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Bülbring, Edith, (1903-1990)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 PP/BUL
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Bülbring, Edith, (1903-1990)
Date(s): 1926-1990
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 7 boxes
Name of creator(s): Bülbring | Edith | 1903-1990 | Professor of Pharmacology
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Edith Bülbring, the daughter of a Dutch Jewish mother and German father, came to England in 1933, after being dismissed from a research post in Berlin because of her Jewish background. In 1938 she settled in Oxford and, working in the University's Department of Pharmacology, became a leading authority on the physiology and pharmacology of smooth muscle (visceral or involuntary muscle). In 1958 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1970 Smooth Muscle was published in her honour.

Born 27 December 1903 in Bonn, fourth and youngest child of Karl Daniel Bülbring, Professor of English at Bonn University, and Hortense Leonore (née Kann) Bülbring; Klostermann Lyzeum, 1910-1920; student at the Bonn Gymnasium, 1922; entered Bonn University, 1923; clinical training in Munich, Freiburg and Bonn, 1925-1928; MD Bonn, 1928; worked with P Trendelenburg, Professor of Pharmacology in Berlin, 1929-1931; paediatrician in Jena, 1931; assistant to U Friedemann, immunologist, in Berlin, 1932; dismissed from position in Berlin because mother was Jewish, 1933. Came to England on holiday. Via Freidemann and Henry Dale, became a research assistant to JH Burn, 1933-1938; worked with Burn in the Pharmacological laboratories of the Pharmaceutical Society in London, mainly standardising hormone and vitamin preparations; Demonstrator in the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University, where Burn was now Professor, 1938; 1938-1949 With Burn, researched the autonomic nervous system, 1938-1949; began concentrating research on smooth muscle, 1940s; naturalisation, 1948; visit to the United States, 1949-1950; elected Fellow of the Royal Society for work on smooth muscle, 1958; appointed Reader in Pharmacology, Oxford University and Elected Active Member of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1960; appointed Professor of Pharmacology, Oxford University, 1967; publication of Smooth Muscle (London: Edward Arnold), 1970; retired, 1971; research in the Laboratory of Physiology at Oxford University, 1971-1981; awarded the Schmiedeberg-Plakette der Deutschen Pharmakologischen Gesellschaft, 1974; elected to an Honorary Fellowship, Lady Margaret Hall, 1975; elected Honorary Member of the Physiological Society, 1981; awarded the Wellcome Gold Medal in Pharmacology, 1985; died 5 July 1990.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Edith Bülbring including correspondence, laboratory notes, lectures and other papers covering life and career in England after 1933, with J H Burn at the Pharmaceutical Society, 1933-1938, and at Oxford University, 1938-1981. Most of the material in the collection relates to Edith Bülbring's career in England between 1938 and 1981. Her early family life in Germany is represented by items A.4/1-2 and A.5, which indicate her linguistic and musical talents. There are no records of her career in Germany, nor at the Pharmaceutical Society in London (1933-1938). However, laboratory notebooks (although an incomplete series), reports made for organisations supporting her work, and publications and lectures all describe her later research.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Nearly all the papers were received in good order, stored within files. Most of these files have been kept intact; a few have been divided. Original file titles, where retained, are given in red commas in the list. With little arrangement to the files overall, an artificial structure has been imposed upon them to assist the reader. Duplicate papers have been destroyed. Papers in which Edith Bülbring acted as a referee for colleagues are closed until 2039.

Conditions governing access:

The majority of the papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking. Some correspondence files in section B are closed until 1 Jan 2039: B/1-2, 5, 7-8, 10-11, 14-15, 17, 19-22, 24.

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 given to the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre (CMAC) as gifts in two accessions. The first, accession no. 325, was collected from Edith Bülbring in November 1989, the second, accession no. 369, after her death, from Alison Brading, of the University Department of Pharmacology, Oxford, in January 1991. A transcript of an interview with Edith Bülbring was added to accession no. 369 in February 1992(now item A.4/2).

Allied Materials

Related material:

A complete set of Bulbring's reprints is held by the Royal Society library. The Bodleian Library Department of Western Manuscripts holds her correspondence with the Society for Protection of Science and Learning 1935-1971. The following collections held by the CMAC may also be of interest: SA/PHY, records of the Physiological Society, of which Edith Bülbring was a Committee number 1971-1975; PP/HHD, a small collection of Sir Henry Dale's papers; and a few papers of Hermann Blaschko (uncatalogued) *PP/HKB, and Professor J H Burn GC/154. Collections relating to Jewish refugee scientists are listed in the CMAC Sources leaflet No.28: 'Refugee Scientists and Medical Practicioners', which is available in the Library.

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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