A large quantity of material, mainly letters, from the personal papers of Lionel Norbury and Family

[Lionel Norbury (1882-1967), OBE, FRCS, consulting surgeon, holder of the Hunterian Professorship in 1941, and Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England]
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SKU: 10487

A large quantity of material, mainly letters, from the personal papers of Lionel Norbury and Family, including a substantial correspondence between Norbury and his wife, Grace (nee Rogerson), who worked as a Nurse, their correspondence throwing light on medical activity during the First World War and later. It also includes a large body of letters of condolences to Grace on the death of Lionel from Medics and Civvy Street, many of which go beyond the conventional statements; some general correspondence; and some interesting pieces of manuscript and printed ephemera with a medical drift.[Lionel Norbury] 23 Substantial Autograph Letters Signed (two incomplete) to his wife (some future wife), Grace, daughter of Dr. C.J. Rogerson, 2-12pp., 8vo, 1914-1931 (mainly 1914, 1919, 1922, one or two at other years), from Wimpole Street and Harley Street, representing an active correspondence during courtship and periods of separation, both involved in the medical world (she was a nurse at UCH for a time), both eventually using nicknames (Grace is used alongside "Volcano", later "Mehalah" (after the fictional character of Baring-Gould's novel and/or simply as a resonant name); Lionel becomes "Peter" for reasons I could only speculate on, sometimes called 'Iceberg'). Subjects; [1914] meetings; presents; reports on patients and surgeries; how to mesh their hospital schedules; the sadness connected to a nurse's duty (different for a surgeon - he explains); love; entertainment in London (the band at White City - and other simple and cheap pleasures); career moves (her hoping to change to his hospital, him eventually going to Netley "an additional hospital of 5000 beds", involving a uniform [presumably a response to War](another part-letter discusses his being Medical Officer and establishing a temporary hospital in a large hall, and another chronicles his efforts to get her a job with his unit of the VAD at the Mildmay, another his application for service with the "Artists Territorials" and adaptation of places for hospitals in London (eg. Clubs and "The Guildhall is to be turned into a hospital" plus other information about preparations for War casualties); family news; optimism about the War (10 Sept.: things seem very good at present in France ..."); other War news including Navy (a friend's capture of a collier) and including rumours (70,000 Russian troops now with Belgians, 14 Sept.); personal medical problems; his interview with Sir Frederick Treves at the British Red Cross, and other successful errands there for Netley's benefit; a weak medical joke about standing on legs; whether she should learn to be a dispenser (from someone at the Mildmay where he does some work); [1918] Now his wife; report on a patient; [1919] patient; home life with babies; schedule; Empire-Day - nurses selling flags for hospitals; operated for tonsils; "Private-work has been slack this week"; Military Tournament; an improving patient at Isleworth; refers to other medics (eg Gladstone); morning at the Royal Free & St Thomas's, then Hertford; asked to operate on Miss Laughton.[Grace Norbury, née Rogerson, wife of Lionel] 50+ Chatty and jokey Autograph Letters Signed (variously, Grace, Volcano, Mehalah, etc.) to Lionel E.C. Norbury (Lionel, Peter, Iceberg etc), 1-10pp., various formats, most undated, but 1914-1931 (presumably concentration as above). Subjects (image of above): day-to-day life, little about nursing; frequent expressions of love; activities in his absence; wish to move from UCH; hospital activities; arrival of wounded - none to her section; a patient she liked dies after operation - details of person and circumstances; social life; travelling; family. With: 131 letters, all but five of which are in manuscript. The greater part addressed to Norbury's widow Grace shortly after his death. The correspondence is in good condition, with all items clear and complete. In a variety of formats from 4to downwards.An interesting correspondence, casting light on the social networks of the medical profession in mid-twentieth-century England, and demonstrating the real affection in which Norbury - according to one colleague not only 'an immensely distinguished surgeon but also a most charming man who created affection wherever he went' - was held. There is no hint that the correspondents are merely going through the motions: the letters are heartfelt and often contain reminiscence. The 'formal resolution of condolence' passed by the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons (see Johnson-Gilbert, Section A, below) gives some details of his activities. (He was a Member of the Council, 1938-1953, and Vice-President,1947-1949.) For more information about Norbury, who held a Hunterian Professorship in 1941, see his obituary in The Times, 1 November 1967.A. Letters of condolence on Royal College of Surgeons letterheads:Anonymous original manuscript poem (16 lines), titled 'L. E. C. N.' (Norbury's initials) and beginning 'Farewell good friend your passing leaves a void'. On letterhead of the Trustees of the Hunterian Collection, Royal College of Surgeons of England.Sir Hedley John Barnard Atkins (1905-1983), President. 