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CHALMERS, James Alexander (1912-1998): papers relating to the obstetric vacuum extractor (ventouse)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1538 S65
Held at: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Full title: CHALMERS, James Alexander (1912-1998): papers relating to the obstetric vacuum extractor (ventouse)
Date(s): 1951-1979
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1.5 boxes
Name of creator(s): Chalmers | James Alexander | 1912-1998 | obstetrician and gynaecologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

James Alexander Chalmers (known as Hamish) was born in Inverness in 1912 and qualified in medicine in Edinburgh in 1934. Following service in the Air Force Medical Branch during the Second World War and posts at Bath, Birmingham, Inverness and Edinburgh, he was senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Ronkswood Hospital, Worcester from 1951-1977. He obtained his MRCOG in 1940 and became an FRCOG in 1954. Chalmers is best known for introducing the vacuum extractor (ventouse) to British obstetric practice, as an alternative to forceps. He was introduced to the method by Professor Snoeck during a visit to Belgium in 1957 and went on to undertake vacuum deliveries at Worcester and to become an advocate for the apparatus. He also researched widely on the history, development and current use of the procedure and accumulated a collection of publications from around the world on the topic. He visited key practitioners abroad, including V Finderle in Yugoslavia and T Malmstrom in Sweden. In 1971 he published a key work on the technique: The Ventouse-The Obstetric Vacuum Extractor (London: Lloyd-Luke, 1971). Chalmers died in 1998.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of James Alexander Chalmers, 1951-1979, including draft articles, unpublished papers and reprints by Chalmers both on the history of the vacuum extractor and on his use of it in obstetric practice at Worcester Royal Infirmary; Chalmers' personal copy of The Ventouse - The Obstetric Vacuum Extractor (London: Lloyd-Luke, 1971) and press cuttings of reviews; reprints, photographs, illustrations and other material gathered by Chalmers during the course of his research into the history and development of the vacuum extractor.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in sections as follows: Reprints of Chalmers' published papers; J A Chalmers, The Ventouse-The Obstetric Vacuum Extractor (London:Lloyd-Luke, 1971); Drafts and upublished papers by Chalmers; Collected reprints and other published material; Photographs and illustrations.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available in the RCOG archives.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Most of the papers were donated to the College Library by Chalmers in 1995.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred to the College Archive by the Head of Information Services in 2006.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Drewery.
Sources: Medical Directory; Obituary notice, Worcester Evening News, 14 Oct 1998.

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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