selection of material from the collection of Echoes of Service has been digitised, and is now available for access online. This material includes early editions of the mission work magazine entitled Echoes of Service from 1872-1918, and a series of postcards featuring pictures of mission workers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Initially published under the title of the Missionary Echo in 1872, the magazine was intended as a forum for the letters of mission workers around the world, detailing their experiences, challenges and success in planting and maintaining churches and assemblies. In 1885, the name of the publication was amended to Echoes of Service, and it continues to be published monthly, now under the title of Echoes International Magazine.

The letters and reports contained within are divided into different countries and continents, and an index of contributors is provided for each journal. Also featured are articles on evangelism and preparation for ministry work, and occasionally, in later volumes, photographs of the work undertaken, including the running of schools and mission stations.
Despite the high percentage of the brethren who become mission workers, tradition dictates that autonomy is maintained by individual assemblies. This emphasis on eschewing centralised organisation and control often presents challenges for overall study of their accomplishments, and their contribution to mission activities.

Echoes of Service 1918

Echoes of Service therefore provides an invaluable forum, compiling a fascinating history of collective experience and influence. The organisation evolved to become a conduit for mission workers to maintain contact with the brethren assembly to which they belonged, and as a means by which to receive the financial support.

EOS/4/2/1/19 Mr G. Cecil Smith

The postcards collection is an equally interesting example of the kind of advocacy undertaken by Echoes of Service. They feature a picture of the mission worker, the date which they departed to undertake their work, and the city, town or country in which they are working.
The postcards are intended for sale, as the script along the bottom states that ‘the proceeds will be devoted to the Lord’s work in foreign lands’. There is a belief prevalent in the brethren of the importance of living by faith, and trusting that the necessary funds will be provided. The links with assemblies, fostered by Echoes of Service, must have proved to be invaluable in ensuring that this was the case.

EOS/4/2/1/70 Lake Bangweulu

There are examples of memorial postcards for brethren mission workers who passed away whilst abroad. Also featured are depictions of groups of mission workers, families, married couples and images of villages and schools. The postcards include crowds waiting to hear ministry, and also activities such as the administration of vaccinations.
The series of postcards entreats that the ‘brethren pray for us’, and they act as a very effective visual reminder of those in distant lands in the service of the brethren faith.

EOS/4/2/1/32 M.W. Nisbet

Access of all of these resources can be found at the Manchester Digital webpages. Special thanks to the Library’s Digital Technologies and Services department, and to the Heritage Imaging team for their invaluable work on this project. Please follow this link to access Echoes of Service, and click here to access the postcard collection.

The Great Depths of Space: Cataloguing the Papers of Zdeněk Kopal


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Jane Speller writes:

With generous support from the American Institute of Physics, work has started on cataloguing the papers of the Czech-born astronomer, Zdeněk Kopal (1914-1993).


Zdeněk Kopal in front of an image of the moon, circa 1972, unknown photographer.

One of the largest archives of its kind for a modern British astronomer, it provides significant information about the development of the international astronomical community, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s, a period of ground-breaking research and unprecedented public interest in the ‘Space Race’.

Described in his time as ‘one of the world’s leading astronomers’ (S. Fred Singer, 1972), Kopal is little known today.  As the Chair of Astronomy at Manchester University (1951-81), Kopal’s research on the transfer of mass between separate stars in a binary system remains the key to understanding many modern observations of violently eruptive behaviour in the stellar system.  In the mid-1950s, Kopal’s work mapping the surface of the moon paved the way for the Apollo 11 mission which landed the first humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the moon in 1969.


Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, stands on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module, Eagle, 20 July 1969. By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Kopal began his academic career at Prague, where he studied under the German astronomer Erwin Finlay-Freundlich (1885-1964), a working associate of Albert Einstein. Kopal subsequently moved to the USA where he taught at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during and after the Second World War.

At the University of Manchester, Kopal built up an international reputation for the department. In the mid-1950s he developed a great interest in lunar studies. He assembled a team to take over 100,000 photos of the moon’s surface, using the 2-foot diameter refracting telescope of L’Observatoire du Pic du Midi in the French Pyrenees. The telescope had a sufficiently long focal length of 60 feet to produce high quality images for lunar mapping.  Funded by the United States Air Force, the project gave considerable prestige and funds to the Manchester department.

Pic du Midi

The futuristic looking Pic du Midi Observatory, located at 2877 metres on top of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre mountain. By Serge Ottaviani [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons.

Described by colleagues as likeable, friendly and eccentric, Kopal made many other contributions to astrophysics: he established a lively school of disciples in Manchester where he taught students from all over the world.  In 1962, he became the founder and first editor of Icarus, a scientific journal dedicated to the field of planetary science, and in 1966, while on leave from Manchester, Kopal acted as consultant to Moon-exploring programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In 1968, he founded an independent journal, Astrophysics and Space Science, challenging the monopoly of more established publications such as the Astrophysical Journal. Later he founded the Moon journal, now expanded into Earth, Moon and Planets.

The Kopal Papers, along with the papers of scientists John Dalton and James Joule, the National Archive for the History of Computing, and the archives of physicist and radio astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell and the Jodrell Bank Radio-Telescope Observatory, constitute a major research resource for the history of science and technology. Cataloguing the archive at this time coincides with growing academic and public interest in the history of the ‘Space Race’ as we approach significant anniversaries of the era’s achievements, for example the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on 20 July 2019. The Zdeněk Kopal collection will be used to support the Library’s public engagement programme around this important anniversary.

Forthcoming blogs in this series will look at Kopal’s fascinating work in more detail.