Martindale, Louisa (1872-1966)

  • Martindale, Louisa, 1872-1966
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The collection consists of Section A: a little personal correspondence, papers, articles, speeches and lectures by Louisa Martindale, and some personal material including notes on the glaucoma which eventually blinded her, 1872-1960; and Section B: papers concerning the Medical Women's International Association (founded 1919) of which Miss Martindale was President from 1937 to 1947. As well as her own correspondence in this capacity, 1937-1946, there is one file of the correspondence of Mme Montreuil-Strauss, Secretary of the Medical Women's International Association at his period. (Louisa Martindale destroyed the vast bulk of her case records at the time of her retirement from practice around 1950, those remaining were destroyed by her executors after her death).



Physical description

2 boxes


By series as follows: A. Personal Records, 1872-1960 B. Medical Women's International Association, 1937-1964

Acquisition note

These papers were received by the library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in 1966 from Miss Martindale's cousin and executrix Miss Eva D. Spicer. In 1981 they were transferred to the care of the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre (now Archives and Manuscripts section of the library at Wellcome Collection).

Biographical note

Louisa Martindale was born in 1872. She was a keen proponent of women's rights and their admission to the professions on equal terms. She received her M.B. from the London School of Medicine for Women (Royal Free Hospital) in 1900 and subsequently studied on the continent. Her particular interest was the use of radiotherapy for gynaecological disorders although much of her practice was of a general medical and surgical nature. She practised in Hull and Berlin for 5 years before taking the M.D.Lond. and then moving to Brighton, where she was one of the founders of the New Sussex Hospital for Women and Children, of which she was an Honorary Consultant Surgeon for many years. During World War 1, 1914-1918, she served with the Scottish Women's Hospital at Royaumont (France). In 1921 she moved to London and later settled permanently in consulting practice in Weymouth Street. She was involved in the establishment of the Marie Curie Hospital in 1924 of which she became an Honorary Consultant Surgeon. She was active in the Medical Women's Federation of which she became President in 1931. In that year she was also appointed C.B.E. She was elected F.R.C.O.G. in 1933. She was elected president of the Medical Women's International Association in 1937 and kept the organisation going throughout the Second World War, 1939-1945, promoting its revival in 1946. She died in her London home on 5 Feb 1966, aged 93. Fuller details of her life and career can be found in her autobiography A Woman Surgeon (Victor Gollanz, 1951), and the lengthy obituaries in the Lancet and British Medical Journal.

Related material

At Wellcome Collection: a collection of Lousia Martindale's diaries and notebooks is held as MSS. 3470-3487.

Finding aids

Listed in the 'Guide to Contemporary Medical Archives in the Wellcome Library' (5th Ed. 2001).


Permanent link


Accession number

  • 58