Papers of: Cyriax, Edgar Ferdinand (1874-1955)

Scope and Content

The material focuses chiefly upon bibliography, comprising notes on writings about gymnastics and manipulative treatment, and Cyriax's collations of authors cited in various works on the subject. In addition to this there are some writings upon manipulative treatment itself and related issues (MSS.2001, 2006-2007), a syllabus of lectures to be delivered by Cyriax at the Central Institute for Swedish Gymnastics (MS.6054), writings on massage by authors other than Cyriax (MSS.6056-6059) and an acknowledgement by the Museum of Practical Geology for specimens presented by another member of the Cyriax family (MS.6060).

Administrative / Biographical History

Edgar Ferdinand Cyriax was born in 1874 and was originally Swedish. He was the son-in-law of [Jonas] Henrik Kellgren, who was an important figure in the late-nineteenth century spread of Swedish remedial gymnastics and massage to other parts of Europe. Like Kellgren, Cyriax based himself in London, where in addition to practising he studied the bibliography and history of manipulative treatment. He lectured in physiology at the Central Institute for Swedish Gymnastics, London. At his death in 1955 he left a large collection of books, pamphlets and papers on the subject.


Material within the block MSS.2001-2025 is held in chronological order of composition. The arrangement within the block 6054-6060 is thematic, moving from material on Cyriax's own practice, through Cyriax's notes on gymnastic writings and then copies of other individuals' writings, to a document (on geological specimens) that is not related to gymnastics at all.

Access Information

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from the Royal Society of Medicine in 1956 (acc.303950).

Other Finding Aids

Described in: S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973) and Richard Palmer, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine: Western Manuscripts 5120-6244 (London: The Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine, 1999).

Archivist's Note

description compiled by Christopher Hilton based upon those in the Library's published finding aids by S.A.J. Moorat and Richard Palmer. Biographical information drawn from "Medical gymnastics and the Cyriax Collection" by Sarah Bakewell (in Medical History, Vol. 41 (1997)).

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Custodial History

Following Cyriax's death in 1955 this material and the rest of his collection of material on medical gymnastics was presented by his family to the Royal Society of Medicine.

Related Material

MSS.5406-5409 and 7869-7872 comprise papers of Cyriax's father-in-law, [Jonas] Henrik Kellgren (also a practitioner of Swedish medical gymnastics and manipulative treatment); MS.3348 comprises a work on Swedish medical gymnastics by Amalia Lundgren; and MSS.5027-5028 works on the same subject by Anna Justina Augusta Wilson. All these were acquired by the Wellcome Library with Edgar Cyriax's papers.


"Medical gymnastics and the Cyriax Collection" by Sarah Bakewell (in Medical History , Vol. 41 (1997)) sets out the history of the Cyriax collection and gives background information on the history of gymnastics.

Geographical Names