'Lionel was such a special friend and occupied such a special place in our hearts.'R. S. Johnson Gilbert, Secretary. Letter of 14 November 1967, enclosing 'a copy of the formal resolution of condolence that was passed by Council at its meeting on 9th November'. Warm condolences, 'for myself and on behalf of your husband's many friends on the staff of the College'. The resolution (12 lines) on a separate 4to leaf, praises Norbury's 'rare degree of judgment, balance and concern for the highest ideals of his profession', as well as 'the charm and sincerity of his personality'.William Le Fanu, Librarian. 'Mr Norbury has been such a genial friend to me, [...] We have missed his cheerful greeting on his frequent visits, and many a pleasant chat over lunch or when he came to read or write in the Library [...] he was uniquely loved by all who knew him'.B. Letters of condolence from Harley St:Victor Goldman (1903-1993), FFARCS, anaesthetist. Norbury was 'a great help to me when I struggled on as anaesthetic Registrar at the Royal Free'. Recounts 'two great moments in my professional life and they both concern Lionel Norbury'.Edward Thomas Campbell Milligan (1886-1972), surgeon (2). The first, written before Norbury's death, discusses the pain of his final illness in the light of 'a place where human suffering gets beyond human explanation and relief'.Sir Clifford Naunton Morgan (1901-1986), surgeon. Norbury was 'a great man & surgeon', and he helped Morgan and 'guided me throughout my surgical career'.Dr Donald Craig Norris (1893-1968) of Portland Place, President of the Hunterian Society, 1937-8. Reminiscing about Norbury, whose chief 'characteristic' was his 'charm of manner'.Sir Henry Osmond-Clarke (1905-1986), KCVO, CBE, FRCS Orthopaedic Surgeon to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Consulting Orthopaedic Surgeon, The London Hospital. Norbury was 'a wonderful man in every possible respect both professionally and socially'.Geoffrey Edward Parker, FRCS (1902-1974).Dr Seymour Cochrane Shanks (1893-1980) of Wimpole St. Always grateful to Norbury 'for his kindness to me when I was under his care during the war'.Dr Peter SmithNorman C. Tanner (1906-1982), gastric surgeon, Senior Assistant Medical Officer, Highgate HospitalC. Miscellaneous letters of condolence from medical men:Muriel Abbot-Anderson, wife of Sir Maurice Abbot-Anderson (1861-1938), Physician to the Princess Royal. 'My husband thought there was "no one to touch him" in surgery, & my little mother always called him "dear Mr. Norbury of the velvet hands"!'Norman Ainsworth.Montgomery Anderson of Hampstead. 'What a loss of a great man. [...] From the first day I met Norbury I admired & respected him. He was great in my eyes & what he did for me is beyond price. To come up to Hampstead on a Sunday morning, to take Jean to Hospital & operate was something I've never forgotten.'Denis Lumb Broadhead (1916-1977), physician.Sir Vincent Zachary Cope (1881-1974), physician. 'I am sorrow-stricken at the loss of a dearly loved friend'.Dr Cuthbert Esquire Dukes (1890-1977), physician and pathologist. Reminiscing about 'the first time I met him - [...] more than 40 years ago'.William Bashall Gabriel (1893-1975), FRCS. 'I still have a very clear memory of a few months probably in 1920 or 1921 soon after I was appointed to the Staff of St Mark's, when I used to meet you and your 3 little daughters in Harley St on their way to school or for a walk in Regent's Park.'Dr Elston Grey-Turner (1917-1984), Vice-President, British Medical Association. 'He was not only an immensely distinguished surgeon but also a most charming man who created affection wherever he went.'Douglas Johnson (1904-1991), surgeon and founder and first General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship (2). Both letters dated 7 November 1967, the first a lengthy 'official' one on CMF letterhead ('It was good to see all the eminent Surgeons who had come through the torrential rain to Cowden Church last Saturday.'), and the second 'Confidential', a 'personal note' recounting a 'little incident (which speaks volumes about your late husband)' which 'does not quite fit with the official letter'.Kay Lewis, The Royal Free Hospital.Gavin Livingstone (1905-1969), MA, MB, BS, FRCS Surgeon to the Department of Otolaryngology, United Oxford Hospitals. 'I look back at my career and remember the help and advice I received with gratitude. If anyone gave his all to Surgery Lionel did'.Dr Katharine Lloyd Williams (1896-1973), Dean of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and Honorary Anaesthetist to the Royal Free Hospital.Sir Arthur Salusbury MacNalty (1880-1969), Chief Medical Officer of Britain's Ministry of Health and Board of Education. 'Your husband and I have been friends for many years - ever since 1911 when my brother-in-law, Owen de Wenslow, introduced us to each other at the St. Thomas's Hospital Dance [...] He has left us, after a career full of great distinctions and high achievement.'Sir Victor Ewings Negus (1887-1974), laryngologist. 