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Florey, Howard Walter, Baron Florey (1898-1968)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0117 HF
Held at: Royal Society
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Full title: Florey, Howard Walter, Baron Florey (1898-1968)
Date(s): 1924-1968
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 369 boxes, 100 books from his library and 81 boxes of collected reprints
Name of creator(s): Florey | Howard Walter | 1898-1968 | Baron Florey | pathologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Adelaide, Australia, 1898; educated at Kyre College, Adelaide, St. Peter's Collegiate School, Adelaide, and Adelaide University Medical School; worked his passage to England as ship's surgeon to take up a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, 1921-1922; did research work at the invitation of Charles Sherrington at Oxford, 1923; subsequently medical officer to the third Oxford University Arctic Expedition; John Lucas Walker Student, University of Cambridge, 1924; Rockefeller Travelling Fellow in America, studying microsurgical techniques, 1925; Freedom Research Fellow, London Hospital, 1926; Huddersfield Lecturer in Special Pathology, University of Cambridge, 1927; Fellow, Gonville and Caius College; Director Medical Studies, Gonville and Caius; began to study lysozome (discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1922), 1929; Joseph Hunter Professor of Pathology, University of Sheffield, 1932-1935; Professor of Pathology, University of Oxford, 1935-1962; Fellow, Lincoln College, Oxford, 1935; continued research on lysozome, leading to the development of use of penicillin by 1942; Nuffield Visiting Professor to Australia and New Zealand, 1944; involved in the foundation of the Australian National University, Canberra, especially with the design and organisation of the John Curtin School of Medical Research; Knight, 1944; Provost of Queen's College Oxford and resigned Chair of Pathology, 1962; Chancellor of the Australian National University, 1965; received many honours and awards both nationally and internationally; elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1941; received the Royal Medal, 1951; gave the Croonian Lecture, 1954; Vice President of the Royal Society, 1951-1953; President, 1960-1965; Nobel Prize (Physiology or Medicine) jointly with Ernst Chain for his work on penicillin, 1945; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, 1951; Honorary Fellow, Lincoln College, Oxford, 1962; Lister Medal, Royal College of Surgeons, 1945; Berzelius Medal in Silver, Swedish Medical Society, 1945; Albert Medal, Royal Society of Arts, 1946; Medal in therapeutics from the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, 1946; Royal Society of Medicine Gold Medal, 1947; USA Medal of Merit, 1948; British Medical Association Gold Medal, 1964; Lomonosov Medal, USSR Academy of Sciences, 1965; Life Peer, 1965; appointed to the Order of Merit, 1965; married, firstly, 1926, Mary Ethel Hayter Reed (d 1966), 1926; married, secondly, Mrs Margaret Jennings, daughter of T F Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe, 1967; suffered from angina, and died of a heart attack, 1968.


Scope and content/abstract:

Extensive papers of Howard Walter Florey, Baron Florey, relating to almost every aspect of his career in science and public life. The scientific materials include a complete run of laboratory notebooks, 1924-1968, files on the work for which Florey is best known, penicillin and antibiotics, 1940-1962, together with papers, research notes and photographs on mucus secretion, traumatic shock and electron microscopy. Florey's writings are preserved in the form of drafts and proofs of published items, together with relevant correspondence. His correspondence indicates the depth of his involvement in the affairs of particular organisations, notably the Oxford University School of Pathology and the Royal Society. The work of Ethel Florey (née Hayter) and Margaret Augusta Florey (née Fremantle) is also present.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection has been divided into three sub-fonds:
HF/1 Howard Walter Florey's papers
HF/2 Lady M Ethel Florey's papers
HF/3 Documents relating to deposit of Florey archive and related material

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

A hand list outlines the structure and extent of the collection. There is also a detailed card catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received by the Royal Society in 1968 from Lady Florey, widow.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Medical Research Council and the Noel Butlin Archives Centre hold correspondence and papers; Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University, USA hold his lectures for 1965; Nuffield College Library, Oxford University holds his correspondence with Lord Cherwell; the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Texas, USA holds his correspondence with Sir Julian Huxley; Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine holds his correspondence with Ernst Chain.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description produced by the Royal Society and revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Source: Who Was Who.

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:
Created 9/10/2001, modified 20/06/2002, revised Sep 2002

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