The archives of the Regius Professors

Sir John Scott Burdon Sanderson (1828-1905), pathologist and physiologist, was the Regius Professor from 1895 to 1904.

In his earlier career as an experimental pathologist, Sanderson had advanced the understanding of the causes of infectious disease and the acceptance of germ theory in Britain. As a physiologist, he had undertaken research for Charles Darwin on the movement of the leaf of the Venus flytrap. In 1882 he was elected Oxford’s first Waynflete Professor of Physiology (a position endowed by Magdalen College in honour of their 15th century founder, William Waynflete).  Sanderson was instrumental in creating the Faculty of Medicine in 1885 and in reducing the length of the Oxford medical degree from eight to seven years.

Sanderson’s correspondence, diaries, notes and drafts of lectures and addresses and other papers are held by University College London. Further correspondence and papers are held by The National Library of Scotland and the Woodward Biomedical Library, University of British Columbia.

Caricature of John Scott Burdon Sanderson by Leslie Ward (‘Spy’) published in Vanity Fair, 17 May 1894

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