Papers of Professor Thomas Gibson (1915-1993), plastic surgeon.

Scope and Content

Case history and photographs of case which led Gibson to his initial observation on the "second set" phenomena, 1942; photographs and correspondence relating to publications, 1942-1991; letter from Sir Peter Medawar, 1960; lectures and reprints, 1943-1991.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tom Gibson was born in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, on 24 November 1915. He was educated at Paisley Grammar School and Glasgow University where he graduated MB, ChB in 1938. He worked in the Medical Research Council Burns Unit, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 1942-4. While at the Burns Unit he made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the mechanism of homograft rejection. He was joined in Glasgow by Peter Medawar (subsequently knighted and awarded a Nobel Prize) who had been working in Oxford on the same problem and their joint work "The fate of skin homografts in man," was published in the Journal of Anatomy in 1943. The article is quoted in Morton's Medical Bibliography as the work which placed the laws of transplantation on a firm scientific basis. During this period Gibson also established the principles of management of the shock phase of burns. He subsequently worked in an RAMC maxillofacial surgery team until demobilisation in 1947. Following the war he joined the West of Scotland Plastic Surgery Unit, initially at Ballochmyle, later in Canniesburn Hospital, where he became Director in 1970 until he retired in 1980. His researches with Professor R.M. Kenedi culminated in the establishment of the Bioengineering Department of Strathclyde University, in respect of which he was appointed Visiting Professor and awarded an honorary DSc.

He published widely on tissue immunology, burns, bioengineering and various aspects of plastic surgery including its history. He was Honorary Librarian and a member of Council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow from 1964 to 1974 and was President from 1976 to 1978. He wrote The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, A short history based on the portraits and other memorabilia, in 1983 when he was Honorary Curator of the College's art collection.


Arranged chronologically within record series.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to some items may be restricted. Please contact the Archivist at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Acquisition Information

Gift from depositor's family.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list available at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Archivist. We will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

Appraisal Information

Appraised in accordance with GB 250's collection policy.

Custodial History

Held with depositor's family.


Not expected.

Related Material

2000.9 20 mm cannon shell RCPSG 97/1 Letter from Tom Gibson to Mr David Hamilton, 1982

Location of Originals

This material is original.


No known publications.

Geographical Names