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Haddow, Professor Sir Alexander (1907-1976)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 PP/HAD
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Haddow, Professor Sir Alexander (1907-1976)
Date(s): 1920s-1970s
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 33 boxes
Name of creator(s): Haddow | Sir | Alexander | 1907-1976 | Knight | pathologist
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Professor Sir Alexander Haddow FRCP, FRS (1907-1976) was an experimental pathologist specialising in cancer research.

He was born at Leven, Fife, the son of a miner, and grew up in Broxburn, West Lothian. In 1924-1929 he studied at Edinburgh University, graduating MB ChB; following this, he served as house physician and Carnegie Research Student at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and worked in general practice in Hull, before becoming an assistant lecturer in bacteriology at Edinburgh University. He became a full lecturer and Davidson Reserch Fellow in 1932, his research leading to the qualifications of PhD and MD in 1937 and DSc in 1938.

By 1936 he joined Ernest Kennaway's team at the Royal Cancer Hospital (now the Marsden Hospital) in London, and in 1946 became Director of the Chester Beatty Research Institute, succeeding Kennaway. During these years his work built on Kennaway's achievement of extracting chemicals from coal tar that proved carcinogenic to animals. Haddow reasoned that if these carcinogens were compared to other closely related but non-carcinogenic chemicals the differences between them would prove significant in explaining the genesis of cancer. He also discovered what is known as the Haddow Effect, in which a carcinogenic chemical can be used to arrest a cancer caused by some other carcinogenic chemical (provided that the two chemicals are not closely related). Clinical trials at the Royal Cancer Hospital led to the adoption of the platinum compound cisplatin as a treatment for cancer of the ovary, and other compounds such as chlorambucil, melphalan and busulphan are used for treatment of breast and ovarian cancer, and malignant blood diseases.

Haddow was elected FRS in 1958 and knighted in 1966, receiving many other honours such as the Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. He was president of the International Union Against Cancer 1962-1966. His other activities included work with the BBC, service on the Press Council, and work with the Pugwash Conferences of scientists opposed to nuclear weapons.

He was married twice, to Dr Lucia Lindsay Crosby Black (d.1968), with whom he had one son, William George Haddow (b.1934), and after her death to Feo Standing née Garner, scientific photographer, who survived him. He died in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, in 1976, and was cremated there.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Professor Sir Alexander Haddow including correspondence, diaries, autobiographical notes, photographs; scientific notes, 1920s-1970s.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

A. Personal and Biographical; B. Scientific.

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 is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS).

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These papers were received by the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre in April 1984 from the store of the Library of the Institute of Cancer Research, Fulham Road, London SW3.

Allied Materials

Related material:

In the Wellcome Library: See also the papers of Sir Ernest Kennaway, (1881-1958) (PP/ELK); for general information on cancer issues see the sources leaflet 'Cancer'.

Publication note:

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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