Scope and Content
Title: Charles Donald O'Malley Papers.,
Date (inclusive): 1847-1983
Collection number: 56
Creator: O'Malley, Charles
Extent: 33 linear ft. (28
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: The collection contains O'Malley's research
materials, documents pertaining to his professional and academic life,
correspondence, and some personal items. Included are reproductions,
translations and transcriptions of source texts; reprints; illustrations
and portraits; notes, bibliographies, catalogs, etc.
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice
is required for access to the collection. Please contact Louise M. Darling
Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division for paging
Charles Donald O'Malley was often referred to as the leading authority
on Renaissance anatomy, especially on the life and work of Andreas
Vesalius. But beyond his interest in Vesalius, which dated to before his
career officially began, the breadth of subjects in his numerous
publications marked him as one of the leading medical historians of his
time. He was internationally rewarded with a long list of honorary
appointments, awards, prizes, invitational lectureships and offices, and
was sincerely mourned in the many obituaries and tributes included in
these papers. (Obituary and complete bibliography in: "Medicine in
Seventeenth Century England," ed. by Allen G. Debus, Univ. of California
Press, 1974. Also see: "Bull. Hist. Med.", 44(5): 477-481, 1970; "Times
(London)", April 28, 1970 and many others.)
C.D. O'Malley was born in Alameda, California (1907). He gained his B.
A. at Stanford University in slightly over three years and his M. A. in
only three additional quarters. His Ph. D. studies at Stanford were
interrupted for a number of years, but the degree was granted in 1945; by
1951 he was a full professor in the Stanford University Department of
History. Although his dissertation had nothing to do with medical history,
the field drew him through various influences: first, his wife, Frances
Keddie, was a research-oriented physician working with John B. de C. M.
Saunders, a professor of both anatomy and medical history, who became
O'Malley's mentor and early co-author; second, in the interval between his
split doctoral studies O'Malley had browsed through the rich materials in
San Francisco's Sutro Library and had been especially drawn to various
medical topics; and lastly, the character of the early anatomist Vesalius
attracted and fascinated him. O'Malley was an excellent Latinist and a
graceful and fluent writer in English, and his translations and other
publications were well received by scholars.
After a year as visiting professor at the University of California, Los
Angeles he began his permanent tenure at UCLA in 1960 as Professor of
Medical History. He headed the Division, and later the Department, of
Medical History until his sudden death in 1970. During those ten years he
published a definitive and widely heralded biography of Vesalius, traveled
and lectured widely, received many prestigious prizes, held office in the
major professional societies in his field, and mentored a remarkable
number of graduate and postdoctoral students in medical history. He
corresponded widely with many of the major medical historians in Europe
and the United States.
Scope and Content
The major portion of the collection consists of research materials:
several hundred reprints starting at mid-19th century and continuing
through the 1960s; reproductions of source texts; translations and
transcriptions of source texts; extensive materials used in the
preparation of O'Malley's books on Vesalius, Leonardo da Vinci, the brain
& spinal cord; and many portraits of historical figures, plus
various other illustrations, notes, bibliographies, catalogs, etc.
O'Malley's professional and academic activities are represented by
drafts of some of his lectures and articles and most of his article
reprints. Particularly interesting is his extensive correspondence with
the major medical historians of the fifties and sixties: figures of a
stature such as John F. Fulton, Noël Poynter, Charles Singer and
many others. Additional correspondence and documentation illuminates the
activities of professional societies such as the History of Science
Society and the International Academy of the History of Medicine,
especially during the mid- and later sixties.
The strictly personal portion of the collection is small in size. It
contains memorials and tributes and moving letters of condolence to his
wife. Many of his professional colleagues were personal friends of the
O'Malleys, and friends who were not medical historians are also
represented in the correspondence, such as William Ready and Reinhard
Related Collections: The History & Special Collections Division
of the UCLA Biomedical Library also holds 194 35 mm slides from Dr.
O'Malley's files, on a wide variety of medical & scientific
personages and topics. This uncataloged collection is available for
viewing in the library.
Abbreviations Used in Container List: Acad.= Academy; bull.=bulletin;
CDO'M=Charles Donald O'Malley; cent.=century; FK=Frances Keddie, M.D.
(Mrs. O'Malley); hist.=history; IBRO=International Brain Research
Organization; int.=international; IUHPS=International Union of the History
& Philosophy of Science; ms.=manuscript; NAS=National Academy of
Sciences; NIH=National Institutes of Health; NRC=National Research
Council; re.=regarding; UCLA=University of California, Los Angeles;
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Vesalius, Andreas, 1514-1564
Fulton, John F. |(John
Poynter, F. N. L.
(Frederick Noël Lawrence)