The collection includes: records of the Society's central organisation including council and committee minutes, annual reports and accounts, 1856-1997; lists of members, 1895-1958 and 1990-1997; files relating to early activities, 1866-1908; Society publications including the journal Public Health, 1891-1994; files of comments and evidence provided by the Society, 1950-1997; minutes and files of regional Branches and specialist Groups of the Society, 1875-1997; and records of the Society's Faculty of Community Health, 1988-1998. Also included are some non-Society records such as public health literature, 1902-1991, and files relating to the journal The Medical Officer, 1897-1973.
Section L comprises over 200 files, covering the 1950s to 1990s, relating to comments and evidence produced by the Society, which illustrate the extent of its activities and importance as an advisory body and source of specialist knowledge. Accordingly, it also provides a wealth of information on various public health topics, which supplements that contained in the Society's journal Public Health. The collection includes Vols 3-89 of the journal, covering 1890-1975, and incomplete volumes up to 1994. As well as being a medium for the publication of scientific articles and discussion of contemporary issues, Public Health stands as an important record of the Society's proceedings, role and policies. As a research tool it is equal in importance to much of the primary material in the collection and often fills in gaps in the latter. Records representing some of the Society's early activities in the emerging public health field are listed in Section K.
Records of the Society's Branches, Regions and Groups form a major part of the collection. Branches and Groups were entitled to conduct their business independently of the central body and therefore records were not kept at Society headquarters. Many had to be located and retrieved by the Secretary and the Oxford Unit from former secretaries or members, local health authorities and libraries in the 1970s. A number of records, particularly of Branches, have been permanently placed in local repositories. Although the majority of Branch and Group records are listed or accounted for in Sections N and P and Appendices 1-2, some gaps still remain. Efforts made in 1998-1999 to trace additional material were largely unsuccessful, and it is likely that some papers are held in unknown repositories and privately, or have simply been destroyed. What has survived varies greatly in content, quantity and quality. This can be attributed to the level of activity, efficiency of the Secretary and custodial history. Records mainly comprise minute books and files maintained by the local or group secretary and the Society Secretary. Some minute books include transcripts of papers read, correspondence, menu cards, photographs and other ephemera, giving a broader picture of activities, e.g. Northern and Yorkshire Branches (N.8 & 15) and the School Health Service and Services (Hygiene) Groups (P.9 & 10).
Records of the Society's Faculty of Community Health, including minutes and publications, are listed under Section Q, but they suffer from a number of gaps.
Section R comprises a rich collection of secondary sources which vividly document and illustrate public health measures, policies and issues chiefly in the first half of the 20th century.
Society of Medical Officers of Health
SASMO/CGeneral Purposes Committee
SASMO/DStanding and Temporary Committee, Working Parties and Joint Meetings
SASMO/JPublications and Official Publicity
SASMO/LComments and Evidence
SASMO/NBranches and Regions
SASMO/PSpecial Interest Groups
SASMO/QThe Faculty of Community Health of the Society of Public Health
SASMO/RPublic Health Literature and Sources
SASMO/SThe Medical Officer: Editorial Papers
SASMO/TMiscellaneous Non-Society Items
SASMO Society of Medical Officers of Health
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