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THOMSON, John Gordon (1878-1937)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0809 Thomson
Held at: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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Full title: THOMSON, John Gordon (1878-1937)
Date(s): 1914-1941
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Thomson | John Gordon | 1878-1937 | Professor of Protozoology
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Gordon Thomson was born in Linlithgowshire; graduated with an MA from Edinburgh University in 1903, and 5 years later qualified in medicine. After house appointments, he went to Liverpool as research student in tropical medicine in 1910, becoming pathologist to the Royal Southern Hospital and research fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. With a Beir Memorial research fellowship he went to the London School of Tropical Medicine in 1914; went to Egypt with Professor Robert Leiper on the bilharzia mission as Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, 1915. Later in the war he and his brother, Dr David Thomson, who had both enjoyed the patronage of Ronald Ross when they first went to Liverpool, worked at the War Office malaria research laboratories. After the war he was appointed Chair of Protozoology at the London School where he was a gifted teacher, maintaining a collection of cultures of trypanosomes and other pathological organisms and blood films for teaching purposes.

In 1926 he was exchange lecturer in protozoology at the School of Hygiene, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. In 1936 he gave a series of lectures at Singapore for the League of Nations Special Course on Malaria. He travelled widely in South America and other tropical countries. In 1921-1922 he undertook two expeditions to Rhodesia to study blackwater fever. In 1926 he was in the West Indies, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.

His publications include a book with Andrew Robertson, Protozoology for Medical Men. His contributions to the knowledge of blackwater fever were regarded as standard, while his methods of enumerating malaria parasites in the blood and cultivating these organisms were of great importance. Thomson died in 1937.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Gordon Thomson, 1914-1941, comprise a personal file relating to his appointment, his position and work at the School of Tropical Medicine, and his death (1914-1941) and correspondence with various individuals relating to tropical diseases including blackwater fever (1921-1929).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged into two series: personal file (Thomson/01) and correspondence (Thomson/02).

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: 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) and History of the School of Tropical Medicine in London (1899-1949) by Sir Philip Manson-Bahr, (H K Lewis & Co Ltd, London, 1956).

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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