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Witkowski, Gustave Jules Alphonse (1844-1923)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 MSS.5036-5088
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Witkowski, Gustave Jules Alphonse (1844-1923)
Date(s): 1865-1922
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 53 items (volumes or bundles of papers)
Name of creator(s): Witkowski | Gustave Jules Alphonse | 1844-1923 | surgeon, writer and medical historian
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Gustave Jules Alphonse Witkowski was born in 1844 and trained as a doctor, presenting his MD thesis in 1872. He also wrote widely on a variety of subjects, chiefly upon medical history but also upon art and history in general. He died in 1923. A little further information may be found in [G.J. Witkowski], Docteur G.J. Witkowski : autobiographie (Paris?: no publisher noted, 1917).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers cover Witkowski's writings on medical history (and other areas of history) rather than his medical activities. MSS.5036-5038 comprise press cuttings, publishers' notices, reviews, etc., relating to Witkowski's writings, plus original poems, some photographs, and some letters to him about his work; they span the bulk of his career (1865-1920). MSS.5039-5085 consist of material related closely to various published works on medical history and art history by Witkowski: typescript and holograph drafts, annotated published material, etc. Within this block of material, MSS.5057-5062 consist of a detailed critique of Folie de l'Empereur by Augustin Cabanès (1862-1928), consisting of heavily annotated copies of the published work. Also worth noting are MSS.5063-5064, copies of Witkowski's Comment j'ai appris l'Histoire Sainte, a Rabelaisian and satirical anti-clerical history. Finally, MSS.5086-5088, written under the pseudonym "Docteur Clam", comprise travel writings, recording travels in Italy, Turkey, Romania and Hungary, in 1901 (MS.5086); Egypt, in 1901-1902 (MS.5087); and Italy, in 1905 (MS.5088).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Material is held in chronological order of composition. MSS.5036-5038 (comprising press cuttings, publishers' notices, reviews, etc., relating to Witkowski's writings) span the bulk of his career (1865-1920). The remainder of the collection, MSS.5039-5088, comprises items more precisely dated and spans the years c.1905 to 1922. This section of the collection comprises essays and papers on medical history, art history and other matters of historic interest, with the exception of the final three items (MSS.5086-5088) which comprise travel writings.

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:

Described in: S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973). Detailed catalogue available at

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased from Le François, Paris, June 1930 (accession number 55101). Moorat's catalogue lists this wrongly as 1929 and gives some items an erroneous accession number of 55161.

Allied Materials

Related material:

MS.7317/103 comprises a letter to Witkowski by Charles Maygrier (b.1849), professor of obstetrics, found in a copy of Witkowski's book Accouchers et sages-femmes célébres: esquisses biographiques (1891?) and setting out his relationship to various figures in the book.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
description compiled by Christopher Hilton based upon those in the Library's published finding aid by S.A.J. Moorat.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
December 2000

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