This guide highlights primary source material about alternative medicine that can be found in the Archives and Manuscripts Collection.

These materials date from the 18th century to the 21st century. The Archives and Manuscripts catalogue holds further details of these items.

Collections about alternative practice

British Association of Holistic Health (founded 1983)
Records of this organisation established to work with the British Association for Holistic Medicine, including their joint  newsletter, 1983-1987.
Reference: SA/BHH
Full details in catalogue

British Osteopathic Association
Minutes of Council meetings, 1928-1950. Minutes of council meetings of Osteopathic Trusts Ltd, 1938-1961.
Reference: SA/BOA
Full details in catalogue

British Phrenological Society Inc. (founded 1886, disbanded 1966/67)
Minutes of Council and AGM, 1951-1964, class attendance books, 1915-1938 and 1951-1966, and Visitor's Book, 1955-1966.
Reference: SA/PHR
Full details in catalogue

Malvern Drainage Case, 1907-1908
Correspondence, memoranda, reports and transcript of Chancery Proceedings and appeal to House of Lords regarding the responsibility for polluted water at a hydropathic establishment in Malvern.
Reference: GC/63
Full details in catalogue

A Phrenological Delineation by Stackpool E O’Dell (1916)
Printed booklet annotated in manuscript, with 30-page manuscript of phrenological reading at the end.
Reference: GC/194
Full details in catalogue

J F A Schupbach (1906-1989)
Member of the British Phrenological Society and the Society for the Study of Physiological Patterns. Correspondence to do with his interests in healing, case notes of individuals treated by him, and publications of the Society for the Study of Physiological Patterns on radionics, phrenology, vegetarianism and crystal.
Reference: GC/109
Full details in catalogue

Therapy and related matters

Sequah
Papers of P A Gordon (alias James Kasper) relating to Sequah Ltd and his work as a Sequah agent selling quack medicines. Correspondence and financial papers, advertising material and copies of 'Sequah Chronicle', 1890s.
Reference: GC/69
Full details in catalogue

Collections that include material on alternative practice

Sir Francis Avery-Jones (1910-1998)
Articles on medicinal uses of herbs, 1990s. Also correspondence on pyrrolizidine alkaloids in plants, 1993-4.
Reference: GC/198 B.4
Full details in catalogue

Reference: GC/198 C.5
Full details in catalogue

Arthur Sydney Blundell Bankart MA, MCh, FRCS (1879-1951), Orthopaedic Surgeon
Material relating to arguments for and against chiropractic and osteopathy as opposed to orthopaedic surgery, 1925-6.
Reference: PP/ABB/E.2/1
Full details in catalogue

British Medical Association (BMA)
This collection (c.1900s-1960s) contains a good deal of material on alternative practice of various kinds. There are substantial groups of files in the 'Medico-Political' section on 'Unqualified Practice', which contain material on bone-setters (including Sir Herbert Barker), herbalism, hydropathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, 'autonomic therapy', and so on, and 'Patent Medicines'. There is a file on the BMA publication 'Secret Remedies' in the 'Ethical' section and additional material on proprietary remedies in the 'Science' section. There is also material on electrotherapeutic and similar clinics and files on spa treatment and alternative cancer treatments, tuberculosis remedies, and qualified medical practitioners using homeopathy. The collection is indexed but only to the file title level (not complete contents).
Reference: SA/BMA
Full details in catalogue

Carlos Paton Blacker (1895-1975)
A small amount of material on ‘stage hypnosis’ also deals with legitimate medical uses of hypnosis, 1950s.
Reference: PP/CPB/D.14
Full details in catalogue

Cancer Research Campaign (formerly British Empire Cancer Campaign)
Files relating to alternative cancer treatments and 'cures' including herbal, plant, diet, hormone, bovine bone marrow, anti-cancer serum, H.11 and blood remedies and alternative cancer practitioners David Rees Evans, Frederick F A Pearson, Dr C Schieppati and Dr Joseph Issels, 1923-1981.
Reference: SA/CRC/N
Full details in catalogue

Some material has restricted access.

