• Title
    Lister, Sir Joseph (1827-1912)
  • Reference
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  • Scope and Content
    This collection consists of papers presented to the College under the terms of Lord Lister's will, including notes on gauze; cases taken by Lister for the Fellowes Clinical medal at University College Hospital whilst a student, [1844-1853]; papers on early stages of inflammation; germ theory of putrefaction, 1875; correspondence on cases; copies of anatomical drawings, 1841-1843; physiological drawings and notes, [1851]; pathological sketches, [1851]; notes on clinical lectures by Jenner, Erichsen, Quain, Walshe and Garrod, 1851-1852; observations on the contractile tissue of the iris, [1853]; introductory lecture at Edinburgh, 1855; notes on external applications, 1855; lecture delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 1856; observations on early stages of inflammation and nerves, with some sketches, 1857; notes and sketches on the cutaneous pigmentary system of the frog, 1857; summary of experiments on the 'Hemmings' nervous system, 1858; notes and sketches on the minute structure of involuntary muscle fibre, 1858; notes on spontaneous gangrene from arteritis, 1858; coagulation of the blood, 1858-1860; Croomian lecture on Coagulation of the blood, 1863; notes and sketches of horse's blood, 1863; notes, sketches and photographs on excision of the wrist for caries, [1866]; notes on the antiseptic system of treatment in surgery, 1868; sketches and notes illustrating ligature, 1868-1869; notes on the ligature of arteries on the antiseptic system of treatment in surgery, 1871; sketches, notes and lecture on granulations, 1864-1871; drawings for plates on the natural history of bacteria, 1873 and germ theory of putrefaction, [1875]; address at opening of medical session, King's College Hospital, 1877; clinical lecture at King's College Hospital, 1877; sketches of spores and botanical sketches, 1872-1877; notes on the healing of wounds without antiseptic treatment, 1878; on the lactic fermentation, [1878]; notes for address to the Hunterian Society, 1889; observations on division of median and ulnar nerves, 1890; notes on anaesthetics and amputations, [1882]; Drawings of fungi, 1872-1877; notes for extra-academical lectures in Glasgow, 1860-1863; address to Glasgow students, 1894; common-place books, by Lister and Lady Lister, on subjects including bacteria, catgut and antiseptic dressings, including drawings; letters from Erichsen and others; signed prescriptions, 1889; letters to and from Lister, 1868-1900, including letters to Sir George Darwin, 1899-1900. Notes on lectures on surgery delivered by Lister at the University of Glasgow, 1864-1865, transcribed by P H McKellar; notes on lectures on the theory and practice of surgery delivered by Lister at Glasgow, 1863-1864, taken by Dr Robert W Forrest; notes on the surgical lectures delivered by Lister at the University of Glasgow, 1863-1865, taken by Alex Forsyth.
  • Extent
    29 boxes; 6 volumes
  • Language
  • Conditions governing access
    Open to bona fide researchers by written appointment
  • Admin./ biographical history
    Born in Upton, Essex, 5 April 1827, Joseph Lister was the second son and fourth child of seven of Joseph Jackson Lister (1786 - 1869) a wine merchant and microscopist, and Isabella Harris (1794? - 1864). He was educated at London's University College Hospital, graduating with a B.A. and M.B. in 1852. Lister also became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, in London that year. In 1853 Lister moved to Edinburgh to build on his surgical experiences. On arriving in Edinburgh he was introduced to James Syme, an emminent surgeon and became his dresser and later house surgeon. He became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh 1855 and was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Royal Infirmary in 1856. During this time Lister began to publish papers and in 1857 he was invited to read his paper 'The Early Stages of Inflammation' before the Royal Society. On 23 April 1856 Lister married Agnes Syme (died 1893), the eldest daughter of James Syme whom Lister had worked and studied under on first arriving in Edinburgh. In 1860 Lister was appointed as Chair of Surgery at Glasgow University and became a Fellow of the Royal Society, a year later he was appointed Surgeon at the Glasgow Infirmary. In 1869 Lister returned to Edinburgh where he was appointed Regius Professor of Clinical Surgery, a post he held until 1877. In 1877 Lister moved to London to become Professor of Surgery at King's College, a post he held until his retirement in 1892. During their time in London Lister lived with his wife at 12 Park Crescent, Portland Place, where he established his own laboratory in order to continue his research and teaching as well as operating his own private practice. In 1878 Lister was appointed Serjeant-Surgeon to Queen Victoria and in 1880 he was elected to the council of the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1883 a Baronetcy was conferred upon him, and in 1897 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lister of Lyme Regis. In 1891 he helped to found the British Institute of Preventative Medicine for which he served as the first president. In 1897 its name was changed to the Jenner Institute before being renamed again, in 1903, to the Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine and in 1895 he was elected president of the Royal Society. In 1902 Lister was one of the 12 original members of the newly constituted Order of Merit and on the occasion of Lister's 80th Birthday in 1907 he received the freedom of the City of London. In 1908 Lister moved from London to Park House, Walmer, Kent where he remained until his death on 10 February 1912. A funeral service was held for Lister at Westminster Abbey, but as per his instruction, he was buried at Hampstead Cemetary. Lister was famous for his work on antiseptics in surgery, continuing the research of Louis Pasteur on air-borne organisms. He realised that some organisms could cause post-operative wound infections such as tetanus, blood-poisoning, and gangrene. He countered this by using carbolic acid soaked in lint or calico around the wound and replaced slow-to-absorb silk stitching with cat-gut stitching which absorbed the carbolic acid more easily. He also experimented with gauze swabs and a disinfectant spray for operating theatres. Publications include: Amputation. Anæsthetics (1860); Introductory Lectures delivered in the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1869); Observations on ligatures of arteries on the antiseptic system. From the Lancet, April 3, 1869 (Edmonton & Douglas: Edinburgh, 1869); On the effects of the Antiseptic System of Treatment upon the salubrity of a Surgical Hospital (Edinburgh, 1870); New Designs in plans for the internal arrangement of Back to Back Houses (Leeds, 1907); The third Huxley lecture. delivered before the Medical School of Charing Cross Hospital (1907); The Collected Papers of Joseph, Baron Lister. [With plates.] 2 vol. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1909); Six papers by Lord Lister (London, 1921); Eight Letters ... to William Sharpey Reprinted from The British Journal of Surgery (J Wright & Sons, Bristol, 1933); A List of the Original Writings of Joseph Lord Lister, O.M. William Richard Lefanu (E & S Livingstone, Edinburgh & London, 1965).
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