Swan Papers

Ref: MS 185

Title: Swan Papers

Papers on the history of the clinical use of penicillin, 1945-1996, with particular reference to its early use in Sheffield, and to the reputation of Sir Alexander Fleming, assembled by Dr Harold T. Swan

Dates: 1945-1996, mainly 1986-1996
Level: Fonds
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator: Swan, Harold Thomas

Administrative / biographical history:

The collection consists of correspondence and other documents assembled by Harold Thomas Swan, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, Honorary Lecturer in Medical History, University of Sheffield, and formerly Consultant in Haematology, United Sheffield Hospitals, and relates principally to the history of two medical scientists: Sir Alexander Fleming, who published his discovery of penicillin in 1929 but who has been subsequently criticised for an apparent failure to pursue its clinical potential, criticism repeated in a BBC Horizon programme in 1989; and Dr Cecil George Paine, a junior Clinical Pathologist at the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield in 1929-30, for whose clinical work in the successful treatment of infections by penicillin there exists the earliest known documentation of such treatment. The material is mainly in the form of correspondence between Dr Swan and individuals who worked with or knew Fleming and / or Paine. Many of the documents in the Fleming Material (Section 185/3 in the list) are copies, the originals of which are held in the British Library Department of Manuscripts. Further information on specific areas of the documentation is given in the finding aid.

  • Related collections: None
  • Source: Donated 1997
  • System of arrangement: By category
  • Subjects: Hospitals - Great Britain - Sheffield; Medicine - Great Britain - History; Penicillin
  • Names: Fleming, Sir, Alexander, 1881-1955; Paine, Cecil George; Royal Infirmary, Sheffield; St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, London
  • Conditions of access: Available to all researchers, by appointment
  • Restrictions: Access to certain files is restricted
  • Copyright: According to document
  • Finding aids: Listed
  • Location of originals: The originals of many of the documents in the Fleming Material (Section 185/3) are held in the British Library Department of Manuscripts, to whom application to make quotations should be made.