Title and statement of responsibility area
Sir John Burdon Sanderson collection
General material designation
- Textual record
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Burdon-Sanderson, John, Sir
Physical description area
7 cm of textual records
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
Note on publisher's series
Archival description area
Name of creator
Sir John Scott Burdon-Sanderson born on December 21, 1828. He received his medical education at the University of Edinburgh and at the University of Paris. He became a Medical Officer of Health for Paddington in 1856 and subsequently a physician to the Middlesex Hospital and the Brompton Consumption hospitals. Between 1858-1866, he investigated diphtheria, cattle plague and cholera when they appeared in England. He was one of the forerunners of penicillin, observing its ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria before Alexander Fleming.
He was the first person chosen to be the Waynflete Chair of Physiology in Oxford in 1882. It was at this time that he became the focus of the antivivisectionist movement, who opposed his stance on animal experimentation. In 1895, he became Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, a post he held until his resignation in 1904. In 1899, he became the first Baronet of Banbury Road in the Parish of Saint Giles in in the City of Oxford. He died in Oxford on November 23rd, 1905.
The licenses and notebooks were acquired as part of Dr. Hugh Sinclair's private library collection. Dr. Hugh Sinclair was a lecturer in physiology and biochemistry at Magdalen College in Oxford. The Woodward Library acquired the collection in 1966. During that time, the licenses and notebooks were separated from the Sinclair Collection and became a separate collection. They were transferred from Woodward Memorial Library to Rare Books and Special Collections in 2013.
Scope and content
This is the complete set of John Burdon Sanderson’s vivisection licenses, from 1876 to 1905 (the year of his death). The first license is numbered “1”, and is in fact the first license ever issued in Great Britain under the Act of 1876. They are signed in person by the various Home Secretaries, Viscount Cross (Home Secretary 1874), Vernon Harcourt, Henry Matthews, H.H. Asquith (later Prime Minister), etc.
In addition, there are two small notebooks, written by John Burdon Sanderson’s wife, Lady Ghetal Burdon Sanderson, which contain copies of letters written by John Burdon Sanderson and herself, that she recopied into the notebooks, in the course of her research into his life.
Immediate source of acquisition
The vivisection licenses are folded together in reverse chronological order, with the earlier, handwritten licenses in the back of the stack, and the later, typewritten licenses toward the front. There are 32 documents on 27 leaves. The notebook letters are transcribed in no specific order. Dates vary and skip around from page to page. Book 2 has 120 leaves. Book 3 has 80 leaves.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Related to the Darwin-Burdon Sanderson Letters Collection, which are letters in which Darwin and Burdon Sanderson discuss the anti-vivisection movement and research they conducted on insect eating plants.
Standard number area
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description record identifier
Rules or conventions
Level of detail
Dates of creation, revision and deletion
RAD compliant Finding Aid prepared by: Kristine Protacio, February 2015.