Sir Richard Cave (1912-1988)
File of material on Scroth Centre for the Treatment of Rheumatic Disease by Natural Therapeutics, c.1950s-60s.
Reference: GC/220/5
Full details in catalogue

Professor A R Cushny (1866-1926)
Manuscript on 'Homeopathy in the Twentieth Century', no date.
Reference: PP/ARC/C.1
Full details in catalogue

Colonel Charles Donovan, IMS (1863-1961)
File on herbal medicine, 1895-1922.
Reference: WTI/DON/A.5
Full details in catalogue

Hans Georg Epstein (1909-2002)
One file containing correspondence and journal articles on acupuncture and hypnosis and surgical anaesthesia (1973).
Reference: PP/HGE/K/1
Full details in catalogue

Barbara Evans (1909-1995)
Some items on Chinese medicine. Material relating to her association with the Research Council on Complementary Medicine, 1977-86.
Reference: PP/PRE/F.10
Full details in catalogue

Reference: PP/PRE/J
Full details in catalogue

Sidney G Hamilton  
'Memories of a visit to the People's Republic of China 1972' records several major operations performed under analgesia using acupuncture.
Reference: MS.7972
Full details in catalogue

Sir Robert Macintosh (1897-1989)
File on De La Warr Laboratories 'Black Box', a 'radionic diagnostic instrument' (1953-1970), and some material on acupuncture and complementary medicine (1970s).
References: PP/RRM/A.1/5
Full details in catalogue

References: PP/RRM/E.3/24
Full details in catalogue

Frederick Parkes Weber FRCP (1863-1962)
Bundles of notes, cuttings, reprints, correspondence, etc. on light therapy and similar treatments, balneotherapy and climatology (this also figures in his recommendations to patients in his case books).
Reference: PP/FPW
Full details in catalogue

Patients’ Association (founded 1963)
Some files relating to alternative and complementary medicine, including homeopathy, c.1970s-90s.
Reference: SA/PAT
Full details in catalogue

Sir William Drummond Paton CBE, FRCP, FRCS. FFARCS, JP (1917-1993)
One files of reference material on alternative medicine, 1978-91.
Reference: PP/WDP/C/11
Full details in catalogue

Royal Commission on Medical Education (1965-1968)
Written evidence by the Homeopathic Research and Education Trust, the Churches' Council on Healing and the Institute of Religion and Medicine.
Reference: SA/CME
Full details in catalogue

Sir Bernard Spilsbury (1877-1947)
Notes on autopsies performed by him between 1905 and 1933 include several in which Christian Science or other alternative treatments are mentioned as a factor.
Reference: PP/SPI
Full details in catalogue

Marthe Vogt (1903-2003)
Material relating to acupuncture, including research by Shao-guang Fan, 1970s-1980s.
Reference: PP/MLV
Full details in catalogue

Helena Rosa Wright MB, BS (1887-1982)
Dr Wright (principally known for her work in birth control) became involved in the Psionic Medicine Society during the 1970s, and there is material relating to this Society and connected matters among her papers.
Reference: PP/HRW/C
Full details in catalogue

Spiritual healing


Letitia Fairfield (1885-1978)
Papers concerning her interest in the paranormal include material on faith-healing, Lourdes, the stigmata, and so on.
Reference: GC/193
Full details in catalogue

Sir Henry Head FRS, FRCP (1861-1940)
Volume of records of his examination of pilgrims to the shrine of St Bernadette at Lourdes, France, 1895, with related material.
Reference: PP/HEA/B.2
Full details in catalogue

Multiple Sclerosis Society (founded 1953)
File relating to pilgrimage to Lourdes by multiple sclerosis sufferers, 1968-1969.
Reference: SA/MSS/A/30
Full details in catalogue

Reverend Dr Hubert (Hugh) Carey Trowell OBE FRCP (1904-1989)
Some material on his interest in spiritual healing and his involvement with the Institute of Religion and Medicine, correspondence with Harry Edwards of the Spiritual Healing Sanctuary, 1960s-1970s.
Reference: PP/HCT
Full details in catalogue

Wellcome archives

Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, 1899-1985
Some material deals with various forms of alternative practice.
Reference: WA/HMM
Full details in catalogue

Contact an archivist

To contact an archivist, email archs+mss@wellcome.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)20 7611 8899 during Library opening hours.