1938-1939 Diary and Academic Notes of the Scientist Who Discovered the Cause of the Swine Flu That Caused the Spanish Flu Pandemic

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 On offer are notes and a journal of one of the world’s preeminent pathologists, Dr. William Ian Beardmore (WIB) Beveridge (1908-2006), known as “the man who found the cause of the great epidemic”. Beveridge identified the origin of the world-wide Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919. [SEE BIO NOTES AT END OF LISTING]. 

The journal is a record of two time periods that WIB spent in the United States. The larger section describes a road trip that Beveridge took with his family in the United States, after relocating there from Australia. The smaller portion describes another trip taken following a conference he attended. Tipped into the journal are handwritten speaking notes from a 1951 academic address he gave at Oxford University on “The Art of Research” and a 1956 academic address he gave at Cambridge University called “How Discoveries Are Made”. There is also a photograph and some foreign exchange documents connected to his travel expenses. These presentations outline the thought processes of one of the great medical research minds of his time.

The first part of the diary begins June 1, 1938, where he notes that he “Left Princeton” and indicates that he, his wife and his son, John, are traveling with him. His professional interests are never far from hand as he takes time to visit labs or universities.

He visits the Connecticut State Serum Labs on June 10. On June 14 he spends the day in Fort Collins, CO and the “morning at Vet School talking to Dr. Newsom. After lunch saw Vet Hospital – very good but small…”. On July 22, he visits UC Berkeley, where he sees the agricultural department and tours the campus. He found Berkeley to have, “fine buildings and grounds but not large…12,000 students who attend…”. The next day, WIB drives to the Davis campus to meet, “Dr. Cameron at the Animal Health section of the Agric. Faculty of Univ of Calif.”. On Sept 12, WIB visits Cornell University: “Saw Dean WA Hagan and saw…new Moore building…also met Duhes the physiologist and Al the pathologist and others. This place seems more devoted to teaching than research…”. On Sept 14 he visited Yale, on the 15th, Princeton. He comments on those he met and what he observed at both.

In 1939, WIB picks up again in June, detailing another trip. At the back of the diary are an additional collection of pages from Fall of 1939, where WIB discusses attending a conference on Microbials and his activities afterward, being another road trip in the USA. 

Beveridge is a great diarist, giving the reader intelligent insight into his journey, describing in detail everything from the topography he views on hikes to his perspectives on the cities he visits. He travels widely across the USA, goes into Mexico briefly, and spends some time in Western Canada as he makes his way back east. He is an intelligent traveler, making time for interesting stops such as a tour at a Ford plant in Detroit. A couple excerpts give the flavour:

“Took recently opened scenic coast route (made Pat sick!). Very fine road along mountainside which rises straight from the sea. Country fairly barren - dry grass but some…green trees till Big Sur where we saw our first Redwoods all along the coast from S. Barbara. Often foggy and cool to cold off and on all day. Passed through Salinas just as the big rodeo was closing and went all traffic. Night at San Jose” [July 17, 1938]. 

“Went into Chicago and did some shopping at Marshal and Fields then left town about 4:30pm. Hot muggy day today although weather has been cool lately - cold last four nights. Traffic out of town very heaty. Drive through 2 or 3 miles of negro residential area - all negros. Night at Michigan City at Hotel” [Sept 6, 1938]. 

The final item in this small collection is an undated photograph of four men - obviously friends and possibly colleagues walking along a path. We believe one of the individuals shown is William Beveridge. The photograph has no annotations.

This is an absolute must for the collection of any researcher or science-minded person wanting to own the insights of a brilliant mind. Through his writing, we get to know Beveridge as a husband and father, as well as gaining understanding of his passion for academia and research.

This 6-ring binder measures approximately 7.0 inches by 4.25 inches and contains 2 groups of loose leaf pages – 1 section with 168 pages and a 2nd section with 18 pages. The journal is about 50-55% complete with entries written usually on 1 side only. The covers are in good condition as are the pages. The handwriting is legible.

BIO NOTES: WIB was born in Australia in 1908 and studied veterinary science. After graduation, he focused his efforts on research, working in the leading veterinary research facility in the country. In 1937, he moved to the United States to continue his research work at the Rockefeller Institute in New York. There, he studied and researched the swine influenza virus. With a colleague, he proved that this virus was identical to the virus that caused the 1918-1919 flu pandemic that world-wide, killed an estimated 50 million people. It is considered one of the most deadly pandemics in recorded history. Following this work, he moved to Cambridge University where he established their Veterinary school. He built a distinguished career. He was President of the World Veterinary Association for 18 years and published widely in scientific journals.

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