Papers of Col. Sir Ronald Ross

Scope and Content

Papers of Sir Ronald Ross, 1880-1928, including correspondence, manuscripts, reprints and newspaper cuttings collected by Ross. Includes information on the major campaigns for the control of malaria, closely documenting his own work through his notebooks, diagrams and thousands of letters from medical scientists, principally with Sir Patrick Manson in regard to Ross's research into malaria in India, and including correspondence with Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, (Heinrich Hermann) Robert Koch, (Charles Louis) Alphonse Laveran; correspondence relevant to the early discoveries in trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis; records of malaria researches during the World War One, and during his work at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, 1902-1918; papers and correspondence relating to Ross' efforts to improve the pay of research workers and the improvement of sanitation in the colonies, including letters from political figures such as James Ramsay MacDonald, (William) Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor, John Edward Bernard Seely and Sir (Joseph) Austen Chamberlain; correspondence relating to publications by Ross; papers relating to Ross' work at the War Office, and his visit to South East Asia and India in 1926-1927, including photographs, medals, diplomas and copies of his literary works; papers relating to Ross' literary interests, including correspondence from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Herbert George (H G) Wells and (Joseph) Rudyard Kipling; photographs and biographical information on Ross, including family correspondence containing letters from his two younger brothers discussing their work and careers, and a few letters from other relatives, primarily connected with researches into his family background for his autobiography.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born Almora, India, 13 May 1857; entered Springhill School, 1869; entered St Bartholomew's Hospital medical school, London, 1874; MRCS, 1879; engaged as a ship's surgeon; passed LSA and entered Indian Medical Service, 1881; held temporary appointments either attached to Madras regiments or doing duty at station hospitals in Madras and Burma, 1881-1886; developed interests in literature, poetry and mathematics; commenced special study of malaria, 1892; introduced to (Sir) Patrick Manson, 1894, and developed interests in aetiology of malaria; undertook experimental verification of mosquito theory of malaria, 1895; discovered means of transmission of malaria parasites in man by anopheles mosquitoes, 1897-1898; leader of expedition which found malaria-bearing mosquitoes in West Africa, 1899, and laid down methods for large-scale malaria reduction; retired from Indian Medical Service with rank of Major, 1899; lecturer in tropical medicine, 1899-1902, and subsequently Professor of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, 1902-1912; appointed Physician for Tropical Diseases, King's College Hospital, 1912; Professor of Tropical Sanitation, University of Liverpool, 1912-1917; First World War appointed Consultant in Malaria, War Office, 1917; appointed Consultant in Malaria, Ministry of Pensions, 1925; Director in Chief, Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Putney, 1926-1932 (the Ross Institute combined with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Dec 1933); conducted numerous expeditions to malarial countries and published extensively on epidemiology of malaria elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1901; awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1902; knighted 1911; Vice-President and Royal Medallist of the Royal Society; President Society of Tropical Medicine; Editor of Science Progress, 1913-1932; died, Ross Institute, 16 Sep 1932. Selected publications: novel The Child of Ocean (1889); Philosophies, Psychologies, and other Poems; novel, The Revels of Orsera; The Prevention of Malaria (1910); Memoirs (1923); Poems (1928); Studies on Malaria (1928); Fables and Satires (1930); In Exile (1931); Lyra Modulatu (1931); five mathematical works (1929-1931); The Child of Ocean (1932).


Sorted and arranged into present order by Ross in 1928. The sale of the archives was governed by the stipulation that they should remain in this arrangement.

Access Information

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Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available online at

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Erika Gwynett and Robert Baxter as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Sources: Who's Who, Dictionary of National Biography and National Register of Archives. Revised by Victoria Cranna, Archivist & Records Manager.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Custodial History

Offered for sale by Ross, and purchased by Lady Houston D.B.E. for £2,000 in 1928. She gave them to the Ross Institute. In 1934, the Institute was incorporated into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and in 1942 the Ross Archives were formally presented by the then director, Sir Malcolm Watson, to the care of the Library. In 1974, Professor L J Bruce-Chwatt donated further papers relating to Ross' work at the War Office, and his visit to South East Asia and India in 1926-1927.

Related Material

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine holds papers of Sir Patrick Manson. Wellcome Library holds papers (Ref: GC/59), correspondence with Sir Leonard Rogers, 1900-1929 (Ref: PP/ROG), and correspondence relating to corresp to foundation of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 1906-1907 (Ref: WTI/RST/C19-20); Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow holds correspondence and papers, including correspondence with John Masefield, 1919-1931 (Ref: RCPSG9); Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, University of Oxford, holds correspondence, 1914-1915 (Ref: MSS Harcourt); Reading University Library holds letters to RL Megroz, 1925-1931 (Ref: MS 1979/60 105).