Lister, Joseph (1827-1912)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises letters to Hector Cameron, Watson Cheyne, copy correspondence with T. Morson and Sons Ltd. with associated papers, papers relating to the Lister Centenary Celebrations, and general papers and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph Lister was born at Upton, Essex on 5 April 1827. He was raised as a Quaker and went to a Quaker school in Tottenham. He attended University College London where he took the degrees of BA in 1847 and MB in 1852. He came to Edinburgh for a few months' study with James Syme, the Professor of Clinical Surgery, in 1853 and stayed for seven years, marrying Syme's daughter Agnes in 1856. He became Syme's dresser and subsequently his house-surgeon for one year. In 1856 he was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and took an active part in teaching the extra-mural school. In 1860, he was appointed to the Regius Chair of Surgery in Glasgow University, and a year later became surgeon to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. It was during these years at Glasgow that he made the observations and discoveries which revolutionized the treatment of disease and injuries. His interest in the recently discovered pasteurisation process led to experiments with the use of carbolic acid to keep wounds clean and to the advent of antiseptic surgery. In 1869 Lister became Professor of Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh. In 1877 he left to take up the Chair of Clinical Surgery created for him at King's College Hospital, London. He was granted a baronetcy in 1883; and was made Surgeon Extraordinary to Queen Victoria and was created Baron Lister, of Lyme Regis in 1897. Lister was the only surgeon to hold the office of President of the Royal Society and was a founder member of the Order of Merit.

He died in London on 10 February 1912. 1st Baron Lister, of Lyme Regis; founder of antiseptic surgery.

Arrangement

Items are arranged chronologically by series level

Conditions Governing Access

Due to the rare, fragile and occasionally confidential nature of the material held, access to the archives is normally by appointment, to allow preparation and avoid disappointment. Data protection is closely observed. Please make arrangements in advance by contacting Due to the rare, fragile and occasionally confidential nature of the material held, access to the archives is normally by appointment, to allow preparation and avoid disappointment. Data protection is closely observed. Please make arrangements in advance with the library staff at library@rcsed.ac.uk.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Letters and correspondence