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MAXWELL, John Preston (1871-1961): papers relating to osteomalacia

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1538 S64
Held at: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Full title: MAXWELL, John Preston (1871-1961): papers relating to osteomalacia
Date(s): 1830-1947
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 45 vols
Name of creator(s): Maxwell | John Preston | 1871-1961 | medical missionary


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Preston Maxwell was born on 5 Dec 1871 in Birmingham, where his father, Dr James Laidlaw Maxwell, practised medicine. He attended University College School, Hampstead and University College London, before taking his clinical training at St Bartholomew's Hospital, from which he emerged with a gold medal in obstetrics and went on to work as a resident at St Bartholomew's. Then, following his devout Presbyterian faith, Maxwell became a Medical missionary for the English Presbyterian Church and, in about 1898, went to Yungchun Hospital at Fujian in China, where he spent the majority of his professional life. He specialised in obstetrics and was a leading authority on foetal osteomalacia. He became a Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Peking Union Medical College (a teaching hospital funded by the Rockefeller Foundation), President of the Chinese Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and worked as secretary to the medical committee of the Lord Mayor's Fund for the Relief of Distress in China. He was awarded the Army and Navy Medal by the Chinese Republic and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1929.

Maxwell returned to England at some point after 1935 (possibly as a result of the invasion of Beijing by the Japanese in 1937) and lived at Brinkley in Cambridgeshire. He was elected consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the nearby Newmarket General Hospital. He married and had one daughter; his wife, Lilly (who, as a proficient artist, illustrated some of her husband's research papers), predeceased him. John Preston Maxwell died suddenly near his home on 25 Jul 1961, at the age of 89.


Scope and content/abstract:

Photograph albums of John Preston Maxwell of cases of osteomalacia and rickets encountered in China and related articles, 1898-1947, and a collection of bound articles from medical journals, predominantly in German, 1826-1934.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and German

System of arrangement:

Arranged in sections as outlined in the Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available in the RCOG archives.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Donated to the College Library by Professor Maxwell in November 1954.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Passed to the College Archives between 1998 and 2006.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Chinese painting on silk ("Third Day Bathing Ceremony") held in RCOG museum store.

Papers of Dr. James Laidlaw Maxwell and his son Dr. [James] Preston Maxwell, at the University of Birmingham Special Collections (Ref: DA26).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Drewery.

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:
Jul 2008

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