This sporting life

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By | From the Collections

Archives and Manuscripts has recently added to its holdings the records of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM), founded as the British Association of Sport and Medicine in 1953 to constitute an authoritative body on every medical aspect of athletics and exercise. The records cover the years 1952 to 2003 and document the work of the association: they consist of minutes of the Executive, AGMs and Council meetings; executive correspondence; conference programmes; as well as personal papers collected by BASM officers. There is also a section on the National Sports Medicine Institute (NSMI), an organisation established to co-ordinate all organisations with an interest in sports medicine, which provided financial and administrative assistance for the running of BASEM Education courses. This collection is now catalogued. The catalogue can be consulted via the Archives and Manuscripts online catalogue, and the collection is available subject to the usual conditions of access.

This has provided the stimulus for the production of a new A&M sources guide on Exercise, Fitness and Sport, a subject on which we hold material going back as far as recommendations on remedial exercises made by the famous Greek physician of the Roman Empire, Galen.

Particular strengths of our holdings in this area include material on the development of Swedish gymnastics, in the papers of Edgar Cyriax himself and the other manuscript items on the subject which he collected and which were presented to the Royal Society of Medicine on his death in 1955, from whom they were subsequently purchased by the Wellcome. An article on the Cyriax collection, which included a substantial amount of printed material, and the history of medical gymnastics more generally, by the former Assistant Curator of Early Printed Books, Sarah Bakewell, appeared in Medical History 1997 Vol 41.

The archives of the Wellcome Foundation pharmaceutical company include substantial amounts of material on sport and other recreational activities of the staff. We also hold the papers of Sir Ludwig Guttman, pioneer of sports for the disabled and founder of the Paralympic Games.

Lesley Hall

Lesley Hall

Lesley Hall, FRHistS, PhD, DipAA, has been an archivist at the Wellcome since 1979. She has published extensively on the history of sexuality and gender in Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, given many talks and conference presentations, and featured on radio and television. Further details can be found at her website.

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