Authors and contributors
This series of obituaries was first published in 1861 as the Roll of the Royal College of Physicians.
Originally, the obituaries were compiled by the then Harveian Librarian, William Munk, who researched obituaries for all fellows dating back to the foundation of the College in 1518. Also included by Munk were obituaries for everyone licensed to practice medicine by the College, up to 1825. In honour of its original creator, the series of published volumes became known as Munk's Roll.
Now known as Inspiring Physicians, this collection continues to be a valuable biographical resource for those interested in medical and social history, and for family historians. Eleven printed volumes have been published and since 2004 Munk's Roll has been published exclusively online. This service is dependent on contributions by peers and family members of deceased fellows. The majority of the obituaries are written by people who worked with the deceased or by family members. As such, they demonstrate the impact these dedicated physicians have made to medicine, their communities and their patients.
Una Christina Ledingham (1900-1965)
Una Christina Ledingham worked at the Hampstead General Hospital. At the Marie Curie Hospital she developed a special interest in diabetes, and was an expert on the problems of the pregnant diabetic woman.
Manwar Khan Afridi (1900-1968)
Manwar Khan Afridi specialised in bacteriology and serology, later becoming an internationally recognized expert in malariology. In 1936 he became assistant director of the Malaria Institute in India.
Zahira Hafez Abdin (1917-2002)
Zahira Hafez Abdin, an innovative and pioneering paediatrician and rheumatic heart specialist, was the first Egyptian woman to become a member and later a fellow of the RCP.
Bomullage Diliphumara Dharmasena (1926-1991)
Bomullage Diliphumara Dharmasena held a number of responsible posts in the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka and in 1981 was appointed professor of medicine and head of the department of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya.
Noah Morris (1893-1947)
Noah Morris was professor of physiology at Anderson College and in 1936 he was appointed regius professor to Glasgow University, retaining the post until his death in 1947.
Eluned Woodford-Williams (1913-1984)
Eluned Woodford-Williams had many achievements which included establishing geriatric medicine as an age related discipline, developing her own coronary care unit and was appointed to the directorship of the Health Advisory Service in 1973.
Dorothy Stuart Russell (1895-1983)
Dorothy Russell was one of the pioneers in the application of tissue culture techniques to the study of cerebral tumours, and it is in the field of human neuro-oncology that she became the unquestioned leading world authority.
Salih Yassin Salih (1942-2009)
Salih Yassin Salih, professor of medicine at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, was a superb physician and an outstanding clinical scientist.
Original submissions only
Inspiring Physicians can only accept original submissions, for copyright reasons. We understand that authors may have been invited to write an obituary for more than one publication. E.g. BMJ, national newspaper, specialty journal. It is important that any submission to Inspiring Physicians is substantially different to those submitted elsewhere (unless the other publication has given permission for the text to be re-published).
The author should have known the fellow either personally or professionally. The author need not be a fellow themselves. We also welcome collaboratively written obituaries.
Our obituaries are usually between 250 and 1,000 words in length.
We do not have set deadlines at present, but contributors on average take up to three months to write an obituary. We encourage writers to update us on their progress. If you no longer feel able to complete an entry, please let us know, along with any suggestions as to whom you think we could approach in your stead.
Preferred format for entries
Please submit the obituary as a Word document by email with the name(s) of the author(s). Type-written memoirs are also acceptable. We regret hand-written scripts cannot be accepted. Postal submissions cannot be accepted during the current situation.
What to include
Your opening lines should command the attention of the reader. The best obituaries start with a summary or a condensed version of the achievements of the subject. Ideally, the rest of the memoir will be an interesting, accurate and honest summary of the highlights of the subject’s career and of their character. Please avoid a dry listing of the subject’s achievements, CV-style!,
Please incorporate the following information into the piece where appropriate:
• details of the subject’s family background, including place of birth, date of birth, names of parents
• education (schools, universities, medical schools, fellowships etc)
• junior posts
• war service/National Service
• definitive consultant appointment(s)
• writing, research, including significant papers/books
• membership of local, regional, national and international organisations
• names of wives/husbands/civil partners and children.
We encourage writers to include anecdotes and personal recollections as an effective means of capturing the ‘spirit’ of the subject.
Reference sources should be quoted at the end of the obituary.
- Pubmed lists journal references.The British Library includes a comprehensive catalogue of books published in the UK; for US-published books see the Library of Congress catalogue; for Australian books see the Australian National Library catalogue
- The British Medical Journal publishes obituaries every week.
- Obituaries published in The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian are available free online: to access The Times obituaries you will need to pay a subscription (www.thetimes.co.uk).
- It is always worth searching online for the name of the deceased to find other resources
- Local and regional papers sometimes publish obituaries. These are very variable, but some areas are better served than others: The Camden New Journal, The Oxford Mail etc.
- You may want to check Who’s Who if your subject had a high profile. This is a yearly publication, and it may be worth checking previous editions. These may be available at your local public library. (Some local authorities also provide access to Who’s Who online for their library members.)
- It may be useful to contact the archives department of the hospital where the subject held their major appointment.
Resources for authors
The Royal College of Physicians may hold CVs, ‘biographical forms’ (which were filled out at the time of the subject’s election to the fellowship), and occasionally other material. Unfortunately, these are not available for authors during the current situation.
The editor will verify all factual statements contained in the obituaries, including dates of qualifications and appointments, names, places and publication titles. The Harveian Librarian and editor reserve the right to edit submitted manuscripts, and to amend factual errors or contentious statements.
Please note: entries should be unique to Inspiring Physicians. We cannot accept previously published obituaries (or texts about to be published). You may adapt a piece if you have had it published elsewhere, but please ask for guidance.
We would love to have images of fellows to accompany their obituaries. If you have an image which you would like to add to an entry, please send it to us in JPEG format, as an email attachment. We have release forms which you can complete, confirming that you own the copyright and can license us to publish it on the website. Please email us at email@example.com for the relevant forms, or if you have any questions about whether an image is suitable.
We encourage fellows to regularly update us on their careers and achievements during their lives. If you are a fellow, you can fill out our online form at any stage in your career to the obituary service.
If you would like to update your own biographical details use the biographical details update form
If you would like to write an obituary or notify the RCP of the death of a fellow, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact us if you need further clarification or advice. The easiest way to contact us is by email.
Glossary of terms
A glossary of terms used throughout the Inspiring Physicians database can be viewed on our glossary webpage.