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Papers of Sir John Hall

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Royal Army Medical Corps Muniments Collection
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About this work


These mainly official papers of Sir John Hall, Inspector General of Hospitals and Chief of the Medical Staff during the Crimean War, were given to the Museum of the Royal Army Medical College by his descendant, Mrs M.E. Simpson. More than half the documents relate to the years 1854-6 and to the organization of the Medical Department in the Crimea, but some are concerned with Dr Hall's previous service, including the Kaffir Wars of 1847-51, and in the Bombay Presidency, 1851-4. S.M. Mitra was given access to this material when, at the request of the family, he wrote Sir John Hall's biography, and many quotations from the papers appear in that work.

Among these papers there are medical registers, letter books, reports, returns, correspondence and diaries. Apart from the bound volumes, all the documents were folded, tied into bundles and each item was endorsed - in many cases some time after its original receipt - with its date and a brief summary of its contents.

Sir John Hall had written a Report on the Medical Department in the Crimea and a pamphlet in answer to the criticisms in the Report of the Sanitary Commissioners. He had also intended to write a full scale history of the Medical Department from 1854 to 1856, to which end he had bundled together certain groups of papers under the headings:- Ambulance conveyances; Civil hospitals; Diet; Duty (which included correspondence with surgeons under his orders and their postings); Field equipment; Female nurses; Hospital equipment and accommodation; Hospital ships, their stores and equipment; Purveying Department; and Sanitary concerns. A subject index under the same headings refers by number to the various out-letters copied into the Letter Books.

Sir John had also kept together most of his correspondence with the Army Medical Department in London and with a few individual correspondents. Whether, if he had lived to write his book, he would have rearranged all his papers under these ten headings cannot be known for certain. If he had done so, there would have been - as there was already - much overlapping between the various subjects, but he had intended to study the working of the Department under these aspects and in sorting his papers it seemed right to keep his intentions in mind. For the final arrangement however the papers have so far as possible been put into the categories in which they would have been when Sir John was dealing with them, thus enabling the Medical Department to be studied form the point of view of its principal officer.



Physical description

9 boxes, 6 oversize boxes

Ownership note

These papers were listed by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1963 (their ref. 9222). In this more detailed listing, the arrangement and the references assigned by HMC have been retained.

Location of duplicates

A digitised copy is held by the Wellcome Library.

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