Foy, Henry (1900-1991), and Kondi, Athena (d.1994), Haematologists and nutrition researchers

  • Foy, Henry
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The material is arranged by section as follows:

(A) records of haematological research into B vitamin deficiencies including records of serum tests, biopsies and post mortems on baboons, plus correspondence, reports and photographs, 1963-1977;

(B) surveys of anaemia and sickle cell anaemia in Mozambique, Kenya, Sudan, India, Mauritius, 1951-1974; survey of tropical sprue, 1962-1969;

(C) publications by Foy and Kondi, particularly on blackwater fever and anaemias in the tropics, 1935-c.1990;

(D) reference files of articles and reprints, mid 20th century-late 20th century;

(E) photographic material relating to research, and of the countries where Foy and Kondi worked, c.1934-1988



Physical description

22 boxes

Acquisition note

These majority of this collection was given to the library at Wellcome Collection in May 1995 by Helen Watkins of the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories, Nairobi (acc.571). A large number of transparencies were given by Foy's grandaughter, Nicola, in March 1996 (acc.620). Some standard textbooks on anatomy, pathology and nutrition were transferred to the library at Wellcome Collection's Modern Medicine Collection.

Biographical note

Dr Henry Foy was born in July 1900, and went to Oxford in 1918 to study physiology under Julian Huxley. After graduation he taught biology at Gresham's School, Holt and Malvern College. In 1925 he took up a teaching post at Imperial College, Trinidad, where he became involved in a leper colony in Manaus on the Upper Amazon and developed a keen interest in tropical diseases. In 1932 he was appointed to run the League of Nations Malaria Research Laboratory in Salonika, where Dr Athena Kondi was his laboratory assistant. She had gained her MB from Athens University in 1930, and her MD in 1933.

The League of Nations Research Laboratory was funded initially by the Rockefeller Foundation, and when funding ended in 1937, Foy gained Wellcome Trust funds via Sir Henry Dale. The laboratory was extended, with beds provided for clinical research on patients, under the care of Kondi. Foy and Kondi were to work together for the rest of their lives, so closely that they were known as 'Foyandkondi' by the local people in Nairobi. When Greece was invaded in 1941, they left to work first at the South Africa Institute for Medical Research in Johannesburg and then, after a brief return to Greece, their laboratory was established in Nairobi in 1948. Foy believed Nairobi provided excellent opportunities for the study of malaria and sickle cell anaemia - a condition they had begun to study in Greece at the end of the war. Despite being based in Nairobi, Foy and Kondi made lengthy visits to Assam, the Seychelles and Mauritius to carry out survey projects, and it was after observing the connection between hookworm infection and anaemia in the Seychelles that Foy decided to establish a colony of baboons at Nairobi to undertake more sytematic study of the phenomenon. In 1961 accomodation was built for 150 baboons and a breeding nucleus. The colony was subsequently employed in several research projects, chiefly into the various effects of B vitamin deficiencies, and research continued after the official retirement of Foy in 1970.

In addition to laboratory-based research with the baboons, Foy and Kondi also took part in large scale projects, including investigations of anaemias in children with kwashiorkor and marasmus, survey of the incidence of tropical sprue in East Africa and surveys of anaemias in India, Mauritius and the Seychelles.

The achievements of Foy's laboratories in Salonika and Nairobi were praised by Sir Henry Dale, and the idea of a small expert team working on well defined projects using locally gathered data and with secure financial support was used as a model for planning research facilities in other tropical countries.

A brief chronology of Foy and Kondi:

1900 Henry Foy born

1918 Oxford, studied physiology under Julian Huxley

1921-1925 Biology teacher, Gresham's School, Holt and Malvern College

1925 Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad

Work with leper colony, Manaus, Upper Amazon

1932 League of Nations Malarial Research Laboratory, Salonika

1937 Wellcome Trust funding for Malarial Research Laboratory

1941 Invasion of Greece. Foy and Kondi leave for South Africa via Istanbul and Cairo

1941-1944 South African Medical Research Institute, Johannesburg; investigation of malaria and blood dyscrasias in Bechuanaland, Swaziland, Basuto, Portuguese East Africa

1944-1948 United Nations Reconstruction Relief Administration, Salonika, work on sickle cell anaemia

1948 Establishment of research laboratory, Kenyatta Hospital, Nairobi

1955 Survey of anaemia in India

1959, 1964 Survey of anaemia in Mauritius

1961 Survey of anaemia and hookworm in Seychelles

1961 Established laboratory's baboon colony

1961 Research into anaemias in children with kwashiorkor and marasmus, jointly funded by Kenyan Government

1962-1966 Wellcome Trust Research Project on tropical megaloblastic anaemia and malabsorption syndrome

1970 Official retirement of Foy [continued to work]

1991 Foy dies

1994 Kondi dies

For further information see Physic and Philanthropy: the Wellcome Trust 1936-86, AR Hall and B Bembridge, CUP, 1986; obituary in The Wellcome Trust Annual Report 1991.

Location of duplicates

Original photograph albums, of which the transparencies are copies, are held by Nicola Foy, grandaughter


The catalogue is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS).

Ownership note

From Foy's death in 1991 until 1995, his papers were kept in the store of the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories, Nairobi.

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Accession number

  • 571
  • 620