Richard James Arthur Berry (1867-1962)

Scope and Content

This collection includes lectures on the brain given by Berry in the Edinburgh Extra-Academical School of Medicine and Surgery, 1904. There is also: a list of subscribers to a testimonial presented on his departure from Edinburgh to take up duties as Professor of Anatomy at Melbourne University, 1905; and, script of Chance and circumstance which is Berry's autobiography.

Administrative / Biographical History

Anatomist, neurologist, and anthropologist Richard James Arthur Berry was born in Upholland, Lancashire, on 30 May 1867. He was educated privately in Southport, and prior to attending Edinburgh University from 1886 he was apprenticed to a firm of shipbrokers in Liverpool. At University he followed the medical course and graduated in 1891 with M.B. and Ch.M. He also studied in Dublin, London, and Berlin. Berry then became House Surgeon to Thomas Annandale, Professor of Clinical Surgery (1838-1907) at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. In 1894, his thesis on the vermiform appendix for the degree of M.D. won him the Gunning Victoria Prize in Surgery, and in 1895 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1896, Berry was lecturing on anatomy at Edinburgh University, and in 1897 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 1905, he became Professor of Anatomy at the University of Melbourne, Australia. There, Berry was to revolutionise the teaching of anatomy and his Practical anatomy (1914) remained the text for students in Melbourne until the late-1930s. Once he had re-organised his department, he turned his attention to the study of Australian and Tasmanian Aboriginals and the metrical and non-metrical features of their skulls, and also to the study of mental deficiency in children. In 1929, however, Berry resigned his post and took up the position of Director of Medical Services at the Stoke Park Colony at Stapleton, Bristol, in England, and Chair of the Burden Mental Research Trust. Until 1940, and his retirement, he carried out extensive research into mental deficiency. His other publications include: A clinical atlas of sectional and topographical anatomy (1911), A cerebral atlas of normal and defective brains (1938), and Your brain and its story (1939). Professor Richard James Arthur Berry died in Clifton, Bristol, on 30 September 1962.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Nairn, Bede. and Serle, Geoffrey (eds.) Australian dictionary of biography. Vol. 7. 1891-1939. A-Chi. pp.276-277. Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Melbourne University Press, 1979. (2) Who's who 1962. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1962.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Related Material

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: typescript of Change and circumstance at Edinburgh Central Library, Ref. NRA(S)3563 NRA 38890 Edinburgh CL