We are passionate about growing our collection of material relating to the development of medicine and medical education in Ireland.We welcome donations of all types, from library and archive material, to medical instruments, images and ephemera.Our Collection Development Policy details the main areas we are interested in. We are happy to discuss any potential donations in confidence.If you are interested in donating to the RCPI Heritage Centre please contact us.
The strength and diversity of our collections is due to the generous donations made to RCPI throughout its history, and we are very grateful to all those who have made donations to our collections.
Here are details of some of our most recent donations.
A series of donations of Public Health related ephemera donated over the past few years, the most recent donation includes a poster for a 1926 Dublin City Public Health Week, a flyer relating to the controversial 1950s Mother and Child Scheme, and a letter from Lady Aberdeen, wife of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1905-1915).
Previous donations include a series of seven Public Health Cartoons by the artist Thomas Fitzpatrick, dating from the 1910s. You can read more about these cartoons on the Heritage Centre blog.
This material was donated in memory of Dr Matthew J Russell and Dr Angela Russell née Coyne. Dr Matthew Russell was Medical Officer for health in Dublin, and the material donated was collected by him.
Two welcome addition to our extensive archive relating to Saint Ultan's Hospital, founded by Dr Kathleen Lynn. The donations include early annual reports of the hospital and scrape book containing newspaper cuttings, flyers and other ephemera from the early years of the hospital, as well as a hospital nurses badge and cup and saucer. The material will be added to our existing holdings relating to the hospital.
These donations were received from Sé Merry Doyle (Loopline films) and Dr Pauline O'Connell.
This bomb fragment dates from 2 December 1943, when Germany launched a devastating air attack on the Italian port of Bari, sinking or damaging 40 ships. One of these, the US ship SS John Harvey, was carrying a secret cargo of mustard gas shells. Irishman Derry Clarke was aboard the supply ship, SS Director which was berthed in Bari Harbour, next to the fated vessel. A last minute move to a different part of the harbour saved the lives of Derry and his shipmates as the bombs rained down.
As a result of the attack many military personnel and civilians suffered from the effects of gas exposure, caused by the explosion of the mustard gas shells. Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Francis Alexander was dispatched to Bari and after conducting a series of tests discovered that the chemicals in the mustard gas killed white blood cells, prompting Alexander to wonder if chemicals would be useful in killing cancer cells. Based on his work, two Yale pharmacologists were hired by the military to study the use of mustard gas chemicals and developed the first chemotherapy drug, mechlorethamine to treat lymphoma.
This item was donated by Senator John Crown FRCPI.
Cork Street Fever Hospital, Dublin, was founded by public subscription in 1801, to provide medical care for the city centre ‘slum’ areas, known as the Liberties. The remit of the hospital was expanded in 1809 to cover the whole of Dublin City, and by 1813 the hospital was admitting over 2,600 patients a year. During the 19th century the hospital treated the victims of the various epidemics which hit Dublin, including typhus, small pox, scarlatina and diphtheria. However, in 1953 a new fever hospital opened at Cherry Orchard and services being transferred from Cork Street.
This collection include a complete sets of annual reports, patient registers, administrative and financial records, minutes of the board and other hospital committees including medical and fund raising committees, covering the 19th and 20th centuries. There are also a collection of photographs and ephemera from the hospitals, medical textbooks and a large collection of medical instruments.
We have received funding from the Wellcome Trust to preserve, catalogue and make this collection accessible to the public, the full list archive collections list is now available.
Harriet is Keeper of Collection and manages the RCPI Heritage Centre. Contact Harriet with any questions about the Heritage Centre, its collection and to make an appointment to visit.