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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0100 TH/PP67
THUDICHUM, Johann Ludwig Wilhelm (1829-1901)
1869, 1871
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
2 boxes


Name of creator(s)

Thudichum, Johann Ludwig Wilhelm, 1829-1901, neurochemist also known as Thudichum, John Lewis William, 1829-1901

Administrative / Biographical history

Born, Büdingen, Germany, 1829; met the chemist Julius Liebig in 1847; medical student, University of Giessen, 1847; worked in Liebig's laboratory, developing a keen interest in biological chemistry; emigrated to London, 1853, during the war between Prussia and Denmark; physician at St Pancras Dispensary, 1856; practiced medicine throughout his life as an otologist and rhinologist; invented a nasal speculum; lecturer in chemistry at the Grosvenor Place School of Medicine, 1858; later director of a pathological and chemical laboratory; published his first book on the analysis of urine, 1858; Lecturer on Pathological Chemistry at St Thomas's Hospital, 1865; chemist to the medical department of the Privy Council, 1866; began to investigate the effects of cholera on the brain and research into his major original work on the chemical constitution of the brain; discovered hematoporphyria, the brain cephalius, galactose, glucose, lactic acid, cerebranic sulfatides and many other chemicals, conducted research in his private laboratory from 1871; published the first English edition of Treatise on the chemical constitution of the brain, 1884; a controversial figure and many colleagues disputed his findings; considered to be the founder of neurochemistry; died, London, 1901. Publications: Treatise on the chemical constitution of the brain (Baillière, Tindall and Cox, London, 1884); The progress of Medical Chemistry. comprising its application to: Physiology, pathology and the practice of medicine (Bailliere, Tindall and Cox., 1896); some 80 major scientific publications.

Archival history

The letters (first accession) were in the possession of Professor L Young of St Thomas's Hospital Medical School.  The research notes and related papers of the second accession were formerly held in the Medical Research Council Library.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Transferred from St Thomas's Hospital Medical School Library in 2002.  Second accession transferred from the National Institute for Medical Research, 2016

Content & structure

Scope and content

Letter to Dr Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Thudichum, from F Hoppe-Seyler, Tubingen, 1869; and letter from Justus Liebig, Academie der Wissenschaften, 1871.

Research notes (in English and German), 1867-1869, on topics including: urine; the thyroid gland; spectral analysis of organic substances (including blood, urine, egg yolk and the brain); and ‘Theobromine preparation from cocoa by phospho-woframic acid method’.  Also: sketches of thyroid glands in a dissected cat and rabbit; spectrographic images, c 1868; copy letters from Thudichum to colleagues Prof Hoppe-Seyler, and Prof Staedeler, 1869; printed texts of lectures, ‘On wines, their production, treatment and use’, by Thudichum, 1873; proofs of illustrations for unidentified books, including details of laboratory equipment.  Edition of Thudichum’s book, Grundzuge der anatomischen und klinischen chemie (Berlin, 1886), with the bookplate of Otto Rosenheim, a pasted-in note, ‘Dr Thudichum’s own copy received from his son George – O Rosenheim’, and ink stamps from the Medical Research Council Library, 1975.

System of arrangement

Arranged as described in the Scope and Content.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive and Corporate Record Services.

Language/scripts of material

German and English

Finding aids

This summary guide

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Existence and location of copies

Photographic copies are kept with the original letters (first accession).

Related units of description

Dedication note to Sir John Simon, 1884 (reference: M 136), held by St Thomas's Hospital Library.

Description control

Archivist's Note

Sources: Cyberlipid Center website:; Founders of Neurology website:; British Library Public On-line catalogue. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

May 2002; revised January 2003 and February 2017

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  • Chemistry
  • Medical sciences
  • Surgery

Personal names

  • Hoppe-Seyler, F, fl 1869
  • Liebig, Julius, fl 1871, German chemist
  • Thudichum, Johann Ludwig Wilhelm, 1829-1901, Neurochemist

Corporate names

  • King's College London College Archives
  • St Thomas' Hospital, London


  • Southwark, London, England

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