Sylvia Kema Guthrie, née Hickson, (1897-1989) was born on 18 December 1897, and was the daughter of Professor and Mrs Hickson of Manchester. Her father was Sydney John Hickson (1859-1940), a Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester, and her mother was a graduate of Girton College, Cambridge having completed the Natural Science Tripos. Guthrie studied medicine at Manchester qualifying in 1920 and subsequently gaining her MD in 1926. Immediately after qualification she took up a number of junior hospital appointments in London at Shadwell, Queen's Hospital for Children, and the Royal Northern Hospital. In 1922 she returned to Manchester and became medical registrar at the Manchester Babies' Hospital and from 1923 to 1926 held the position of cardiological registrar in the newly formed Cardiology Department of the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI).
Guthrie became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1920 and a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1926. She also married in 1926 and moved away from Manchester for several years during which time she held the role of medical registrar at the Infants' Hospital, Vincent Square, London. In 1930 she returned to Manchester to become resident medical officer at the Manchester Babies' Hospital. Guthrie also held positions at Ancoats Hospital and the MRI and in 1933 became honorary physician to the Duchess of York Hospital for Babies (formerly the Manchester Babies' Hospital). In 1934 she became a lecturer in Child Health and clinical demonstrator on diseases of children at the University of Manchester and a member of the Faculty of Medicine. Guthrie also became honorary physician for children at the Manchester Northern Hospital and consultant physician at the Booth Hall Hospital for Children as well as holding positions at Withington and Wythenshawe Hospitals in Manchester.
Guthrie was a well-respected paediatrician and involved in a number of professional societies. She was an honorary member of the British Paediatric Association, a fellow of the Manchester Medical Society, a member of the Manchester Section of the British Federation of University Women, and a member of the Medical Women's Federation, serving as their president from 1960-1961. She was also a trustee of the Catherine Chisholm Lecture Fund. Guthrie retired in 1962 and remained active within professional societies up to her death on 12 October 1989.