Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Collection of the month: Major HS Leeson

Image reference: List of camping equipment for Leeson’s expedition across East Africa, 1936 (GB 0809 Leeson/01/03). Image credit: LSHTM Library & Archives Service.

To coincide with our exhibition on travel, expeditions and discovery currently on display in the Library we have chosen to focus on the papers of Major HS Leeson who travelled extensively during his career as an entomologist (someone who studies insects) for this month’s blog post.

Born in Liverpool, Leeson began his career in the Entomological Department of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1909. Leeson served in the Royal Army Medical Core during the First World War and on returning he passed his sanitation examinations and became an Associate of the Royal Sanitary Institute. He began his association with LSHTM in 1925 after being chosen as collector-demonstrator to Colonel A Alcock in the Entomological Department.

Leeson travelled widely for his studies of the Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus mosquitoes, which transmit the malaria parasite. His research took him to: Southern Rhodesia (1926-1928 and 1933-1936); East Africa, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika (1936); Greece (1938) and Albania (1938). During the Second World War he played an important part in malaria prevention in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Cyprus by carrying out anopheline surveys as the entomologist of No.2 Malaria Field Laboratory. From 1943-1945 he was also in charge of the malaria wing of the Middle East School of Hygiene. When the War ended he returned to LSHTM to work as lecturer in the Department of Entomology.

The Leeson collection, held in the School’s Archives contains a wealth of documents relating to his career and expeditions including scientific notes, reports, photographs, correspondence, maps, itineraries, menus and drawings. We also have a film of Leeson’s 1936 expedition across East Africa, which provides a fascinating record of the expedition’s journey from Croydon airport, travels and work in East Africa, the people they met and wonderful views of the scenery and wildlife they encountered.

If you would like to find out more about or make an appointment to consult the Leeson collection please see the Archives website or email us at for further information.

The exhibition on travel, expeditions and discovery is on display in the Library until the end of this month.

No comments:

Post a Comment