Sir Humphry Rolleston collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Rolleston to Robert Falcon Scott regarding Edward Adrian Wilson and the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904. Rolleston was Wilson's doctor.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston was born in Oxford in 1862. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, and at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, graduating with a medical degree in 1891. After acting as house-physician, he was appointed demonstrator of anatomy at St. Bartholomew's, at the same time gaining clinical experience as assistant physician to the Metropolitan Hospital. In 1890, he was elected curator of the museum, and three years later, assistant physician at St. George's Hospital. Soon afterwards, he joined the staff of the Victoria Hospital for Children, later becoming consulting physician in both hospitals. In 1901, he went to South Africa as consulting physician to the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital in Pretoria during the South African War. On his return to England, he became immersed in practice, lecturing and writing, co-editing the second edition of the System of Medicine between 1905 and 1911.

During the First World War, he served as consulting physician to the Royal Navy with the temporary rank of surgeon rear-admiral, and was knighted in 1918. After the war, he held in succession the presidencies of the Royal Society of Medicine (1918-1920), the Royal College of Physicians (1922-1926), and the Medical Society of London (1926-1927). In 1923, he was appointed physician-in-ordinary to King George V and from 1932 to 1936, was physician-extraordinary. In 1924, he was created a baronet and the following year was appointed Regis Professor of Physic at Cambridge, holding this post until 1932 when he became emeritus. From 1936, he was editor-in-chief of the British Encyclopaedia of Medical Practice.

Through out his career, he received numerous honours, including honorary degrees from universities in Britain, Europe and the United States. He died in Haslemere in 1944.

Published work Diseases of the liver, gall-bladder and bile-ducts, Macmillan and Co. London (1912)


The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

By appointment.

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Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to The Dictionary of National Biography, 1941-1950, with an index covering the years 1901-1950 in one alphabetical series, Oxford University Press, London (1959) and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events,(1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

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Further accessions possible.