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LEIPER, Robert Thomson (1881-1969)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0809 Leiper
Held at: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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Full title: LEIPER, Robert Thomson (1881-1969)
Date(s): 1880s-1960s
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 3 boxes
Name of creator(s): Leiper | Robert Thomson | 1881-1969 | Helminthologist
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Leiper was born in 1881 in Kilmarnock; his father died from tuberculosis when Robert Leiper was 14 which affected him greatly turning him to medical science rather than clinical practice; educated at Warwick School and Mason University College, Birmingham , he proceeded to Glasgow where he held a Carnegie Research Scholarship; graduated MB, Ch.B (Glasgow), 1904, and was employed in studying the helminthic material (relating to the study of parasitic worms) brought back by the Scottish Antarctic Expedition. A year later Patrick Manson recruited him to direct the newly created Department of Helminthology in the new tropical school. In 1907 he proceeded to Cairo to study under Professor Looss, a famous helminthologist in the University of Cairo and took part in the Egyptian Government's helminthological survey in Uganda. There he shot elephants and described several new species of intestinal nematodes from this great pachyderm. In 1909 he served as helminthologist to the Grouse Diseases Enquiry Committee and identified the parasite, Trichostrongylus pergracilis, as the cause of the disease. Leiper became University Professor, 1920 and Courtauld Professor of Helminthology and Director of the Department of Parasitology, London School of Hygiene and tropical Medicine.

He remained connected to the School until his death in 1969; in the early years at the School he travelled extensively, making essential contributions to the knowledge of a number of helminths and their life-cycles, he founded the Journal of Helminthology in 1923 and began planning the Institute of Agricultural Parasitology at Winches Farm near St Albans. Active long after normal retirement age Leiper was acknowledged by colleagues as the man who put helminthology on the map in the twentieth century.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Robert Thomson Leiper, [1880-1960] contain material concerning an expedition by Leiper to British Guiana and the West Indies; a commission from the London School of Tropical Medicine to study filariasis and material relating to Leiper, his work at the School and his family including photographs, postcards from West Africa, autograph book, reports as an helminthologist, material on the Peking Union Medical College and family history research.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged into two series.

Conditions governing access:

This collection is open for consultation. Please contact the Archivist to arrange an appointment. All researchers must complete and sign a user registration form which signifies their agreement to abide by the archive rules. All researchers are required to provide proof of identity bearing your signature (for example, a passport or debit card) when registering. Please see website for further information at

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Victoria Killick, LSHTM Archivist and edited by Samantha Velumyl, AIM25 cataloguer. Sources: History of the School of Tropical Medicine in London (1899-1949) by Sir Philip Manson-Bahr, (London, H K Lewis & Co Ltd, 1956) and Prevention and Cure. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, A 20th Century Quest for Global Public Health Lise Wilkinson and Anne Hardy (Kegan Paul Limited, 2001).

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:
February 2008

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