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Papers of Norman McOmish Dott

 Fonds — Container: Gen.2085 (28 boxes )
Identifier: Coll-32

Scope and Contents

The papers fully document all of Dott’s principal activities. In addition, there are Dott's careful lecture notes which illustrate the development of the teaching of neurosurgery at Edinburgh, while the correspondence with Cushing, Jefferson and others traces the leading organisations and leading personalities in the field, especially in the second quarter of the century. There is also an extensive record of many aspects of public health in Scotland, relating chiefly to the care of the disabled, in which Dott played an active part.


  • Creation: c 1922-1973


Conditions Governing Access

Available to researchers on application, but some restrictions apply due to Data Protection legislation. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Dott was born in Edinburgh and educated at George Heriot's School there. Originally apprenticed as a joiner and engineer, he suffered a serious hip injury in an accident, and the observation of medical practice during his hospitalisation determined his future career and he entered Edinburgh University Medical School in 1914. Awarded the Syme Surgical Fellowship in 1921, he worked with Sir Edward Sharpey-Schafer, and his studies on the pituitary led to the award of a Rockefeller Fellowship which enabled him to work as Assistant Resident to Harvey Cushing at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, 1923-1924. With the exception of this year and a brief visit to Cushing in 1929, Dott remained in Edinburgh throughout his career. He did much to establish surgical neurology there and in 1947 became the first Professor of Surgical Neurology at the University. He was a founder member of the Society of British Neurologists in 1926, and its President, 1938-1945. During the Second Worl! d War he served with H.W.B. Cairns, Geoffrey Jefferson and others on the Brain Injuries Committee of the Medical Research Council. He lectured widely on his specialist subjects such as aneurysms, pain, pituitary and also on medical education, hospital planning and staffing, the history of medicine (mainly in relation to his own interests), and more informally on his own experiences and colleagues.


28 boxes


By section as follows: Biographical and personal, University of Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh lectures, Lectures, speeches and addresses, Visits and conferences and lecture tours, Committees and societies, Working papers, notes and drawings, Correspondence. Index of correspondents.

Physical Location

Gen. 2085.

Other Finding Aids

Printed catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Norman McOmish Dott (1897-1973) by J. Alton and H. Weiskittel, CSAC catalogue no. 55/9/77, 106 pp (Edinburgh 'Handlist 32'). Copies available from NCUACS, University of Bath.

Custodial History

Received for cataloguing in 1976 by the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre from Mrs Dott, widow, via the Scottish Record Office, Edinburgh. Deposited in Edinburgh University Library in 1977.

Related Materials

A collection of Dott's medals and certificates of honour is held at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Photographs, charts and diagrams related to Dott's teaching and research are held at the Department of Surgical Neurology, University of Edinburgh.

Dott's clinical case notes are held by Lothian Health Services Archive.

Processing Information

Papers catalogued in 1978 by the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre. Catalogue keyed into ArchivesSpace by Stephen Willis in February-April 2021, with permission from the University of Bath, current copyright owners of the report.

Papers of Norman McOmish Dott, 1918-1973
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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