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Bulbring, Edith

  • Bülbring, Edith, 1903-1990
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Correspondence, laboratory notes, lectures and other papers covering life and career in England after 1933, with J H Burn at the Pharmaceutical Society, 1933-1938, and at Oxford University, 1938-1981



Physical description

7 boxes


Nearly all the papers were received in good order, stored within files. Most of these files have been kept intact; a few have been divided. Original file titles, where retained, are given in rted commas in the list. With little arrangement to the files overall, an artificial structure has been imposed upon them to assist the reader. Duplicate papers have been destroyed. Papers in which Edith Bülbring acted as a referee for colleagues are closed until 2039.

Acquisition note

These papers were given to the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre (CMAC) as gifts in two accessions. The first, accession no. 325, was collected from Edith Bülbring in November 1989, the second, accession no. 369, after her death, from Alison Brading, of the University Department of Pharmacology, Oxford, in January 1991. A transcript of an interview with Edith Bülbring was added to accession no. 369 in February 1992(now item A.4/2).

Biographical note

Edith Bülbring, the daughter of a Dutch Jewish mother and German father, came to England in 1933, after being dismissed from a research post in Berlin because of her Jewish background. In 1938 she settled in Oxford and, working in the University's Department of Pharmacology, became a leading authority on the physiology and pharmacology of smooth muscle (visceral or involuntary muscle). In 1958 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1970 Smooth Muscle was published in her honour. Most of the material in the collection relates to Edith Bülbring's career in England between 1938 and 1981. Her early family life in Germany is represented by items A.4/1-2 and A.5, which indicate her linguistic and musical talents. There are no records of her career in Germany, nor at the Pharmaceutical Society in London (1933-1938). However, laboratory notebooks (although an incomplete series), reports made for organisations supporting her work, and publications and lectures all describe her later research. For information about Edith Bülbring's life and career see Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 38,1992; The Dictionary of National Biography 1986-1990; , Who Was Who Volume VIII, newspaper obituaries and items A.1, A.4/2, and A.5 in the following list. 1903 Born 27 December in Bonn, fourth and youngest child of Karl Daniel Bülbring, Professor of English at Bonn University, and Hortense Leonore (née Kann) Bülbring 1910-1920 Klostermann Lyzeum 1922 Student at the Bonn Gymnasium 1923 Entered Bonn University 1925-1928 Clinical training in Munich, Freiburg and Bonn 1928 MD Bonn 1929-1931 Worked with P Trendelenburg, Professor of Pharmacology in Berlin 1931 Paediatrician in Jena 1932 Assistant to U Friedemann, immunologist, in Berlin 1933 Dismissed from position in Berlin because mother was Jewish. Came to England on holiday. Via Freidemann and Henry Dale, became a research assistant to JH Burn 1933-1938 Worked with Burn in the Pharmacological laboratories of the Pharmaceutical Society in London, mainly standardising hormone and vitamin preparations 1938 Demonstrator in the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University, where Burn was now Professor 1938-1949 With Burn, researched the autonomic nervous system late 1940s Began concentrating research on smooth muscle 1948 Naturalisation 1949-1950 Visit to the United States 1958 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society for work on smooth muscle 1960 Appointed Reader in Pharmacology, Oxford University Elected Active Member of the New York Academy of Sciences 1967 Appointed Professor of Pharmacology, Oxford University 1970 Publication of Smooth Muscle (London: Edward Arnold) 1971 Retired 1971-1981 Research in the Laboratory of Physiology at Oxford University 1974 Awarded the Schmiedeberg-Plakette der Deutschen Pharmakologischen Gesellschaft 1975 Elected to an Honorary Fellowship, Lady Margaret Hall 1981 Elected Honorary Member of the Physiological Society 1985 Awarded the Wellcome Gold Medal in Pharmacology 1990 Died 5 July

Related material

A complete set of Bulbring's reprints is held by the Royal Society library. The Bodleian Library Department of Western Manuscripts holds her correspondence with the Society for Protection of Science and Learning 1935-1971. The following collections held by the CMAC may also be of interest: SA/PHY, records of the Physiological Society, of which Edith Bülbring was a Committee number 1971-1975; PP/HHD, a small collection of Sir Henry Dale's papers; and a few papers of Hermann Blaschko PP/HKB, and Professor J H Burn GC/154. Collections relating to Jewish refugee scientists are listed in the CMAC Sources leaflet No.28: 'Refugee Scientists and Medical Practicioners', which is available in the Library.

Copyright note

Copyright in unpublished material assigned to the Wellcome Trust

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.

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