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B MS c113

Lennox, William Gordon, 1884- . Papers, 1926-1953: Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

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Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: B MS c113
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Lennox, William Gordon, 1884-
Title: William Gordon Lennox Papers,
Date(s): 1926-1953
Quantity: 0.8 cubic feet (2 document boxes and 1 half document box).)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The William Gordon Lennox Papers, 1926-1953, consist of Lennox's research records for his book Epilepsy and Related Disorders (1960), including research studies written by Lennox's contemporaries and translations of medieval and Renaissance texts on epilepsy. Copies of several 17th-19th century texts on epilepsy are also found in the collection; many of these texts are cited in Epilepsy and Related Disorders. The collection also includes facsimiles of Latin texts and correspondence from the Layman's League Against Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The William Gordon Lennox Papers were donated to the Boston Medical Library in 1981 by Margaret Lennox-Buchthal.

Custodial History:

Access requires advance notice. Contact the Public Services Librarian for further information.The William Lennox Gordon Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact reference staff for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Processing Information:

Processed by Kim Reynolds, December 2007.

Conditions Governing Use:

The Boston Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Public Services Librarian. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Public Services Librarian are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright. Reference Services and Access Information.

Preferred Citation:

William Gordon Lennox papers, 1926-1953. B MS c113. Boston Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Related Collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine.

Biographical Note

William Gordon Lennox (1884-1960) was Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School from 1922-1958. Lennox's research focused on epilepsy and he is credited, with Hallowell Davis and Walter Cannon, with developing the electroengephalograph in 1934.
Lennox was born in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1884. In 1909, he graduated from Colorado College hoping to become a missionary. He attended Harvard Medical School where he graduated from in 1913. After medical school, Lennox served as house officer at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1917, he joined the staff of the Peking Union Medical College and traveled to China where he witnessed first hand the amount of illness that missionaries experienced. Lennox later documented their plight in his Master's of Public Health thesis, The Health of Missionary Families in China: a Statistical Study, which he wrote in 1921 at the University of Denver. He became interested in epilepsy while in China when the reoccurring convulsions suffered by a friend's daughter brought the disorder to his attention.
When Lennox returned to the United States, he found that little research was available on the clinical or sociological aspects of epilepsy; consequently, he devoted his career to discovering its cause and developing a treatment for the condition. Lennox joined Stanley Cobb at Harvard Medical School in 1922 where he studied the glucose metabolism of epileptics. In 1934, Lennox began investigating electrical brain waves, and with the assistance of Hallowell Davis and Walter Cannon, he developed the electroengephalograph, a tool that is used to detect problems in the electrical activity of the brain. His study of the brain waves of twins led him to establish the Seizure Unit at Children's Hospital in 1947, which specialized in diagnostic and research training. His other contributions were in proving the effect of the drug Dilantin on seizures, genetics, and his involvement in the organization of the American Epilepsy League and the Committee for Public Understanding of Epilepsy. In addition, Lennox was the president of the International Epilepsy League from 1938-1939 and served on the medical advisory board of the National Epilepsy League, Inc.
Throughout his career, Lennox published 293 papers, many of which were written collaboratively with other clinicians including Frederick Gibbs, Edna Leonard Gibbs, and Stanley Cobb. He also published three books, Epilepsy from the Standpoint of Physiology and Treatment, (1928) and Science and Seizures, (1941). In 1960, after years of collaboration with his daughter, Margaret Lennox Buchthal, Lennox published Epilepsy and Related Disorders, which was considered the standard study on epilepsy.

Series in the Collection

Scope and Content Note

The William Gordon Lennox Papers, 1926-1953, consist of Lennox's research records for his book Epilepsy and Related Disorders (1960), including translations of studies written by his contemporaries and translations of medieval and Renaissance texts written by physicians on epilepsy. Copies of several 17th-19th century texts about epilepsy are also found in the collection. Many of these texts are cited in the book Epilepsy and Related Disorders. The collection contains translations of manuscripts written by Karl H. Stauder, Martha Ulrich, Felix Frisch, and Klaus Conrad who were contemporaries of Lennox. Also included are English translations of Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish medieval and Renaissance texts including Rosa anglica, (1492), by Johannes De Gaddesden, Medico-Moral Account of the Most Painful and Rigorous Illness of Epilepsy (1765), by Pedro La Horta, Sialology: a Historical Medical Consideration of Human Saliva . . .(1725), by Martin Schurigius, and Concerning Epilepsy or Falling Sickness in General; and Especially Concerning Those Diseases, Which are Conditioned by Moral Causes ,(1799), by J. L. Doussin-Dubreuil. Additional 17th-19th century English texts on epilepsy are in the collection. Limited records, including slight correspondence, record Lennox's involvement with organizations such as the Laymen's League Against Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy. Also found in the collection are correspondence, facsimiles of Latin texts, and brief biographies of physicians including Bernard de Gordon, John G. Gaddensden (Johannes Anglicus), and Hugo Benzi.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Lennox, William Gordon, 1884-

med00105