Thane (Sir George) Papers

Scope and Content

Papers and correspondence, 1860-1944 and undated, of and relating to Sir George Dancer Thane, largely concerning his career, comprising papers on lectures, 1879-1918, including drafts and newspaper reports of his introductory address at the opening of the Medical School at University College London, 1879, and various lectures on anatomy, 1899-1918; notes, 1872-[1911], 1923-1929, on various subjects including dissection, racial characteristics, and other aspects of anatomy, and a list of books to the Anatomical Library of University College London; ten scrapbooks of anatomical drawings, 1867-1913, and undated loose anatomical drawings and medical photographs; other medical papers, 1878-[1926] and undated, including scrapbooks of medical press cuttings, 1878-1914, dates and subjects of dissection classes, 1885-1900, printed papers of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1887-1897, announcements of lectures, including some by Francis Galton, 1873-1912, papers on University reform in London, 1919, and miscellaneous others; correspondence, 1880-1930 and undated, from over 110 correspondents; personalia and ephemera, 1860-1930 and undated, including certificates, invitations and programmes, papers concerning honours including Thane's knighthood, papers relating to his death, and genealogical notes relating to the Thanes and others, and also papers concerning Lady Thane, 1884-1944; photographs, 1883-1920 and undated, including eleven photographs of Thane, 1883-1920, an undated photograph of Lady Thane, an album of photographs of their honeymoon, 1884, and a photograph of the dissecting room of University College London [1918]; box of bones and fossils (stored separately under Miscellaneous Artefacts).

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Great Berkhamsted, 1850; entered University College London, 1867; Demonstrator at University College London; Professor of Anatomy, University College London, 1877-1919; married Jenny Klingberg of Stockholm, god-daughter of the famous soprano Jenny Lind, 1884; three children, but his only son died young; examiner in anatomy at many universities, and to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons; a founder member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and President, 1896-1897; knighted for his services to medical education in London and as inspector under the Vivi-Section Act (1876), 1919; Emeritus Professor of Anatomy, University College London; Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England; LLD, Edinburgh; ScD, Dublin; Fellow of the Zoological Society; a member of various scientific societies overseas; died, 1930. Publications: with others, edited and contributed to 'Quain's Anatomy' (9th and 10th editions) and 'Ellis' 'Demonstrations of Anatomy' (10th and 11th editions).


The papers are arranged in the following sections: lectures (Ref: A); notes (Ref: B); anatomical drawings and medical photographs (Ref: C); other medical papers (Ref: D); correspondence (Ref: E), arranged alphabetically by correspondent; personalia and ephemera (Ref: F); photographs (Ref: G). The bones and fossils are stored with the papers.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Dr Ann Saunders, executrix of Thane's daughter Vendla, in 1977.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed list for MS ADD 282/A-C; G-F is available online. A more detailed list of series D and E is available. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Related Material

University College London Special Collections also holds a volume of Thane's notes as a student on William Sharpey's lectures at University College London, 1867 (Ref: MS ADD 284); manuscript of his introductory address to the Faculty of Medicine, University College London, 1879 (Ref: UCL HISTORY MEM IC); medals awarded to Thane by the Medical Faculty of University College London, 1867/8, 1869/70 (Ref: STRONG ROOM); typescript biography of Thane, 1930 (Ref: MS ADD 76); ten letters to Karl Pearson, 1895-1928 (Ref: PEARSON); letter to Thane from Sir Francis Wall Oliver, 1929 (Ref: MS MISC 4O); three letters to Thane from Horatio Gordon Robley, [1896] and undated (Ref: MS MISC 3R); two manuscript letters to Thane from Sidney Spokes, 1928, inserted in 'Gideon Algernon Mantell', ed Spokes, which has an autograph dedication to Thane, 1928 (Ref: MED SCI M H 9b27); a manuscript letter to Thane from Bernard Barham Woodward, 1918 (Ref: JOHNSTON LAVIS COLLECTION); letters of Thane relating to University College London business [1871]-1888 (Ref: COLLEGE CORRESPONDENCE); papers of Thane's daughter Vendla (Ref: MS ADD 298); a few personal items which belonged to Thane. University College London Library holds a collection of biographies of scientists collected by Thane.

The Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine holds correspondence with E A Sharpey-Schafer (12 items), 1882-1928 (Ref: PP/ESS).