Scope and Content
Title: Adrian C. Kanaar, M.D. Papers
Date (inclusive): 1940-2001
Collection number: 106
Creator: Kanaar, Adrian Charles 1904-2001
Extent: 2 boxes (1.0 linear ft.)
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: Dr. Kanaar was a British-born and -trained surgeon who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War II, in France
and Belgium up to the retreat at Dunkirk, in various battlefield locations after D-day, and in Berlin during the occupation.
This collection focuses mostly on his non-medical writings, namely descriptions of his war experiences in Europe and of
the conditions he observed there. Included are several typescripts of two unpublished books: 1. "War-time reflections by
a British Army surgeon", which was based partly on a series of talks given by Capt. Kanaar during three months spent in
the United States while on special leave; 2. "The Sign of the Hammer and Sickle " which is also partly based on wartime experiences;
3. typescripts of a number of published and unpublished essays, articles, and letters to newspapers. The bulk of the collection
dates to 1940-1948.
Physical location: Southern Regional Library Facility
Language of Material: Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research.
Property rights to the physical objects belong to the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, History & Special Collections
for the Sciences. 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 where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
[Identification of item], Adrian C. Kanaar, M.D. Papers., 106, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections
for the Sciences , University of California, Los Angeles.
The collection was a gift from Dr. Margaret H. Jones-Kanaar to the UCLA Biomedical Library.
Adrian C. Kanaar, MD, MRCP (London), FRCS (Edinburgh) (1911-1993) qualified M.B. at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, in
1934, received a B.S. from London University in 1936, had surgical training at Edinburgh University, and was awarded the
M.D. from the British Postgraduate Medical School in 1939. That year he was called to active service with the Royal Army
Medical Corps and was active in France and Belgium through the retreat at Dunkirk; he returned to the Continent after D-Day
and served in various stations, including occupied Berlin. On special leave in 1942 in the U.S., Captain Kanaar began a series
of talks about his war experiences, wanting to foster Anglo-American cooperation and to clear up what he felt were misconceptions
about the war and about the British. These talks evolved into some of the manuscript chapters included in this collection.
His experiences in Germany after the war's end, and especially his impressions of the administration in the Russian zone,
are described in the second major manuscript in this collection, and in many of the shorter pieces.
In 1948 Dr. Kanaar had the honor of presenting a Hunterian lecture to the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Shortly thereafter
he and his wife and son emigrated to Eastern Canada where he practiced orthopedic surgery and physical medicine. In 1959
he moved to Buffalo, NY, to become Director of Physical Medicine, Department of Public Health, and Associate Professor at
the University of Buffalo Medical School. In 1964, the year he became a US citizen, the family moved to Poughkeepsie, NY,
where he maintained a private practice in physical medicine and rehabilitation until his retirement in 1984. He was active
in and cited for community leadership in physical fitness, and was a member of the American College of Sports Medicine.
He published widely in the fields of rehabilitation and fitness, and practiced what he preached: as a young man he made
two attempts to swim the English Channel, coming within a mile and a half of his goal; at age 74, he swam the 28.5 miles
around New York City's Manhattan Island. He stated that the Channel swims were motivated by the wish to demonstrate that
a dedicated Christian could also be an athlete and a strong individual.
After the death of his wife of 47 years, Dr. Kanaar retired and moved to Pacific Palisades, California. There he met and
married Margaret H. [Holden] Jones, MD in 1989.
Scope and Content
The collection focuses mainly on Dr. Kanaar's non-medical writings for 1940-1948, namely accounts of his experiences and
observations in Europe during World War II and the subsequent occupation of Germany. There are various typescripts of two
unpublished works, "United we stand: war-time reflections of a British Army surgeon", covering his service from the war's
beginning through the evacuation from Dunkirk; and "The sign of the Hammer and Sickle", focusing more on the time of the
occupation. Also included are a number of published and unpublished commentaries, letters to newspapers, and articles by
The collection is organized into the following series:
- Series 1. Professional Activities. 3 folders
- Series 2. Personal Beliefs and Accounts. 12 folders
- Series 4. Personal Information. 4 folders
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Jones, Margaret Holden, 1904-2001.
Kanaar, Adrian Charles -- Manuscripts.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, English.