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Hodgkin, Thomas (1798-1866)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 MSS.5680-5686
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Hodgkin, Thomas (1798-1866)
Date(s): 1840-1979
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 volumes and 5 files
Name of creator(s): Hodgkin | Thomas | 1798-1866 | physician, pathologist and philanthropist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Thomas Hodgkin was born in London in 1798, the son of John Hodgkin (1766-1845), a private tutor. The family were strong Quakers and originated in Warwickshire. He trained in medicine at Edinburgh University, taking his M.D. in 1823. After travels in Europe he became Curator of the Medical Museum and Inspector of the Dead at Guy's Hospital, London. His pathological work led him to the first description of what is now known as Hodgkin's Disease in his honour. He left Guy's Hospital following his failure, in 1837, to be appointed Assistant Physician and after a short period at St. Thomas's Hospital devoted himself to private practice and to his other interests. He had a keen interest in the world beyond Europe and in particular in the societies there that were threatened with cultural extinction by the spread of European commercial, political or cultural dominion; his works in this area included playing a moving role in the foundation and functioning of the Aborigines Protection Society. In 1850 he married Sarah Frances Scaife, a widow, from Nottingham. The couple had no children of their own but there were two sons from her first marriage. He died in 1866 at Jaffa while on a journey with his friend Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) to negotiate for better treatment for Jewish residents in Palestine.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection chiefly comprises material relating to the latter part of Hodgkin's life, the 1850s and 1860s, following his marriage to Sarah Frances Scaife. Included are items relevant to Hodgkin's marriage and personal life (his marriage certificate, letters to his wife, miscellaneous papers relating to him and his wife, papers related to the subsequent history of the Scaife family and a Hodgkin pedigree book); papers relating to Hodgkin's lobbying and philanthropic activities during the years of his marriage; and a memorandum on the relationship of religion and physiology, drafted during this late period of his life but based upon discussions with Samuel Tuke that took place in 1821, while Hodgkin was still a student.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

MS.5680 consists of the marriage certificate of Thomas Hodgkin and Sarah Frances Scaife. MS.5681 consists of a memorandum on the relationship of religion and physiology, drafted during this late period of his life but based upon discussions with Samuel Tuke that took place in 1821, while Hodgkin was still a student. MSS.5682-5683 consist of correspondence, of which MS.5682 is letters between Hodgkin and his wife and MS.5683 copies of letters sent by Hodgkin to various individuals on philanthropic and reforming topics. MS.5684 consists of miscellaneous papers relating to Hodgkin and his wife, including copies of correspondence relating to Hodgkin's illness and death. MSS.5685-5686 relate to the two families concerned, on a wider scale: MS.5685 consists of correspondence and papers of the Scaife family, including letters from Hodgkin but also material on the later history of the family, while MS.5686 consists of a Hodgkin family pedigree book brought up to date in manuscript up to 1936.

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: Richard Palmer, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine: Western Manuscripts 5120-6244 (London: The Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine, 1999).

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

Archival Information

Archival history:

These papers passed by descent down the Scaife family, descendants of Hodgkin's wife, until they were sold at Hunt's auctioneers, Taunton, by Professor Christopher Scaife in 1989.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased from John Wilson, 1989 (accession number 348205).

Allied Materials

Related material:

In the Wellcome Library, collection PP/HO (papers of the Hodgkin and Howard families) includes the bulk of Thomas Hodgkin's papers.

Durham County Record Office holds Hodgkin family papers including material on Thomas Hodgkin (D/HO). Notes on the geology of Morocco are held at the University of Toronto Library. Letters are held at Friends House. Correspondence with his nephew John Eliot Hodgkin is held by the British Library (Add. MS. 42502a); with Sir J.F.W. Herschel, by the Royal Society; and with the Royal Geographical Society, in the archives of that Society (p101). Material relating to the apothecaries Glaisyer and Kemp of Hove, to whom Hodgkin was apprenticed, is held at East Sussex County Record Office: prescription books from 1818 to 1927, with gaps (SAS/ACC 1203, ACC 5809), and a history of the firm from 1823 to 1853 (ACC 6077/20/2).

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 Richard Palmer.

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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