Lives of the fellows

Henry Roy Dean

b.12 February 1879 d.13 February 1961
BM Oxon(1904) DM Oxon(1912) Hon LLD Western Reserve(1931) Hon DSc Liverp(1934) Hon LLD Aberd(1952) MRCP(1906) FRCP(1913

Henry Roy Dean was physically and mentally a big man. His father was Joseph Dean, of Bournemouth, his mother Elizabeth, the sister of Sir William MacCormac, a president of the Royal College of Surgeons. From Sherborne he entered New College, Oxford, where he took a first in the school of natural science and got a blue in swimming, a sport he enjoyed to the end of his long life. His medical school was St. Thomas’s, from which he graduated in 1904. With the help of a senior demyship of Magdalen, a research fellowship of the Salters’ Company and a Radcliffe travelling fellowship, he followed house posts at St. Thomas’s with study in Germany under Abderhalden and Wasserman, and on his return was appointed assistant bacteriologist to the Lister Institute, where his accurate work on immunity reactions gained him in 1912 the chair of pathology and bacteriology at Sheffield.

In 1915 he moved to the chair in Manchester. There he combined careful teaching with, for a time, the deanship of the medical faculty and the post of pathologist to the Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Second Western General Hospital, at which he held the rank of major in the Territorial R.A.M.C. Here he carried out and directed research on the problems of meningococcal infection, tetanus, dysentery and the anaerobic infection of wounds. Further, on the introduction of the Public Health Regulations of 1916, he began a long association with the campaign against venereal diseases throughout northern England.

Dean’s most outstanding work began in 1922 on his appointment to follow Sims Woodhead at Cambridge; he was thus able to apply his long thought-out ideas on the undergraduate and specialist teaching of pathology. Within two years pathology was included in part ii of the natural sciences tripos; in 1934 it was recognised as a half-subject for part i. The year 1930 saw the opening of a new department in which he was to take a keen interest for another thirty years. In 1929 he had been elected to the mastership of Trinity Hall which he held for twenty-five years. An admirable host, he showed loving care of its buildings, its cellar, its old silver to which he made generous gifts, its garden, and, above all, of the welfare of its fellows. The Dean Memorial Building was erected in his memory, a fitting expression of the affection and admiration of his students and colleagues.

Dean had always an enormous capacity for work. From 1937 to 1939 he was vice-chancellor of Cambridge, for thirty-two years a secretary of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and for many years a member of the General Medical Council, chairman of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, and a governor of his old school, Sherborne. He was an honorary fellow of New College, Oxford, an LL.D, of both Aberdeen and the Western Reserve University of the United States, and a D.Sc, of Liverpool. At the College he was Dobell lecturer in 1916.

In 1908 he married Irene, the daughter of Charles Arthur Wilson. His wife died in 1959. They had a son, Sir Patrick Dean, K.C.M.G., and a daughter who married the Venerable J. F. Richardson.

Richard R trail

[Brit.med.J., 1961, 1, 595-6 (p); J.Path.Bact., 1962, 83, 587-97 (p), bibl.; Lancet, 1961, 1, 457-8 (p); Nature (Lond.), 1961, 190, 305-06; Times, 15 Feb. 1961 (p).]

(Volume V, page 98)

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