Authors and contributors

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 it's 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 2000 and the Munk's Roll has been published exclusively online. This service is dependant 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.

Writer guidelines

Author
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.

Length
Our obituaries are usually between 250 and 1,000 words in length. 

Deadlines
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. 

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.

Useful resources

  • 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. These will be photocopied or scanned and sent to the author on request. 

Sujata Chaudhuri, 1963
Dorothy Helen Heard, 1976
Esmé Maria Wren, 1972

Editorial process


The assistant 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 assistant 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. 

 

Photographs 


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, confirming that you own the copyright and can license us to publish it on the website. Please contact us if have any questions about whether an image is suitable.

Biographical updates

We encourage fellows to regularly update us on their careers and achievements during their lives. If you are a fellow, you can either submit a biographical update form or an updated CV at any stage in your career. 

Contact us

If you would like to write an obituary, notify the RCP of the death of a fellow or update your own biographical details using the biographical details update form email: munksroll@rcplondon.ac.uk or phone: +44 (0)20 3075 1312.

Please contact us if you need further clarification or advice. The easiest way to contact us is by email, phone or post.

Inspiring Physicians (Munk’s Roll) 
Library, Archive and Museum Services
The Royal College of Physicians
11 St Andrews Place
London NW1 4LE
munksroll@rcplondon.ac.uk
+44 (0)20 3075 1312

Glossary of terms

A glossary of terms used throughout the Inspiring Physicians database can be viewed on our glossary webpage.