Scope and Content
Title: Mary Agnes Burniston Brazier Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1941-1995
Collection number: 42
Creator: Brazier, M.A.B.
12.3 linear feet
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: Mary A. B. Brazier was born in England in 1904 and
died in Falmouth, MA in 1955. She received a Ph. D. in physiology and
biochemistry from the University of London in 1930, began neuroscience research
at Maudsley Hospital, London, and in 1940 came to Boston on a Rockefeller
fellowship. She remained at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard
University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for twenty years, then
moved to the Brain Research Institute at UCLA until her retirement. She was
internationally known as an outstanding neuroscientist, historian, author, and
editor. This collection consists mainly of materials pertinent to her historical
research: photocopies of texts, notes, photographs and negatives of some 500
individuals and 40 institutions important in the development of the
neurosciences; there is some emphasis on Russian neurophysiology and on
instances of early calculating machines. About a tenth of the collection
consists of professional and personal materials, mainly reprints and
foreign-language copies of her books, plus sparse biographical
Physical location: History and Special Collections Division,
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los
Language of Material: Collection materials in English, Russian,
The collection is open for research. Contact the History & Special
Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA, for
Property rights in the physical objects belong to the UCLA Biomedical
Library. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and
their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds
the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission
to publish if the Biomedical Library does not hold the copyright.
[Identification of item], Mary Agnes Burniston Brazier Papers, 42, Louise M.
Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University
of California, Los Angeles.
The materials came as gifts from Dr. Mary A. B. Brazier to the UCLA Louise M.
Darling Biomedical Library over a number of years, mainly during the span
Brain researcher, neuroscientist, electroencephalographer, historian,
computer analyst, author and editor par excellance, international organizer --
"Mollie" Brazier's career can not be summed up easily or tersely. She was a
vibrant figure in the community of those studying the electrical activity of the
nervous system, and her passing was mourned by colleagues around the world.
Dr. Brazier was born near Bristol, England in 1904 and died in Falmouth,
Massachusetts in 1995. She attended Bedford College, the University of London
(BSc, 1926, PhD in physiology and biochemistry, 1930), and then began research
at the Maudsley Hospital, London. In 1940, a Rockefeller fellowship brought her
to Boston where she remained for twenty years. Massachusetts General Hospital,
Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were her
sites of activity, and computer analysis of brain electrical activity became
increasingly the focus of her research. In 1961 she left Boston for the newly
created Brain Research Institute at UCLA, where she remained as Professor of
Anatomy, Physiology, and Biophysics until 1988.
Dr. Brazier's extensive publications cover a wide variety of topics. In
addition to the many articles on electroencephalography and its statistical
analysis, she produced important books and essays on the history of the
electrical activity of the nervous system, on Russian neurophysiology and its
history, on early calculating machines, and on individual scientists and
philosophers who caught her particular interest.
The University of London bestowed a DSc in neurophysiology on Dr. Brazier in
1960. In 1976, The University of Utrecht honored her with an MD degree. Her many
honors, awards, and positions also included serving as Secretary General of the
International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) and as president of the
American EEG Society, receiving Research Career Awards from the National
Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and the Grey Walter Medal of the
British EEG Society. Elsevier Scientific Publishers established The M. A. B.
Brazier Young Investigator Award in her honor, under the auspices of the
International Federation of Societies for Electroencephalography and Clinical
Neurophysiology. She was a member of some fifteen professional societies
Scope and Content
Although the content of this collection is wide, its scope is quite narrow:
the major portion consists of photographs and negatives of individuals and some
institutions important in the history of the neurosciences, and of materials
pertaining to these individuals, institutions, and related research topics. Such
materials include reprints and photocopies of articles by and about the target
figures, bibliographic and reading notes, bits of historical text written by Dr.
Brazier, and some correspondence supporting her historical research; they also
include numerous partial or complete translations of publications originally in
Russian or German. The individuals and topics included are largely, but not
entirely, those that Dr. Brazier included in her books and articles on the
history of neurophysiology, Russian neurophysiology, and calculating machines.
Included are materials on approximately 500 individuals and 40 institutions. A
Name Index which lists individuals represented in the collection by handwritten,
typed, or printed materials, illustrations, or correspondence, and a separate
Correspondence Index, can be queried through the UCLA Biomedical Library History
and Special Collections Division.
Professional and personal materials make up about a tenth of the collection,
and this is spotty coverage, indeed. The immense scientific output in
neurophysiology is represented by bound volumes of reprints and mostly foreign
language copies of some of her books, but there is no background material of
notes, manuscripts, or correspondence. Other than a few annual letters of
appointment and sparse activity reports, there is nothing to document the over
forty years of academic life spent by Dr. Brazier in the United States. Her
active immersion in the international brain and EEG community and her
long-lasting and important editorial involvements are also undocumented in this
collection. The great respect that her colleagues worldwide had for her does
emerge from the letters that do exist here, but even these are mostly formal and
focused on specific historical questions.
The collection is organized into the following series:
- Series 1. History of Neurophysiology and Related Sciences, to 1950. 7.8
linear ft. (18.5 document boxes)
- Series 2. History of Modern Neurophysiology, 1950-. 1.2 linear feet
- Series 3. Professional and personal materials, 1930-1993. 3.3 linear
Eighteen original photographs of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov's laboratory, given to
Dr. Brazier by Professor Kupalov, are housed as Manuscript Collection No. 19 in
the History and Special Collections Division of the UCLA Biomedical Library.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Brazier, Mary Agnes
History of Medicine
Neurosciences -- history