Collection RBSC-ARC-1723 - Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh collection

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Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh collection

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  • Multiple media

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  • Variations in title: Previously known as the Clover/Snow collection

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20 cm of textual records; photographs

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Biographical history

Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh was born in Timaru, New Zealand. He was the youngest child of Charles Nicholson Macintosh and Lydia Beatrice Thompson. At the age of 18, he traveled to Britain and became a part of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, then the Royal Flying Corps, during which time he was shot down behind enemy lines and taken prisoner. He escaped captivity several times and after the war, he began training at Guys Hospital Medical School. During his time in school, he earned money administering dental anesthetics and this subsequently developed into an interest in anesthetics.

In 1937, Macintosh became the first professor of anesthetics at Oxford University, having been named one of the chairs of medicine after he administered anesthesia to William Richard Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield. Nuffield donated money to Oxford University and insisted that a fourth chair be added, in exchange for his endowment to the school, for Macintosh to occupy.

Macintosh was instrumental in pioneering the area of anesthetics, the invention of the laryngoscope, an anaesthetic vaporiser, spray and endobronchial tube.

Custodial history

The collection of Joseph Thomas Clover was given to Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh by Clover's last living relative, who was at the time a solicitor in Oxford. The collection was donated to the Woodward Library by Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh in 1964 after a visit by Dr. William Gibson in which Gibson described the Sherrington Room at the Woodward Library. The collection was then transferred from the Woodward Memorial Library to the UBC Rare Books and Special Collections in 2013.

Scope and content

The Macintosh Collection was created by Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh, a Nuffield Professor of Anesthetics at Oxford. The collection consists of the documents relating to the life and research of anesthetist Joseph Thomas Clover. In addition there are correspondence, research and notes written by Sir Robert Macintosh, which were collected during his research into the life of anesthetist John Snow. There are also notes and correspondence by Dr. K Bryn Thomas, a visiting medical historian and anesthetist who arranged, catalogued and annotated the collection in 1971. Throughout the collection, there are various notations, transcriptions and notes written by Dr. Thomas that occurred during his processing of the collection. The current arrangement of the collection is still largely the arrangement applied originally by Dr. Thomas.
The materials related to Joseph Thomas Clover spans the beginning of his career until the end of his life. They include obituaries and eulogies of his death (1882-83), and articles in magazines on Clover after his death (1913, 1928). There are photographs of Joseph Thomas Clover and his wife, Mary Ann Clover in various poses and a small, hand-drawn family tree of the Clover family. Clover’s observations, patient notes, hand-draw sketches of anatomy and apparatus and even some small books Clover used for financial recordkeeping, are present, some in small, bound volumes and others in loose pages. Clover’s original article of indenture (1841) and testimonials regarding his qualities as a doctor are also present. Correspondence within the collection include discussions on anesthesia, requests from patients and for apparatus, letters of condolences Mary Ann Clover after the death of Joseph Clover (1882) and letters to Clover’s daughter regarding her father’s legacy (1913). A small amount of the letters has been transcribed by K Bryn Thomas and present in the correspondence section. There is a small collection of cards bearing advice and quotations from Clover’s father, J.W. Clover, pertaining to weddings, finances, and life, as well as Clover’s own notes on God and life (1859-65). There are also several sheets of pressed flowers.
The second portion of the Joseph Thomas Clover collection was organized by subject matter by K Bryn Thomas. The sections are largely undated and cover Clover’s notes on ether, nitrous oxide and ether, chloroform, nitrous oxide, as well as a large amount of hand written notes covering various anesthetic subjects. Clover’s notes also discuss the deaths from chloroform and resuscitation. There are also hand-drawn illustrations of various apparatus inventions and experiments.
The third section of the collection contains the material collected by Sir Robert Macintosh during his research into anesthetist John Snow. This section contains biographical sketches by Sir Robert Macintosh, letters of correspondence between John Snow’s descendants and Sir Robert Macintosh, and a speech given regarding John Snow in 1955. There are a few correspondences regarding the gifting of Snow’s book <em>On Cholera</em>. A transcript of Snow’s article <em>On Asphyxia</em> is also contained in the collection. There are also copies, transcripts, and correspondence relating to Snow’s will, and his burial certificate. The remainder of the collection consist of items about John Snow, including correspondence to his descendants regarding his memorial tombstone, correspondence to his publishers regarding his books, and items written about John Snow himself.

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The collection was catalogued and annotated by British medical historian and anesthetist K. Bryn Thomas in 1971. Items are grouped under eight main headings. The original manuscripts were handled by Dr. Thomas during the course of arranging and cataloguing the collection. The collection is arranged in categories to correspond with Dr. Thomas' outline. The collection was made RAD compliant in January of 2015.

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Finding aid prepared by: K. Bryn Thomas, 1971.
Updated and made RAD compliant by: Kristine Protacio, February, 2015.

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