Papers of Bradford Hill, Sir Austin (1897-1991)

Scope and Content

Papers of Sir Austin Bradford Hill, 1987-1990, comprise memoirs of his time working at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and correspondence mainly from Bradford Hill to Brian Furner, Librarian at LSHTM. Also includes administration file concerning his personnel record.

Memoirs comprise personal recollections of Bradford Hill and discuss individual staff members and the evolving structure of LSHTM.

Correspondence notably includes letters from Bradford Hill to Brian Furner and includes recollections requested by Furner and Bradford Hill's own requests for information held by the library, for his own work, including the obituary of John Fraser Roberts for the JRSS, 1987.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Austin Bradford Hill was born on 8 July 1897 in Hampstead, London, son of Sir Leonard Erskine Hill (1866-1952), professor of physiology at the London Hospital medical college, and his wife, Janet, n&e Alexander (1868-1956). Bradford Hill was educated at Chigwell School, 1908-1916. He was destined for the study of medicine when, as a pilot in World War One, he was invalided out of the forces with near fatal tuberculosis while serving at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles campaign.

Recovering at home, he took an external London degree in economics and, encouraged by the family friend Major Greenwood, began statistical studies for the Medical Research Council in 1923. Moving with Greenwood to the new London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1927, he became Reader in Epidemiology and Vital Statistics, 1933-1945. The first edition of his textbook Principles of Medical Statistics was published in 1937 and has influenced generations of medical statisticians and epidemiologists, and left its mark on the development of medical science in the second half of the twentieth century, as have his seminal studies on carcinogenic effects of smoking (with Richard Doll) and on the use of randomisation in clinical trials of new drugs. Bradford Hill was Honorary Director of the MRC's Statistical Research Unit, 1945-61; 'acting' Dean, then Dean of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 1955-1957.

CBE, 1951; knighted, 1961; elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, 1954, and received honorary degrees from Oxford and Edinburgh and many honorary fellowships and medals, including an honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London and the gold medal of the Royal Statistical Society, 1953. Bradford Hill died, 18 April 1991.

Publications include: Principles of medical statistics (The Lancet; Oxford University Press, London and New York, 1971); Statistical methods in clinical and preventive medicine (Livingstone, Edinburgh, 1962) and Experimental epidemiology by M. Greenwood, A. Bradford Hill, W. W. C. Topley and J. Wilson, Medical Research Council (Great Britain) Special report series, no. 209 (H. M. Stationery Office, London, 1936).


Arranged in original order.

Access Information

This collection contains sensitive information regarding individuals and therefore is closed.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Library by Sir Austin Bradford Hill, 1987-1988 and personnel file already kept at the School.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available online.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Victoria Killick, LSHTM Archivist and edited by Samantha Velumyl, AIM25 cataloguer. Sources: Prevention and Cure The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, A 20th Century Quest for Global Public Health Lise Wilkinson and Anne Hardy (Kegan Paul Limited, 2001); Oxford OPAC catalogue and online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is closed and is therefore unavailable for reproduction.

Related Material

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine holds correspondence between Bradford Hill and other individuals.


This collection has been transcribed.