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Papers of Professor Ian Donald (1910–1987), British physician

Compiled by Alistair Tough, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archivist, 2005.
GB 812 HB 110.
Papers of Professor Ian Donald (1910–1987), British physician.
Dates of Creation:
3.00 metres.
Some material unfit for copying, otherwise no restrictions.
Held at:
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives.
Name of Creator:
Donald, Professor Ian (1910–1987, British physician).
Language of Material:
Level of Description:
  • No amendments to date
First edition.

Administrative/Biographical History

Ian Donald was born in Cornwall on 27 December 1910. He was educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh and the Diocesan College, Rondebosch, South Africa. He entered the University of Cape Town aged 16 and graduated with a first class BA. He studied medicine at St Thomas’s Medical School in London, graduating in 1937. In the same year he married Alix Richards whom he had first met in South Africa. They had four daughters. During the Second World War he served as a medical officer with Coastal Command of the RAF and was awarded the MBE. After demobilisation, he held positions at the Chelsea Hospital for Women and at St Thomas’s Hospital.

In 1952 he became Reader in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Hammersmith Hospital. Between 1954 and 1976 Donald held the Regius Chair of Midwifery in Glasgow. As Professor of Midwifery he secured the construction of the Queen Mother’s Hospital which opened in 1964. He is best known for his pioneering work on ultrasound. This began in 1955 with the support of Babcock & Wilcox, boilermakers, who allowed him to experiment with industrial ultrasound equipment. Preliminary findings were published in 1958.

Thereafter he was much in demand as a conference speaker and guest lecturer. He was also an outspoken spokesman for the Pro–Life cause. Towards the end of his life, he undertook research on the electronic detection of the pre–ovulatory state in women, in the hope of making natural family planning possible. He had a long term heart condition and underwent major surgery in 1961, 1969 and 1975. Professor and Mrs Donald retired to Essex. He died of cardiac failure on 19th June 1987.

Scope and Content

  • Biographical and personal material, 1938–1994
  • Correspondence filed alphabetically, some of it Mrs Donald’s, 1963–2000
  • Files relating to conferences and publications, 1952–1985
  • Lecture notes, 1956–1983
  • Miscellaneous, 1958–1988
  • Mrs Donald’s files, 1973–1990
  • Subject files, 1958–1988
System of Arrangement:
Chronological or alphabetical within class.
Custodial History:
Records held by Mrs Alix Donald prior to transfer.
Immediate Source of Acquisition:
Mrs Caroline Wilkinson, Deal.
Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling:
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 812 procedures.
No further accessions are expected.
Legal Status:
Private records.
Access Conditions:
Restrictions apply to patient–specific material.
Copyright / Reproduction:
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents.
Existence of Copies:
No known copies.
This material is original.
Finding Aids:
Descriptive list.
Related Units of Description:
GB 812 HB 6: Records of Western Infirmary, Glasgow
Archive of the Yorkhill Division of NHS Greater Glasgow
Publication Note:
No known publications using this material.

Fonds–Level Description Compilation Details

Compiled by Alistair Tough, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archivist, 2005.