'Lionel was in our opinion and that of all his friends the kindest man possible [...] we made it a habit to walk in together when there was a procession'.Sir Harry Platt (1886-1986), orthopaedic surgeon.Sir Eric William Riches (1897-1987), urological surgeon. 'I have his letter, written only three weeks ago, about David Denton; it showed that charm and courtesy with which I shall always associate him. | I cannot ever forget that he came to hear my Gordon-Taylor lecture only a few months ago and how honoured I felt at his presence.'Sir Thomas Holmes Sellors (1902-1987), cardiothoracic surgeon. 'I was extremely distressed [...] Lionel was one of the most loved people of our College - admired & respected by all for his past achievements & welcomed everywhere for his extreme courtesy & real kindness'.Peter Warren, Torquay. 'It is about 35 years since you gave me so many wonderful days during my student years, and I have never forgotten those warm friendly gatherings at Cowden & in London. | I often think back to the lovely times you created, and have frequently wished I cd. have achieved the calibre to create more.'Alec Weston, Holmesdale House, Brasted, Kent. 'Once more I must repeat how grateful I was to your Peter for joining me at the B.C.S. when my little Peter gave his talk. [...] owing to his own modesty - I had no knowledge of how distinguished a connection your Peter had with the Hunterian Society. | The tribute to him in the BMA was the most beautiful tribute I have ever read in that journal.'4. Miscellaneous general letters of condolence:A further 85 letters of condolence to Mrs Norbury, from 1967 and 1968, in a variety of formats and all but one in autograph. Only a handful are brief; all are warm and affectionate, with some containing reminiscences. (Charles Gibson, in the only typewritten letter, writes: 'I remember your husband taking me out to see his fiancee when we were at Netley together. How much I must have been in the way!') Among the family membes and friends who sign with only their Christian names, writers include Reverend F. J. Dove, John [B. Pope], Sheila Barbour, Ethel Graves, Hubert Fuller, Ruby S. Tomlinson, Louis H. Dale, Dorothy Earnshaw-Smith, Minnie G. Upfield, Evelyn R. Cook, Florence M. Wallace, Sylvia M. Spink, Muriel Wakeley, Janet M. Williamson, W G Woolrich, Gwendoline Smith, Mary Rowlatt, Jean Badenoch, Harold W. Adeney, Castle Brown.5. General correspondence to Mrs Norbury:Donald Kennedy Cassels, Secretary, Royal College of Surgeons of England. Dated 19 December 1944. Enclosing a receipt 'for £75 which you left for the President to-day'., Royal Free London Hospital. Dated 4 October 1948. Thanking the Norburys for 'the Prize-Giving': 'I am receiving congratulations on all sides and they are really due to you both not to me. I just sat back and enjoyed myself thoroughly, devoutly thanking my lucky stars I did not fall into any surgeon's hands twenty years or so ago!'George Stead of the London Hospital, Whitechapel. Dated 7 April 1936, and expressing condolences on the death of Dr Rogerson. "G. T." [?] of 102 Harley St. The first letter from 1959, expressing pleasure at Norbury's receiving 'those cuff-links from the College Club yesterday; the second enclosing a passage of verse.Correspondence in response to Norbury's Hunterian Oration, "The Hunterian Era" (1953) by mainly medical figures who have been sent a signed copy, usually including other medical subjects, TOTAL 22 letters, correspondents including Geoffrey Keynes (also updating Norbury on the cleaning of 'Hunterian pictures', Dr E.P. Pratt, Russell Brock, Max Page, Sir Clement Price Thomas,R. Scott Mason, [J?] A Gates (aslso asking who used to throw his instruments about at "Thomas's - not Clutton or Max[?]", David Minton,H. Oswald Smith, W. Harwood Carlisle, Rodney Maingot, Also included are a further eight miscellaneous items of correspondence, including two notes from Norbury to his wife (signed with his nickname 'Peter'), and two letters of condolence to Mrs Rogerson on the death in 1936 of Dr Rogerson, one signed 'A grateful panel patient'. And a very large quantity of letters from their daughter.Printed & MS. Ephemera:i. Programme for the Royal Free Hospital "Students' Annual Topical" (1921).ii. Appointment of Norbury as Life Governor of the Royal Free Hospital (1929)iii. Norbury's "Medical Student's Registration Certificate (1899)iv. Royal College of Surgeons Invitation to Norbury's Bradshaw Lecture (1948).v. Royal College of Surgeons Hunterianm Festival Programme (1953), signed by Norbury (= orator).vi. L.E.C. Norbury, 'The Times of John Hunter' (Hunterian Society Oration, 1955)vii. Standard letter of thanks by W.R. Le Fanu, Librarian, RCS, for Norbury's donation of Hunterian Oration, 'The Hunterian Era' (1953).viii. Verses addressed to Captain L.E.C. Norbury RAMC from a grateful patient extolling his virtues.ix. Handwritten instructions for a game on North London or University College Hospital notepaper: "Great Team Contest!! | Teams of five dressers to form in line in the anaesthetic room from H.S. two paces. Surgeon 2 paces in front | At a signal given by the patient team ...."x. Norbury's Passport; programme for funeralxi. Hunterian Society ephemeraxii. Wedding photo with Norbury and wife in background. Three other photos of Norburyxiii. Letters from Grace's father (Dr C.J. Rogerson) and mother xiv. Letters of condolence on the death of Dr C.J. Rogerson.