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With the culmination of a year-long cataloguing project to tackle some of the Library’s science and medical collections a number of new catalogues are now available online and the material itself available to view in the searchroom at the University’s Main Library.

MMM-Manchester Medical Manuscripts.

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Newly boxed manuscripts on shelves

The Manchester Medical Manuscripts Collections is comprised of 317 individual items ranging from approximately the 16th century to the 20th century, although the majority of the material dates from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century. Most of the manuscripts have their origins in Manchester’s 19th-century medical libraries, having been donated to them by some of the city’s most prominent medical men of the time. It is around these men that the collection has been organised, thus illustrating who was responsible for either creating or collecting these manuscripts before they were donated to a larger library. In this way we can analyse the development of Manchester’s medical profession through their collecting habits and manuscripts produced as a result of their professional work.

Of particular note are some of the only known surviving copies of lectures given in Manchester’s early medical schools, including those by the likes of Thomas Turner, Joseph Jordan, and Samuel Bardsley. There is also a heavy emphasis on midwifery with over 25% of the material being directly related to the subject. All the relevant subjects comprising medical education at this time are however covered including anatomy, surgery, chemistry, botany, the materia medica, physiology, and the practice of physic. The catalogue is available via MMM.

JHU-John Hunter Letter

During the course of the cataloguing of the Medical Manuscripts a single letter written by the famous 18th-century surgeon John Hunter that did not belong to the rest of the collection came to light. The letter has been described separately with its own catalogue entry. In the letter Hunter writes to a Hampshire-based surgeon offering him advice on the treatment of a female patient with breast cancer without resorting to surgery. A full description is available via JHU.

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JFW-John Frederick Wilkinson Papers

Wilkinson was a renowned 20th-century haematologist and spent his entire career in Manchester. He is most noted for his extensive research into the treatment of pernicious anaemia and the treatment of leukaemia with early chemotherapy drugs. His papers also represent much of the other important work he undertook, for example his extensive work during World War Two into the health of those working in poison gas factories and his work during the 1960s and 1970s for the University of Manchester’s radiology protection committee. The catalogue is available via JFW.

FCC-Frederick Crace-Calvert Correspondence

Crace-Calvert is a little known 19th-century Manchester based industrial chemist who dedicated a lot of time to the application of chemistry to public health. This is only a small collection of 13 letters but is most notable for the presence of three letters written to Crace-Calvert by Joseph Lister of antiseptic surgery fame. In these letters he discusses developments in his work and his recent attempts to produce an effective antiseptic dressing.

Crace-Calvert was the first to successfully devise a method for the efficient industrial scale production of carbolic acid (phenol), a substance that was at the core of Lister’s research. Other letters in the collection demonstrate Crace-Calvert’s wider involvement in matters of public health with correspondence from the sanitation officer Robert Rawlinson and representatives of both the Admiralty and Central Government Offices illustrating his attempts to see antiseptic practices more widely employed. The catalogue is available via FCC.

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DDL-Lectures of Professor Daniel Dougal

Finally, time at the end of the project has also allowed for the cataloguing of the obstetrics and gynaecology lectures of Professor Daniel Dougal. Dougal taught at Manchester University and was appointed to the Professorship there in 1926. He produced full and detailed copies of the lectures to assist his students and these served as text books. The content was regularly revised to keep in line with current practices and six separate editions were produced in total spanning 1929-1938. Copies of all six editions, with the exception of the second, survive in this collection and show the development of Dougal’s lectures, several having been annotated by the students who used them. The catalogue is available via DDL.