Papers of the RCOG Presidents

Scope and Content

Papers of successive presidents of the RCOG, including files maintained by the College administration and relating to the Presidents' transactions with the College. The material is wide-ranging, and covers not only the administrative running of the College, but other activities undertaken by the President, such as examinations, overseas matters, fellowship and membership, liaison with other medical bodies and the Department of Health and specific medical concerns such as pregnancy, abortion, childbirth, anaesthesia, contraception, gynaecological conditions and maternity hospitals.

Administrative / Biographical History

The President is one of the honorary officers of the College and is elected by Council for a maximum of three years from amongst the College Fellows. The president is ex officio chairman of all College committees and is empowered under the bye-laws to undertake emergency action where it is impossible to summon a meeting of Council or the appropriate committee to deal with such an emergency.


The internal arrangement of each president's papers varies. For the early presidents most of the material constitutes correspondence, arranged in roughly alphabetical order by surname of the correspondent. For later presidents, the correspondence is supplemented by an increasing volume of additional material in the form of reports, minutes, agendas and other papers. In these cases, some of the correspondence has been arranged alphabetically according to the correspondent's surname, whilst the rest is filed by subject together with related material. Much of the material is of a routine nature (invitations to functions, arrangements for meetings and annual dinners). In the case of items with no clear thematic coherence, it has not been possible to list all the material and only some of the topics dealt with have been described. It should be noted that some of the files cover more than one presidency.

A review of papers transferred from the President's Office between 1997 and 2008 was undertaken in 2011: the records accessioned as a result of this review have been arranged according to the President responsible for creating the file or for closing the file, maintaining the integrity of the original files while removing routine and duplicate material.

Access Information

Permission from RCOG Senior Management is required for external access to College records less than twenty years old.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and photocopying is available at the discretion of the College Archivist.

Appraisal Information

Many of the early presidents' papers consist only of miscellaneous items left after the bulk of records were destroyed or placed in other series according to subject matter. Later presidents' correspondence file series were transferred in batches to the Archives over a period of years, appraised by the College Archivist and disposed of following discussions with the presidents' personal assistants. The majority of the files have been extensively weeded to remove duplicates and ephemera.

Custodial History

During the early period of the College's history there was no established filing system, and papers of presidents may appear in other series (such as RCOG/A1), or mixed with personal papers (see RCOG Special Collections). Papers relating to various individuals' activities as officers of the College in a different capacity, such as Honorary Secretary, may also be found mixed with their papers as President.

The majority of the records listed below were transferred to the College Archives at regular intervals by the President's Personal Assistant. Copies of RCOG News are now transferred from the Deputy College Secretary's Office.

A review of papers transferred from the President's Office between 1997 and 2008 was undertaken in 2011, and accessions from this review have been added to this sub-sub-fonds.


Further transfers of material are expected, either by direct transfer to the Archive or following review of material in semi-current storage.

Related Material

Related material held at the RCOG include the following:

RCOG/D4 - College correspondence with the Ministry of Health, originally records of the President

RCOG/PH1/P - Photographs of the RCOG Presidents

S11 - Personal papers, which may include some presidential papers, of Sir Stanley Clayton (President 1972-1975)

S28 - Personal papers, which may include some presidential papers, of Sir Norman Jeffcoate (President 1969-1972)