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GILLETT, John David (1913-1995)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0809 Gillett
Held at: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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Full title: GILLETT, John David (1913-1995)
Date(s): [1941]-1993
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Gillett | John David | 1913-1995 | Professor of Tropical Medicine


Administrative/Biographical history:

Professor John David Gillett was born in 1913; began working with P A Buxton's Department of Entomology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 1930 having failed nine O-Level subjects at school, 1930; his first appointment was feeding and general upkeep of the Department's colonies of living insects.

Gillett went to East Africa with H S Leeson to educate himself in the study of mosquitoes, 1936, staying on for the next 26 years in Uganda's Medical Department. This was only interrupted with visits to the UK to obtain degrees and during World War Two, when he spent a year on an island in Lake Victoria, attempting to control sleeping sickness by reducing the number of tsetse in the infected area - this was a short term solution and it eventually became necessary to evacuate the island's entire population. In 1941, an outbreak of yellow fever occurred in western Uganda and he was seconded to the Rockefeller Foundation's Yellow Fever Institute to work in Bwamba on the old Congo border.

Gillett chose to retake his O-levels and then A-levels and was accepted at University College London to read Zoology, Physiology and Biochemistry. He graduated in 1949, with first class honours and returned to Uganda with his wife and two children to rejoin Haddow at what had become the East African Virus Research Institute. In 1955 he was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to study mosquito virus relations in the United States. After his return to Uganda he was appointed Assistant Director to Alec Haddow at the East African Virus Research Institute, where they collaborated in a study of periodic behaviour in mosquitoes. He awarded the DSc from London, 1960.

Gillett returned to Britain, 1962, and was elected to the Chair of Applied Biology at Brunel University where later he was appointed Head of Biological Sciences. After serving two years as Treasurer of the Royal Entomological Society of London, he was elected President, 1977-79, and retired, 1978, becoming a Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Gillett died in 1995.

Publications include: Mosquitoes (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1971); Yellow fever in western Uganda By Mahaffy, A. F., K. C. Smithburn, H. R. Jacopx and J. D. Gillettt. (Trans. R. Sox. Trop. Med. Hyg. 36, 1942) and The cyclical transmission of yellow fever virus through the grivet monkey, Cercopithecus aethiops centraZis Neumann, and the mosquito Aedes Megomyia africanus by Ross, R. W. and J. D. Gillett (Theobald. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasit. 44, 1950).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Professor John David Gillett, [1941]-1993, relate to his work concerning mosquitoes and tropical diseases and comprise published and unpublished works by Gillett and others, and original research carried out by Gillett.

Published work includes The swarming habits of some Danish mosquitoes by E T Nielson and H T Nielson, (Entomolgiske Meddeleber, 1963) and The essential role of temporal discontinuity in swarming insects by J D Gillett (Flying Kites, Biologist, 1993). Unpublished work includes a copy of Gillett's bound PhD 'Embryonic Diapause in the genus aedes Meigen (Diptera: Culicadae)', 1952.

The collection also notably contains a notebook used by Gillett to collate research and encloses correspondence with Kenneth C Smithburn and A F Mahaffey of Yellow Fever Research Institute, Uganda regarding samples, including mosquitoes, sent by Gillett, 1941.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in original order.

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:

No additional finding aids exist.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine holds related material within Volume LXIV (64) (Ross Institute/03/1033) and (Leeson/01).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: 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, London, 2001); Oxford OPAC catalogue and Biography of John David Gillett (Mosquito Systematics Vol. 16(4), 1984). Compiled by Samantha Velumyl, AIM25 cataloguer.

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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