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Foy, Henry (1900-1991), and Kondi, Athena (d.1994), Haematologists and nutrition researchers

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 PP/FAK
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Foy, Henry (1900-1991), and Kondi, Athena (d.1994), Haematologists and nutrition researchers
Date(s): [1934-1990]
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 22 boxes
Name of creator(s): Foy | Henry | 1900-1991 | haematologist and nutrition researcher
Kondi | Athena | d 1994 | haematologist and nutrition researcher


Administrative/Biographical history:

Dr Henry Foy was born in July 1900, and went to Oxford in 1918 to study physiology under Julian Huxley. After graduation he taught biology at Gresham's School, Holt and Malvern College. In 1925 he took up a teaching post at Imperial College, Trinidad, where he became involved in a leper colony in Manaus on the Upper Amazon and developed a keen interest in tropical diseases. In 1932 he was appointed to run the League of Nations Malaria Research Laboratory in Salonika, where Dr Athena Kondi was his laboratory assistant. She had gained her MB from Athens University in 1930, and her MD in 1933.

The League of Nations Research Laboratory was funded initially by the Rockefeller Foundation, and when funding ended in 1937, Foy gained Wellcome Trust funds via Sir Henry Dale. The laboratory was extended, with beds provided for clinical research on patients, under the care of Kondi. Foy and Kondi were to work together for the rest of their lives, so closely that they were known as 'Foyandkondi' by the local people in Nairobi. When Greece was invaded in 1941, they left to work first at the South Africa Institute for Medical Research in Johannesburg and then, after a brief return to Greece, their laboratory was established in Nairobi in 1948. Foy believed Nairobi provided excellent opportunities for the study of malaria and sickle cell anaemia - a condition they had begun to study in Greece at the end of the war. Despite being based in Nairobi, Foy and Kondi made lengthy visits to Assam, the Seychelles and Mauritius to carry out survey projects, and it was after observing the connection between hookworm infection and anaemia in the Seychelles that Foy decided to establish a colony of baboons at Nairobi to undertake more sytematic study of the phenomenon. In 1961 accomodation was built for 150 baboons and a breeding nucleus. The colony was subsequently employed in several research projects, chiefly into the various effects of B vitamin deficiencies, and research continued after the official retirement of Foy in 1970.

In addition to laboratory-based research with the baboons, Foy and Kondi also took part in large scale projects, including investigations of anaemias in children with kwashiorkor and marasmus, survey of the incidence of tropical sprue in East Africa and surveys of anaemias in India, Mauritius and the Seychelles. The achievements of Foy's laboratories in Salonika and Nairobi were praised by Sir Henry Dale, and the idea of a small expert team working on well defined projects using locally gathered data and with secure financial support was used as a model for planning research facilities in other tropical countries.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Henry Foy and Athena Kondi, [1934-1990], comprising:
(A) records of haematological research into B vitamin deficiencies including records of serum tests, biopsies and post mortems on baboons, plus correspondence, reports and photographs, 1963-1977;
(B) surveys of anaemia and sickle cell anaemia in Mozambique, Kenya, Sudan, India, Mauritius, 1951-1974; survey of tropical sprue, 1962-1969;
(C) publications by Foy and Kondi, particularly on blackwater fever and anaemias in the tropics, 1935-c 1990;
(D) reference files of articles and reprints, mid 20th century-late 20th century;
(E) photographic material relating to research, and of the countries where Foy and Kondi worked, c 1934-1988

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

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

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

Archival Information

Archival history:

From Foy's death in 1991 until 1995, his papers were kept in the store of the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories, Nairobi.

Immediate source of acquisition:

These majority of this collection was given to the Wellcome Library in May 1995 by Helen Watkins of the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories, Nairobi (acc.571). A large number of transparencies were given by Foy's grandaughter, Nicola, in March 1996 (acc.620). Some standard textbooks on anatomy, pathology and nutrition were transferred to the Wellcome Library's Modern Medicine Collection.

Allied Materials

Related material:

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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