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Archives

This page provides information about the archive collections held at the RCOG, and provides links to some of the fascinating stories behind items in our collections.

Archive catalogue

Details of archive collections can be found on the national database hosted by the Archives Hub website by searching for the College by repository name, or by application to the College Archivist. Please provide full details of your research when contacting the Archivist so that a full search can be completed for you and appropriate guidance given.

For policies and guidance on use of the RCOG Archive please see the RCOG Heritage blog.

Records of the RCOG

The College Archive is the custodian of the records created by the RCOG since its foundation in 1929 to the activities of the present day. These records include:

  • Material relating to the founding of the British College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • All Council and committee minutes
  • Papers, special reports, surveys and projects conducted or supported by the RCOG
  • Records of lectureships, research awards, travel grants, scientific meetings and conferences
  • Documentation of the College’s role as an advisor to external professional bodies, as well as collaboration with other medical colleges
  • Photographs of past Presidents, Fellows and Members and other eminent physicians, and of the College and its various activities
  • Scrapbooks of press cuttings relating to the College and to the specialty (1929–1987)

Special collections

The College Archive also holds donated or deposited collections of personal or private records related to the specialty. Significant collections include:

  • The personal papers of College founders, Professor William Blair-Bell and Sir William Fletcher Shaw
  • The personal papers of Fellows such as Professor Miles Harris Phillips, Professor John Chassar Moir, Sir Norman Jeffcoate, Sir Stanley Clayton, Sir Alexander Russell Simpson, Bethel Solomons, Charles Macafee and June Scudamore
  • Notes of midwifery lectures (18th and 19th century)
  • Records of the Gynaecological Visiting Society, the Women’s Visiting Gynaecological Club, the Fothergill Club, the Royal Maternity Charity and the British Lying-In Hospital (Endell Street, London)

Records of the Royal College of Midwives

The records of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are also now held at the RCOG. This collection comprises:

  • Council and committee minutes, agendas and reports
  • Correspondence and papers of the College President and the General Secretary
  • Departmental records, photographs and printed material relating to the activities of, and prominent individuals involved in, the Royal College of Midwives, as well as the campaign for the registration, training and education of midwives, pregnancy, childbirth, contraception and abortion, dating from the foundation of the organisation in 1890 (then known as the Midwives Institute) to the present day

The collection also includes deposited papers, which range from case registers, notebooks, and diaries to uniforms, badges and medical instruments of midwives who practised across the UK, providing an insight into childbirth and how the role of midwives has changed over the twentieth century.

Highlights of our collections

Our collections contain countless fascinating stories showing the development of the College, the specialty and women’s health in general. The RCOG Heritage blog publishes regular updates on treasures from the collections.

Below are links to some of the collection’s highlights:

Accessing our records

All heritage collections of the RCOG and RCM are held in the RCOG College building. Fellows, Members and researchers are all welcome to access the archive collections: these are available by prior appointment, and dependent on data protection, confidentiality and conservation considerations. For more information, please email the College Archivist or call +44 20 7772 6381.

Developing the collection

We welcome offers of material to develop the collections of both the RCOG and RCM, which relate to the history of obstetrics, gynaecology and midwifery.

Donations of material range from:

  • midwives’ case registers
  • personal papers
  • photographs
  • research work
  • midwives’ uniforms, bags and obstetric instruments.

Consideration will be given to all offers of material in accordance with the Archive Collections Development Policy.

Elsewhere on the site

History of the College
Information about the history of the RCOG and the development of the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology
About the College
Find out about the RCOG’s current work to improve women’s health care worldwide