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Pagel, Walter (1898-1983)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 PP/PAG
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Pagel, Walter (1898-1983)
Date(s): 1851-1983
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 14 boxes
Name of creator(s): Pagel | Walter | 1898-1983 | pathologist and medical historian


Administrative/Biographical history:

Walter Pagel was born in Berlin, the youngest son of Julius Pagel, the Professor of Medical History at the Friedrich Wilhelms Universität, Berlin, where Pagel studied medicine. Pagel then worked at the Preussisches Institut für Infektionskrankheiten 'Robert Koch', Berlin, undertaking research in microbiology and immunology. In 1924 he moved to the Berlin Municipal Tuberculosis Hospital at Sommerfeld, where he pursued the immunological aspects of TB, working on theories recently advanced by Ranke. He continued to work as a pathologist in Germany until Hitler's accession to power in 1933, when he was dismissed from his post as a Jew. He then worked briefly in Paris before settling in England where he worked in Cambridge and London until his retirement in 1967. Between 1924 and 1967 Pagel was the author of around 120 publications on tuberculosis, including seven major monographs - of which Pulmonary Tuberculosis, 1939, was the OUP's standard textbook on the subject.

However, it was as a medical historian that Pagel was best known, concerned with the study of philosophy and religion in the 16th and 17th centuries, and primarily with the work of van Helmont, Paracelsus and Harvey. Pagel's first major historical monograph on van Helmont was published in 1930, but the majority of his historical research was carried out after his retirement from pathology work in 1967.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Walter Pagel covering most stages of his career and including correspondence, research notes and photographs, 1851-1983. Significant areas covered include section A, which relates to his school and university education, and his dismissal in 1933; section C, which consists of papers (writings and collected letters) relating to his work on tuberculosis; and section D, which relates to his work in medical history. The collection also includes some papers relating to his father, Julius Pagel, in section A.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In 1984 Dr Marianne Winder, the Curator of the WIHM Oriental Collections, carried out an initial listing of the papers, but did not undertake any substantial arrangement. When the collection was finally catalogued, although some grouping of papers was evident, the collection was in a state of considerable disorder. There was a large body of correspondence with no discernible arrangement by date, correspondent or subject. Most of the correspondence concerned issues of medical history, and has now been arranged alphabetically by correspondent (Section B). A small amount of the correspondence was in discernible groups relating to specific issues, such as the award of honours, or testimonials by colleagues, and has been left in these groups.

The collection is divided into sections as follows:

A FAMILY, PERSONAL, PHOTOGRAPHS: A.1 Family papers; A.1/1 Abraham Baer Pagel; A.1/2 Julius Pagel; A.1/3 WP's brothers; A.2 WP; A.3 Magda Koll; A.4 Photographs; A.4/1 Julius Pagel; A.4/2 WP.


C TUBERCULOSIS WRITINGS, PUBLICATIONS: C.1 Correspondence; C.2 Probleme der Pathologie Tuberkulose, notes and contract; C.3 Pulmonary Tuberculosis, notes and contract; C.4 Articles 1922-1971; C.5 Notes for talk.

D MEDICAL HISTORY: D.1 Notebooks and notes; D.2 Book typescripts and correspondence with publishers; D.3 Articles; D.4 Reviews; D.5 Reviews of WP's books; D.6 Paracelsus Brief

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

The catalogue to this collection has not yet been fully converted to electronic form: for detail, and to order material, see hard-copy list available in the Wellcome Library. Copies of the catalogue are available on request.

Collection level description available on-line on the Wellcome Library website

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These papers were given to the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre in December 1983 by Dr Bernard Pagel, Walter Pagel's son. A few letters were donated by recipients after a memorial symposium at the Wellcome Institute in December 1983.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Isobel Hunter, "The papers of Walter Pagel in the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre", in Medical History 1998, 42: 89-95. Isobel Hunter, "The papers of Walter Pagel (1898-1983)" in Friends of the Wellcome Institute Newsletter no. 9 (February 1996).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Jan 2009

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