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GARNHAM, Percy Cyril Claude (1901-1994)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0809 Garnham
Held at: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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Full title: GARNHAM, Percy Cyril Claude (1901-1994)
Date(s): 1966-1995
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 boxes
Name of creator(s): Garnham | Professor | Percy Cyril Claude | 1901-1994 | Parasitologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Percy Cyril Claude Garnham was born in London, 15 January 1901; graduated from St Bartholomew's Hospital, 1923; Diploma in Public Health, 1924; moved to Kenya to take up a position with the Colonial Medical Service, 1925. Here he spent a number of years investigating and controlling outbreaks of epidemics such as yellow fever and sleeping sickness. His interests whilst in Kenya ranged from the viral aetiologies of Rift Valley Fever and Nairobi Sheep Disease, studied in cooperation with the service's Veterinary Department, and through bird malaria to monkey and human malaria.

When the Division of Insect Borne Diseases was set up in Nairobi, Garnham became its Malaria Research Officer and then Director. He submitted a thesis on malaria in Kisumu for the degree of MD which he gained in 1928, with the award of Gold Medal from the University of London. In 1947, Garnham returned to London where he became a Reader at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Much of his interest was in malaria parasites, but he also made major contributions on leishmaniasis, piroplasmosis, toxoplasmosis, haemogregarines and many other parasites. In January 1948 Garnham and Professor Henry Shortt discovered the pre-erythroctic stages of true malaria parasites. He was appointed chair of Protozoology in 1952, and became Head of the Department of Parasitology.

Garnham retired as Emeritus of the University of London in 1968 and was invited to be Research Fellow for Imperial College at Silwood Park in Ascot. He collected over 1000 type and voucher specimens of nearly 200 species of malaria parasites from 170 vertebrates or vectors. The collection was catalogued with Dr Tony Duggan and deposited in National History Museum. At the age of 71 Garnham launched an expedition to Borneo to rediscover and redescribe 'P. pitheci,' a malaria parasite of the orang-utan. He came across a new host 'P. silvaticum' in 1972. Between 1926 and 1989 Garnham published solely or jointly more than 400 papers, including 'Malaria Parasites and other Haemosporidia' in 1966. He retired in 1979 and wrote a book on the life of Edgar Allen Poe which was nearing completion on his death on Christmas Day 1994. During his lifetime Garner received Fellowship of the Royal Society, Corresponding Membership of five Foreign Scientific Academies, Honorary Membership of 16 Societies, 14 Medals and Prizes, Doctorates Honories Causa of 2 French Faculties of Medicine, an appointment as Pontifical Academician of the Vatican and the CMG award. Twenty-one taxa parasites and vectors were named after him.

Publications include: Malaria parasites and other haemosporidia (Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, 1966); Progress in parasitology Athlone Press, London, 1971) and Catalogue of the Garnham collection of malaria parasites and other haemosporidia by P C C Garnham and A J Duggan (Cambridge University Press [for] the Wellcome Trust, Cambridge, c1986).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Percy Cyril Claude Garnham, 1966-1995, relate to the last field research project, by Garnham, to Sabah, Malaysia, in 1972 and his death in 1994. Correspondence and notes regarding the expedition to Sabah include an introduction to the expedition and photographs and scanned images of Garnham at work, undated, (Garnham 01/01); typewritten notes with handwritten corrections concerning the film 'Expedition to Borneo', [1972], (Garnham 01/02); correspondence concerning blood films and a bibliography for protozoa, insects and acoredae, 1972-1973, (Garnham 01/03); correspondence, maps, diagrams, reports and notes related to the study of orang-utans including a draft copy of 'Malaria parasity of the orang-utan (pongo pygmaeus)' by Garnham and others, 1969-1975(Garnham 01/04); notes belonging to Peters including a workbook comprising diagrams of blood cells and notes and charts regarding parasites, 1972, (Garnham 01/05); Garnham's correspondence largely with Peters regarding the continuing work concerning malaria and chimpanzees, 1966-1991,(Garnham 01/06); photographs and diagrams including a photograph of G S de Silva outside the animal clinic in Sabah and a diagram indicating zoogeographic sub regions of the oriental region, c1970, (Garnham 01/07); correspondence largely to Wallace Peters including notes on the orang-utans in Sepilok, 1966-1974 (Garnham 01/08); correspondence notably regarding pongo paper, 1966-1975, (Garnham 01/09); photographs of chimp blood slides, c1970, (Garnham 01/10); correspondence mainly addressed to Peters, including notes and graphs of orang-utan study; correspondence regarding the setting up and funding of the project; and draft paper by Garnham, N Rajapaksa, W Peters, and R Killick-Kendrick 'Malaria parasites of the orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus)', 1969-1973, (Garnham 01/11); photographs of Sepilok, application for Government grant for scientific investigations, correspondence regarding blood films, slides and orang-utans and new buildings in Sepilok, notes and contents of reels of film from Sabah and Borneo, 1969-1977 (Garnham 01/12) and a documentary film entitled 'Expedition to Borneo, 1972', comprising footage of orang-utans in their natural surroundings, transferred to DVD (Garnham 01/13).

Papers also concern the death of Garnham and notably comprise correspondence from Claude Garnham, including a letter of thanks to Peters for writing Garnham's obituary; copies of many obituaries within various journals and newspapers including two in French; programme of service and thanksgiving for the life and work of Garnham and correspondence regarding the founding of an award in Garnham's memory, 1994-1995,(Garnham 02).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and French

System of arrangement:

Arranged as set out in scope and content.

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:

Papers from Professor W Peters, January 2004 and DVD from Peters, 2005.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine archives also hold additional photographs of Garnham within the Admin collection and the Ross Institute collection which contains copies of some of Garnham's papers.

The Wellcome Library also holds Garnham's correspondence and notebooks, 1918-84 (PP/PCG).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: R. Killick-Kendrick, 'P. C. C. Garnham' in BSP Newsletter (June 1995) p.4-5; W. Peters, 'Obituary: Professor P. C. C. Garnham, Cmg, MD, DSc, FRCP, Hon. FRCP(E), FRS' in Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, 89(2) (1995) p.217-219 and Oxford opac online catalogue.
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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