Blacker, Carlos Paton FRCP (1895-1975)

  • Blacker, Carlos Paton, 1895-1975
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


While not entirely complete, the collection reflects Blacker's long and active career in psychiatry (including as psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and as an Adviser to the Ministry of Health), and his activities as Secretary to the Eugenics Society and with a number of organisations interested in population and birth control, including the Birth Control Investigation Committee, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Simon Population Trust. There is also some material relating to his return to military duty in the Second World War as a Regimental Medical Officer. The collection also includes correspondence (both personal and professional), which sheds light on his interests in ornithology and nature conservation, and other writings both published and unpublished.



Physical description

29 boxes


The collection is divided into sections as follows:

A. Personal correspondence and memorabilia, 1920s-1960s [8 boxes]

B. Eugenics Society (including Joint Committee on Voluntary Sterilisation, 1930s), 1929-1966 [3 boxes]

C. Birth Control Organisations, 1928-1934, 1955-1960 [2 boxes]

D. Mental Health and Psychiatry, 1929-1960s [3 boxes]

E. World War II: Military Service, 1940-1944 [1/2 box]

F. Other organisations, 1950s-1970s [11/2 boxes]

G. Simon Population Trust and Voluntary Sterilisation, 1960s-1970s [4 boxes]

H. Unpublished writings, 1928-1970 [11/2 boxes]

J. Published writings, 1922-1973 [2 boxes]

K. Reference materials, 1920s-1970s [1/2 box]

Acquisition note

This collection was received in three accessions. The first came in July 1996 along with several other collections transferred from the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford. The Unit received a group of C.P. Blacker's papers, largely relating to his activities with the Eugenics Society and allied organisations, in 1983, from his son, Dr John Blacker, through the auspices of Dr Joan Austoker, then a Fellow at the Unit. A number of significant gaps were identified in these papers during detailed sorting and listing, and Dr John Blacker was contacted, with the result that additional material still in family hands was given to the Library in August 1997. The collection also includes a few letters to and from Blacker which were found inserted into books in the Library and added to the most appropriate files An additional small group of material was received in Feburary 2012: books and papers presumably cleared from John Blacker's house and given to Oxfam Crouch End were offered to the library at Wellcome Collection and we purchased a number of letters, documents and annotated volumes for addition to our holdings of Blacker's papers.

Biographical note

Carlos Paton Blacker (1895-1975), M.C., G.M., M.A., M.D., F.R.C.P., was a psychiatrist, and served as Secretary of the Eugenics Society 1931-1961. A biographical outline follows:

1895 8 Dec born in Paris, son of Carlos Blacker, gentleman (with Peruvian mother) and Caroline (née Frost)

Educated at Eton

1915-1919 Officer in Coldstream Guards, decorated with M.C., twice wounded

1919 Balliol College Oxford

1920 Captain of Oxford University Boxing Club (also in 1922)

Represented the University at foils

1922 B.A. (natural sciences)

1923 marries Helen Maud, daughter of Major A.J. Pilkington, in Florence

Medical training, Guy's Hospital

1925 M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.

1926 Publishes Birth Control and the State

1927 M.A., B.M., B.Ch., M.R.C.P.

1927-1936 Registrar, Department of Psychological Medicine, Guy's Hospital

1931 D.M.

1931-1952 General Secretary, Eugenics Society

1933 Human Values in Psychological Medicine

1934 Voluntary Sterilisation

The Chances of Morbid Inheritance

1936 F.R.C.P.

Joins staff of Maudsley Hospital

1938 Population and Fertility

1940-1942 On outbreak of war, rejoins Coldstream Guards as Regimental Medical Officer to 2nd Battalion

1940 Rescues severely wounded fellow officer from a minefield, awarded George Medal

1943 Notes for the R.M.O. of an Infantry Unit

1944 Seconded to Ministry of Health as Adviser on Population and Medico-Social Problems

1946 Neurosis and the Mental Health Services

1949 Gave the Galton Lecture to the Eugenics Society

1952 Eugenics: Galton and After

Active in setting up International Planned Parenthood Federation

1957 Awarded the Galton Medal of the Eugenics Society

1952-1961 Honorary Secretary, Eugenics Society

1960 Retires from Maudsley Hospital

1961-1969 Chairman, Simon Population Trust

1962-1972 Consultant to Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society

1975 Presented with the Galton Plate of the Eugenics Society in recognition of his lifetime services

21 Apr dies

Obituaries of Blacker appeared in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Lancet, and Family Planning. An extensive memoir and obituary was published in the Bulletin of the Eugenics Society, Vol.7 no.3, September 1975 (in the Wellcome Library Archives and Manuscripts department: SA/EUG/P.17). There is an entry in 'Munk's Roll': Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians of London continued to 1975 (1982).

Related material

At Wellcome Collection:

Other relevant archive collections are the papers of the Eugenics Society, SA/EUG (available with the permission of the Galton Institute), the Family Planning Association (SA/FPA), and the papers of E.M. 'Max' Nicholson (GC/142), a colleague and friend of Blacker.

In other repositories:

Blacker's correspondence with Marie Stopes is among her papers in the Department of Manuscripts, British Library.

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.

Appraisal note

Some family and personal correspondence has been returned to the Blacker family, and duplicates have been disposed of.

Location of duplicates

A digitised copy is held by Wellcome Collection as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics.


Abbreviations used in the catalogue:

ADMS - Assistant Director, Medical Services

AID - Artificial Insemination by Donor

BCIC - Birth Control Investigation Committee

BMA - British Medical Association

CMO - Chief Medical Officer

DPM - Diploma in Psychiatric Medicine

FPA - Family Planning Association

GRO - General Register Office

HBA - Human Betterment Association

IPPF - International Planned Parenthood Federation

IUFO - International Union of Family Organisations

JCVS - Joint Committee on Voluntary Sterilisation

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

NBCA - National Birth Control Association

OUP - Oxford University Press

PEP - Political and Economic Planning

PSW - Psychiatric Social Worker

RAP - Regimental Aid Post

RCOG - Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

RMO - Regimental Medical Officer

RMPA - Royal Medico-Psychological Association

SPT - Simon Population Trust

VS - Voluntary sterilisation

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores
    RestrictedCan't be requested

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Accession number

  • 641
  • 715
  • 1885