Personal Papers of William Blair-Bell ('the Shoop collection')

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Personal correspondence of William Blair-Bell from 1920 to 1931 (mostly photocopied), as donated by Stanley Shoop, including references to a courtyard memorial to Blair-Bell's mother and brother, testimonials, his private practice, his personal affairs, and repairs to his car following a motoring accident.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Blair-Bell (1871-1936) was co-founder (with William Fletcher Shaw) of the College and its first President. The second son of William and Helen Bell, he was born in Wallasey in 1871 and educated at Rossall School, King's College London and King's College Hospital. In 1905 he left general practice in Wallasey and was appointed to the post of Assistant Consultant Gynaecologist to the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. In 1918 he became senior surgeon and in 1921 was appointed to the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Liverpool University, a position he held until 1931. In 1929 he married his cousin, Florence.Blair-Bell was President of the Obstetric Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the North of England Gynaecological Society and the Liverpool Medical Institution. In 1911 he founded the Gynaecological Visiting Society (GVS). He was co-founder of the College in 1929 and presented the College with its first headquarters at 58 Queen Anne Street. He established the money for the William Blair-Bell memorial lectures and for other research projects. He was President of the College from its inception until 1935, the year before his death.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers by appointment, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. mailto: archives@rcog.org.uk

Other Finding Aids

Full file descriptions are available from the College Archivist

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Penny Hutchins in October 2012

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is vested in the estate of Professor William Blair-Bell.

Reproductions are available at the discretion of the College Archivist.

Custodial History

Photocopies of documents relating to William Blair-Bell's private practice and his personal dress (currently at reference S14/1) were deposited at the RCOG Archive by Stanley Shoop in 1989. Mr Shoop was a collector of medical ephemera, and had sought the advice of the College (more specifically of its Honorary Curator, Professor Hibbard) on identifying some obstetrical instruments he had acquired. Mr Shoop later offered to sell his entire collection of papers relating to Blair-Bell to the College, and further investigation revealed that this material was bought at auction c.1986, around the same time that the RCOG had purchased at auction its own collection of Blair-Bell papers (currently at reference S1). The collection filled two 4" boxes and consisted mainly of bills and receipts purchased at auction. It does not appear to have included any personal correspondence, research, or clinical notes, and the College declined to purchase it, with reservations based on the suspicion that these papers and those at S1 were part of the theft from the original collection held by the Datnow family (now at reference S10). Mr Shoop made further deposits of papers, mostly correspondence, in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1997.

Related Material

The following papers are also held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

S1 and S10 - the personal papers of William Blair-Bell

S18 - Personal papers of William Blair-Bell: passage to New York, 1925

RCOG/A4/1 - Presidential papers of William Blair-Bell