University of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers of Dr Richard Hill Norris

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection relates to Professor Norris's interest in psychic research, including reports on seances and apparent spirit-writing. Other papers relate to his research on blood including early microscope work; general works on medicine including his notes for lectures on physiology, and work on photography; correspondence and accounts; loose notes on various scientific topics; general papers and family papers..

Administrative / Biographical History

Administrative/Biographical History

Richard Hill Norris MD (1831-1916) was Professor of Physiology, Queen's College, Birmingham, 1862-1891. He undertook important work on blood, including early microscope work. As a student, he invented the first successful dry photographic plate. He was also interested in psychic research and documented seances and spirit-writing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His wife was Emma Susan [ne ?]. He had one son, Richard Hill Norris, b. 1 June, 1886.

Reference: Finding aid to The Norris Papers.

For further reading about the University of Birmingham see: Eric Ives, Diane Drummond, Leonard Schwarz The First Civic University: Birmingham 1880-1980 An Introductory History ( The University of University of Birmingham Press. 2000 ).


The papers are arranged in the following categories: Spiritualism, blood, general medicine, photography, other scientific works and miscellaneous papers.

Access Information

Access Conditions

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was deposited by Norris's grandson in 1972.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for more details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students.

Personal Names