Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Leo Eloesser Papers
Collection number: 2003C44
50 boxes, 1 oversize folder, 2 art works
(30.5 linear feet)
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Memoirs and other writings, correspondence, reports, clippings, other printed matter, photographs, motion picture film, memorabilia,
and miscellany, relating to international medical aid to Spain during the Spanish Civil War, international medical aid to
China during the Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War, and medical practice in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere.
Includes some papers of Joyce Campbell, companion of Leo Eloesser.
Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research. Access to audiovisual materials requires at least two weeks advance notice. Audiovisual materials
include sound recordings, video recordings, and motion picture film. Hoover staff will determine whether use copies of the
materials requested can be made available. Some materials may not be accessible even with advance notice. Please contact the
Hoover Institution Archives Audiovisual Specialist for further information.
One amateur painting, China, undated, restricted due to extremely fragile condition.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Leo Eloesser Papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution
Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2003.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes
listed in this finding aid.
||Works as a U.S. Army surgeon at Letterman Hospital, San Francisco
||Returns to City and County Hospital of San Francisco
||Studies advanced medicine in Germany and Austria
||Visits Japan and the Soviet Union
||Works as a medical volunteer on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War
||Travels in Latin America, giving lectures and attending conferences in Argentine, Chile, and Cuba
||Works as a doctor in China for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF), training medical personnel
||Meets Joyce Campbell, and moves with her to Mexico, establishing a ranch near Tacámbaro, Michoacán
||Travels extensively and is involved in the promotion of rural health care programs in underdeveloped countries. Writes and
lectures on the treatment of tuberculosis
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, a training manual for rural midwives
||Visits the People's Republic of China and meets with medical colleagues
||Joyce Campbell dies
Scope and Content of Collection
The Leo Eloesser papers in the Hoover Institution Archives document the life and work of a medical pioneer with strong ties
to both Stanford and San Francisco, and of a man who also gained recognition for his humanitarian efforts around the world.
Additionally, the papers contain substantial materials relating to the life of Eloesser's companion, Joyce Campbell, and to
Eloesser and Campbell's years together in Mexico.
Leo Eloesser trained as a physician specializing in thoracic surgery in both the United States and Europe, and gained experience
in the treatment of war casualties during World War I. He later became a prominent expert in the treatment and prevention
of tuberculosis. Eloesser published many writings on a wide variety of medical subjects, and these can be found in the Speeches
and Writings series of the papers.
In 1937, Eloesser volunteered his services as a doctor on behalf of Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War, and he
was present on the Teruel front during heavy fighting there in 1938. While in Spain, Eloesser wrote several articles for American
publications describing his experiences, and these and other related documents are contained in the Medical Bureau to Aid
Spanish Democracy the papers.
Following World War II, Eloesser became involved in medical relief work conducted in China by the United Nations Relief and
Rehabilitation Administration and, subsequently, the United Nations Children's Fund. In the midst of the civil war between
Communist and Nationalist forces, Eloesser instructed medical personnel in first aid, midwifery, and general health care.
Eloesser's correspondence and reports from this period, along with instructional materials used in his training courses, can
be found in the UNRRA/UNICEF file in the papers.
From his work in China, Eloesser became interested in devising basic medical programs to help the rural poor in underdeveloped
countries. He published a textbook for rural midwives in 1955, and throughout the 1950s and 1960s was active in the fight
against tuberculosis in Latin America.
Eloesser spent the latter part of his life on a ranch in Mexico, which he ran with Joyce Campbell. This period is extensively
documented in the Correspondence series, especially in Eloesser's many letters to Campbell. Joyce Campbell's life is recorded
in the Joyce Campbell Series, which includes her correspondence with Eloesser and many other individuals.
The papers contain an extensive Photographs series, with numerous prints dating from Eloesser's time in China, and others
dating from his many working visits to countries besides China. These prints often depict Eloesser in the company of his medical
Among Eloesser's friends were prominent artists, including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and the American sculptor Ralph Stackpole.
In the Photographs series of the papers there are numerous prints depicting Diego Rivera murals, and there are clippings about
Rivera's life in the Subject File of the papers. The Subject File also contains important materials relating to the case of
Tom Mooney, a political cause célèbre of the American left before World War II. These materials include the autopsy report
on Mooney prepared by Eloesser.
On his many travels, Eloesser collected examples of local art and literature, and there are important works of art from Latin
America and China in the papers. The Printed Matter series includes a collection of Brazilian chapbooks with woodcut illustrations;
the Oversize Materials series contains numerous Chinese art works and several important paintings from Latin American artists.
The collection is organized into fourteen series: Biographical File, Correspondence, Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy
File, UNRRA/UNICEF File, Joyce Campbell Series, Subject File, Photographs, Motion Pictures, Art Works, Printed Matter, and
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Spain--History--Civil War, 1936-1939.
Sino-Japanese Conflict, 1937-1945.
China--History--Civil War, 1945-1949.