Fairfield, (Josephine) Letitia Denny

  • Fairfield, (Josephine) Letitia Denny, 1885-1978.
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


These papers, though far from a complete record of her career and many activities, reflect Dr. Fairfield's interests in social hygiene, in mental health, in medico-legal matters and criminology, mother and child health and welfare, and as a Roman Catholic convert, as well as her broader political and feminist convictions. There is also some biographical material.



Physical description

5 boxes 1 o/s folder


The collection is divided into sections as follows:

A. Personal and family

B. General correspondence

C. Causes and campaigns

D. Criminology and medico-legal matters

E. Writings and broadcasts

Acquisition note

This collection was received by the library at Wellcome Collection as a gift from Dr Fairfield's niece, Mrs Alison Selford, between March 1996 and March 1997. An additional few files were received in November 1999 from the Imperial War Museum, comprising items amongst the Museum's Fairfield papers that were not relevant to her war work.

Biographical note

Letitia Fairfield (eldest sister of the novelist Rebecca West) qualified in medicine in 1907. She had a distinguished career in public health, as Senior Medical Officer to the London County Council, 1911-1948, and as a medical officer during both world wars, in the Queen Mary's Auxiliary Army Corps and the RAF in World War I, and the RAMC in the Second World War, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Obituaries may be found in the British Medical Journal and the Lancet for 1978 and an Appreciation in Women in Medicine: the newsletter of the Medical Women's Federation no. 10, Apr 1978. Obituaries and memoirs of Dr Fairfield may be found within this collection at GC/193/A.19.

Related material

At Wellcome Collection:

There is some additional material concerning Dr Fairfield among the archives of the Medical Women's Federation (reference: SA/MWF), and some correspondence between her and C P Blacker among Blacker's papers (PP/CPB).

At other repositories:

Further papers of Dr Fairfield, predominantly concerning her service in both World Wars and related topics, are held at the Imperial War Museum (reference: JLDF). The list of these papers may be consulted on application to the Archives and Manuscripts department. Some files for 1911-1948 relating to her work as a Medical Officer for the London County Council may be found among the Public Health Department records now in the London Metropolitan Archives (reference LCC/PH/GEN/3/6-28). Her materials relating to sterilisation under the Third Reich can be found in the Wiener Library.

Permanent link


Accession number

  • 619
  • 670
  • 693
  • 817