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Additional historical papers of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology

 Single Item
MS. 15877
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request


  1. Photocopy of a typescript letter from J.C. Woodruff to H[oward] Florey about Heatley in America, 19 June 1942 (with covering post-it note from Mercy Heatley), photocopy undated
  2. Printout of the text of the Florey Centenary Lecture delivered by Sir Henry Harris, Florey's successor as Professor of Pathology, 29 September 1998 which underlines Norman Heatley's contribution to the development of penicillin
  3. Photocopy of typescript biographical notes on Heatley, n.d.
  4. Mercy Heatley's extended account of living with her husband Norman, as read at his memorial, 18 September 2004


  • Creation: [1942]-2004, n.d.


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 15877].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


MS. 15877

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15877


A small amount of biographical material relating to Dr. Norman Heatley's contribution to the development of penicillin at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Howard Florey (1898-1968), an experimental pathologist and bacteriologist from Australia, was the Professor of Pathology and head of the Sir William Dunn of Pathology at the University of Oxford from 1935-1963. He raised the money and built the team for the Dunn School's groundbreaking work developing the penicillin antibiotic just before the Second World War alongside colleagues including Ernst Chain, Norman Heatley and Gordon Sanders.

Norman Heatley, OBE (1911–2004) was a biochemist who contributed substantially to the development of penicillin through his experimental work in extracting, assaying, and purifying the drug and by building the equipment needed using the only resources available to him in wartime, resulting in an antibiotic factory made of scavenged objects like milk churns, petrol cans, a bath, and bookshelves gleaned from the Bodleian Library.

Florey and Heatley travelled to America in June 1941 to find a pharmaceutical company with the capacity to manufacture the drug on an industrial scale, and Heatley stayed in the U.S. for two years, teaching his American colleagues how to work with penicillium mould.

Florey and Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for their work on penicillin together with Alexander Fleming who had originally discovered the antibiotic effects of penicillium. (At that time, the Nobel could only be awarded to three contributors, and so Norman Heatley and other contributors were excluded.)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to the Bodleian Library by the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, 2019.

Related Materials

The main body of historical and penicillin-related papers of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology are MSS. 12202/1-91, MSS. 12202 Photogr. 1-22, MSS. 12202 digital 1-68. The administrative papers of the School can be found in the Oxford University Archives at PT 1-76/2.

Additional historical papers of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology mainly relating to Dr. Norman Heatley
Lilia Kanu and Charlotte McKillop-Mash
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom