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date: 07 December 2019

Wellcome, Sir Henry S(olomon) locked

(b Almond, WI, Aug 21, 1853; d London, July 25, 1936).
  • William Schupbach


(b Almond, WI, Aug 21, 1853; d London, July 25, 1936).

British pharmaceutical manufacturer and collector (naturalized 1910), of American birth. Around 1897 he began to form the collection that became in 1913 the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum in Wigmore Street, London. Its purpose was to illustrate the history of medicine, which Wellcome interpreted anthropologically as the evolution of manifestations of the instinct for self-preservation. Wellcome collected avidly, both in person and through agents in many countries. By 1936 the collection contained c. 900,000 items, including paintings, prints and photographs; sculpture; medical and pharmaceutical antiques; prehistoric flints; trephined skulls; amulets; ethnographic objects; and manuscripts and printed books. Interest in the development of such documentary techniques as photography and typography influenced many of Wellcome’s acquisitions (e.g. incunabula from William Morris’s library, 1898). After Wellcome’s death the collection passed by bequest to the trustees of the Wellcome Trust. Much of it was sold at auction, and much was also dispersed by gift or loan to 144 museums, mainly in Britain. Yet vast amounts still remain together in two London institutions active in research and education: books and prints etc in the ...

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