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Martindale, Louisa (1872-1966)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 GC/25
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Martindale, Louisa (1872-1966)
Date(s): 1872-1964
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 2 boxes
Name of creator(s): Martindale | Louisa | 1872-1966 | surgeon
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Louisa Martindale was born in 1872. She was a keen proponent of women's rights and their admission to the professions on equal terms. She received her MB from the London School of Medicine for Women (Royal Free Hospital) in 1900 and subsequently studied on the continent. Her particular interest was the use of radiotherapy for gynaecological disorders although much of her practice was of a general medical and surgical nature. She practised in Hull and Berlin for 5 years before taking the M.D.Lond. and then moving to Brighton, where she was one of the founders of the New Sussex Hospital for Women and Children, of which she was an Honorary Consultant Surgeon for many years. During World War One, 1914-1918, she served with the Scottish Women's Hospital at Royaumont (France). In 1921 she moved to London and later settled permanently in consulting practice in Weymouth Street. She was involved in the establishment of the Marie Curie Hospital in 1924 of which she became an Honorary Consultant Surgeon. She was active in the Medical Women's Federation of which she became President in 1931. In that year she was also appointed C.B.E. She was elected F.R.C.O.G. in 1933. She was elected president of the Medical Women's International Association in 1937 and kept the organisation going throughout the Second World War, 1939-1945, promoting its revival in 1946. She died in her London home on 5 Feb 1966, aged 93. Fuller details of her life and career can be found in her autobiography A Woman Surgeon (Victor Gollanz, 1951), and the lengthy obituaries in the Lancet and British Medical Journal


Scope and content/abstract:

Louisa Martindale collection, 1872-1964. The collection consists of Section A: a little personal correspondence, papers, articles, speeches and lectures by Louisa Martindale, and some personal material including notes on the glaucoma which eventually blinded her, 1872-1960; and Section B: papers concerning the Medical Women's International Association (founded 1919) of which Miss Martindale was President from 1937 to 1947. As well as her own correspondence in this capacity, 1937-1946, there is one file of the correspondence of Mme Montreuil-Strauss, Secretary of the Medical Women's International Association at his period. (Louisa Martindale destroyed the vast bulk of her case records at the time of her retirement from practice around 1950, those remaining were destroyed by her executors after her death).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

By series as follows: A. Personal Records, 1872-1960 B. Medical Women's International Association, 1937-1964

Conditions governing access:

Open. 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:

Wellcome catalogue online Hard-copy catalogue and catalogue available on-line on Wellcome Library website. Listed in the 'Guide to Contemporary Medical Archives in the Wellcome Library' (5th Ed. 2001).

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These papers were received by the library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in 1966 from Miss Martindale's cousin and executrix Miss Eva D. Spicer. In 1981 they were transferred to the care of the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre (now Archives and Manuscripts section of the Wellcome Library).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Barbara Ball.

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
January 2009

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