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Photograph of Colonel L W Harrison in 1913

Col L W Harrison in 1913

Recently received, and now catalogued and available, in Archives and Manuscripts, are the archives of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, which has also given us books from its library collection. This adds significantly to our existing archival and manuscript holdings on sexually transmitted infections since the fifteenth century. It also complements other Library holdings such as the AIDs posters collection and substantial ephemera, as well as printed books on the subject going back to the sixteenth century

BASHH was formed in 2003 by the amalgamation of the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases, founded in 1922 by a group of specialists including Col L W Harrison, and the Association for Genito-Urinary Medicine, founded in 1993, and the new title reflects the changing concerns within the field over the past 90 years. The archive consists of the records of the MSSVD and some of BASHH.

The MSSVD records have a number of gaps, in particular there are no minutes earlier than 1938, and relatively little before the 1950s. However, an account of the society’s history up to 1952 by Col Harrison was published in the British Journal of Venereal Disease Vol 36, in 1961. The Society’s activities during its earlier decades can also be traced via the British Journal of Venereal Diseases (now available electronically via PubMed) which was published by the Society and continues in existence: having previously changed its name to Genitourinary Medicine, it is now known as Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The next Library Insights presentation, on 4th April, will be on Sex and the City: The STDs of Olde London

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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