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Gaddum, Sir John (1900-1965)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 GC/213
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Gaddum, Sir John (1900-1965)
Date(s): [1920]-1964
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 4 boxes
Name of creator(s): Gaddum | Sir | John Henry | 1900-1965 | Knight | pharmacologist
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Henry Gaddum was born on 31 March 1900 in Hale, Cheshire, the eldest of 6 children. His father was a silk importer who did much charitable work and who had a great influence on his son. He was educated at Miss Wallace's day school in Bowdon, Cheshire, then Moorland House School, Heswall, Cheshire, and from 1913 at Rugby School. He was encouraged to take up science by F A Meyer who later became headmaster of Bedales. He won two leaving exhibitions - one general, one for mathematics. In 1919 he went to Trinity College Cambridge on an entrance scholarship for mathematics, and read medicine. He won a senior scholarship at Trinity in 1922 and obtained second class honours in the Science Tripos (Part II) in Physiology. In 1922 he became a medical student at University College Hospital, London. In 1925 he applied for and won a post at the Wellcome Research Laboratories under J W Trevan, writing his first paper on the quantitative aspects of drug antagonism. In 1927 he went to work for Sir Henry Dale at the National Institute for Medical Research in Hampstead, where he stayed for six years, then accepted the Chair of Pharmacology at the University of Cairo in 1934. In 1935 he was appointed Professor of Pharmacology at University College London, and in 1938 he took the Chair of Pharmacology at the College of the Pharmaceutical Society, London. After the war broke out, he worked at the Chemical Defence Research Station, Porton Down, then later was for a short time in the Army as Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1942 he accepted the Chair of Materia Medica in the University of Edinburgh, where he was happy and built up an outstanding research department which attracted many scientists from abroad. Extra-mural activities became more time-consuming and in 1958 he was invited to become the Director of the Institute of Animal Physiology in Babraham, Cambridge, by the Agricultural Research Council. He enjoyed learning new things, so accepted the post and staffed the Institute with the finest physiologists, with the result it became one of the great international centres for research in physiology and pharmacology. A year before his death he was knighted and awarded an honorary LL.D, Edinburgh. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1929 he married Iris Mary Harmer, M.B., B.Chir., M.R.C.P., daughter of Sir Sidney Harmer, FRS, a zoologist, and Laura Russell.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Gaddum including correspondence [1954]-1964; Cambridge Biochemistry Laboratory journals 1923-1930; reprints and photographs. These extant papers by no means reflect the whole of Gaddum's career. They date mostly from [1957]-1964, when he was Director of the Agricultural Research Council Institute of Animal Physiology at Babraham, Cambridge.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged into sections as follows: A Correspondence B Publications C Photographs and slides.

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:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These papers were given to the Wellcome Library in March 1997 by Sir John's daughter, Mrs. Phyllis Champion, via the British Pharmacological Society.

Allied Materials

Related material:

In the Wellcome Library: Reminiscences of Gaddum (and Sir Thomas Lewis) by his wife and Dr. John Honour can be found at GC/110. The archives of two bodies with which Gaddum was involved are held at the Wellcome Library: the Physiological Society (SA/PHY) and the British Pharmacological Society (SA/BPS). In other repositories: The Royal Society holds a fuller collection of Gaddum papers (reference JHG).

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:
Feb 2009

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