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Browne, Stanley George (1907-1986)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 WTI/SGB
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Browne, Stanley George (1907-1986)
Date(s): 1909-1986
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 26 boxes, 6 oversize items
Name of creator(s): Browne | Stanley George | 1907-1986 | medical missionary
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Stanley George Browne (CMG, OBE, MD, FRCS, FRCP, DTM) was born on 8 December 1907 in London, and studied medicine at King's College Hospital, London, graduating in 1933. He combined house appointments at King's with postgraduate study, and became Member, Royal College of Physicians, London in 1934 and Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1935. After being accepted by the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) for work in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Browne studied French and tropical medicine at the Institute de Médecine Tropicale Prince Léopold, Antwerp, obtaining the Diploma in Tropical Medicine in 1936.

From 1936 to 1959 he worked at the BMS hospital in Yakusu, working to control trypanosomiasis and onchocerciasis in the surrounding area. His rural surveys showed a high incidence of leprosy, and he endeavoured to find the cause and cure for this disease, establishing a leprosarium at Yalisombo. While at the hospital he oversaw an area of 10,000 square miles, in which he developed a programme of community care based on 18 health centres and 36 treatment centres. This pioneering programme became a model in Africa for the control of endemic diseases.

From 1959 to 1966 Browne was Director of the Leprosy Research Unit, Uzuakoli, Eastern Nigeria (becoming known in West Africa as `Mr Leprosy' and sometimes `Bonganga'), after which he became Director of the Leprosy Study Centre, London, 1966-1980.

Browne's outstanding skills in leprosy were in great demand throughout the world, and his very many advisory roles included Consultant Advisor in Leprosy, Department of Health and Social Security, 1966-1979, and Medical Consultant to the Leprosy Mission, 1966-1978. Similarly, he was involved with numerous leprosy organisations, including LEPRA (Medical Secretary, 1968-1973, Vice-President, 1984-1986) and the International Leprosy Association (Secretary-Treasurer, 1966-1984, Honorary Vice-President, 1984-1986). His contributions to tropical medicine were recognised by many awards, including the British Medical Association's Stewart Prize for Epidemiology, 1975, the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine's JN Chaudry gold medal, 1978, and the Fellowship of King's College Hospital Medical School, also in 1978.

He was a dedicated and active Christian, and was president of the Christian Medical Fellowship of Great Britain, 1969-1971, and of the Baptist Union 1980-1981. He married Ethel Marion Williamson (known as Mali) in 1940. He died on 29 January 1986.

For further biographical material on Browne see his obituaries in The Lancet, 22 Feb 1986, p 455 and the British Medical Journal, vol 292, 15 Feb 1986, p 491; Munk's Roll, vol 8, p 59; and Who Was Who, 1981-1990, p 98.


Scope and content/abstract:

The archive spans Browne's career from school onwards, but the core series of records focus on his work as a medical missionary at the BMS hospital in Yakusu, Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Section B comprises records for the period 1938-1958, including registers of leprosy sufferers, case records and photograph albums documenting various symptoms. Section K contains further photographs (mainly clinical) for the period 1938-1977, the most important series of which dates from Browne's time at the Baptist Mission Hospital and comprises over 900 negatives and prints together with supporting documentation, 1954-1958.

Section C contains a small number of files compiled by Browne during his research into leprosy, yaws, onchocerciasis and ainhum, 1946-1983. Particularly notable are the files on the anti-leprosy drug B663 (now known as clofazimine), into the use of which Browne conducted pioneering studies whilst director of the Leprosy Research Unit, Uzuakoli, Eastern Nigeria, 1959-1966.The remaining records comprise personal and biographical material, 1923-1985 (section A); general subject files containing correspondence, reprints etc. on a wide variety of topics, 1948-1986 (section D); writings by Browne, 1935-1985 (section E); records of Browne's involvement with the International Leprosy Association, 1909-1985 (section F) and various other organisations, 1959-1986 (section G); records on foreign visits, 1965-1985 (section H); and a few files on religious matters, 1959-1984 (section J).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
The majority of records are in English, but there is some material in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Lingala, Portuguese and Swedish.

System of arrangement:

By section as follows: A. Personal and Biographical Material, 1923-1985; B. Baptist Missionary Hospital, Yakusu, Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), 1936-1958; C. Research Files, 1946-1983; D. General Subject Files, 1948-1986; E. Writings by S G Browne, 1935-1985; F. International Leprosy Association, 1909-1985; G. Other International Bodies, 1959-1986; H. Foreign Visits, 1965-1985; J. Religious Matters, 1959-1984; K. Photographs, 1938-1977, n.d.

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, by prior appointment with Archives and Manuscripts staff and after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking. Please note that access to several files is restricted as they contain sensitive personal data (the relevant files are marked `Restricted Access' in the detailed list). Readers wishing for access to such material may submit a formal application form to Archives and Manuscript staff.

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:

Catalogued by Shirley Dixon, Wellcome Library, September 1998, and revised by Helen Wakely, Wellcome Library, March 2001. Hard-copy catalogue available in Wellcome Library.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records were given to the Wellcome Tropical Institute in 1987 by Dr Derek Browne, Stanley Browne's son.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were transferred to the Wellcome Library from the Wellcome Tropical Institute on its closure in 1989 (Accession No WTI/3). The publication Health & the developing world by John Bryant (1969), which accompanied the archive, was transferred at that time to the Wellcome Library's printed collection.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Material held by Archives and Manuscripts, Wellcome Library: see Sources Leaflet No. 11 Tropical Medicine and Western Manuscripts Subject Guides No. 4 Africa and No.6 Asia.

Material held elsewhere: London University School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine holds further papers of Browne (lecture notes and papers on leprosy, c1960-69).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description compiled by Helen Wakely

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:
May 2001

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