Papers of Sir Henry Harold Scott

Scope and Content

Correspondence, publications, press cuttings and reports relating to vomiting sickness and ackee poisoning

Administrative / Biographical History

Scott was born in 1874, he was educated at the Mercers' and City of London School and at University College, London. He received his clinical training at St Bartholomew's and St Thomas' hospitals, qualifying MRCS, LRCP in 1897, after which he held the appointments of house-physician at St Thomas' and resident medical officer at Teignmouth, Dawlish and Newton Abbot Infirmary. After taking the London MB in 1900, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps with the South African Field Force during the early days of the Boer War, there he isolated the diphtheria bacillus from veld sores and has the claim of being the first to discover this infection of the skin. He stayed in South Africa until 1902, gaining the Queen's Medal with five clasps.

He entered the Colonial Service and in 1910 accepted the appointment of Government bacteriologist and pathologist in Jamaica, where he developed an interest in tropical medical problems. While in Jamaica he discovered that vomiting sickness was due to poisoning by unripe ackee fruit which he found to be highly toxic and described the cysts of Entamoeba histolytica.

He took the DPH of the Irish Royal Colleges, with honours, in 1913. During the first world war he served as pathologist at the Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot, in charge of a mobile laboratory, with the rank of honorary captain in the RAMC. After demobilization he became Milner Research Fellow in comparative pathology at the London School of Tropical Medicine and obtained DTM&H (Cambridge). He went to Hong Kong as Government bacteriologist and pathologist where he did valuable work on tuberculosis among the poorer class Chinese and gained a great knowledge of morbid anatomy. He returned to England in 1922 and became pathologist to the Zoological Society of London, here he compared his 300 post-mortem studies of fatal human cases in Hong Kong with similar studies of animals dying of tuberculosis in the Zoological Gardens. The results were published by the Medical Research Council in 1929 and threw new light on the pathology of the disease. He was also a lecturer on tropical diseases at the Westminster Board and Liverpool University. From 1928 to 1930 he was medical secretary to the Colonial Medical Research Committee. He was elected a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1916, and a fellow in 1925. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1917. Appointed CMG in 1936, and was promoted KCMG in 1941. He became a fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1911, becoming President 1943-1945.In 1930 he was appointed assistant director of the Bureau of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases, becoming director in 1935, holding the appointment until 1942.

In 1937-38 he delivered the FitzPatrick Lectures before the Royal College of Physicians, discussing the conquest of disease in the Tropics, these lectures formed the basis of his best known work: The History of Tropical Medicine, published in two volumes in 1939.


Arranged into three series

Access Information

This collection is open for consultation. Please contact the Archivist to arrange an appointment. All researchers must complete and sign a user registration form which signifies their agreement to abide by the archive rules. All researchers are required to provide proof of identity bearing your signature (for example, a passport or debit card) when registering. Please see website for further information at


Compiled by Victoria Killick, LSHTM Archivist. Sources: Obituary in the British Medical Journal, 18/8/1956; History of the School of Tropical Medicine in London (1899-1949) by Sir Philip Manson-Bahr, 1956, H K Lewis & Co Ltd, London.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed computer catalogue is available for use in the Archives and the on-line archive catalogue will be available at from 2005

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

Geographical Names