Lives of the fellows

Thomas Archibald Malloch

b.10 August 1887 d.19 September 1953
BA Queen’s(1908) MD CM McGill(1913) MRCP(1919) FRCP(1930)

Thomas Archibald Malloch was born in 1887 at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, one of the three sons of Dr Archibald E. Malloch, who was one of Lister’s house surgeons at Glasgow and a life-long friend of Sir William Osier. His mother was Mary Frances Reynolds. As a child he had tuberculosis of the right knee and hip. Operative treatment (arthrodesis) by Halsted left only a slight permanent lameness. After graduating in arts at Queen’s University, Kingston, he was a medical student at McGill University, Montreal.

On the outbreak of the First World War Malloch volunteered for active service in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. He was rejected on physical grounds, but, undaunted, he served as a member of the Red Cross at Depage’s Belgian war hospital, and eventually was given a commission in the C.A.M.C., joining the staff of No. 3 Canadian General Hospital. Here his high clinical ability led to his promotion to major, and he was given charge of the medical side of the Hospital after the death of Lt-Col. John McCrae.

Leaves spent with Sir William and Lady Osier at Oxford stimulated his devotion to books and scholarship. In 1917, at Sir William’s suggestion and while in charge of a hospital at Burley-on-the-Hill, the home of the Finch family, Malloch wrote his excellent monograph on Finch and Baines, ‘the David and Jonathan of the profession of the seventeenth century’, which established his reputation as a medical historian.

In 1918-19 he studied in France and England the pandemic of influenza which was then raging. He showed his notes to Osier who was impressed by them. Soon afterwards Osier was stricken by his fatal illness, and Malloch stayed in Norham Gardens as one of the physicians in attendance.

After Osier’s death Malloch lived chiefly at Oxford for over two years in order to assist W. W. Francis, R. H. Hill and L. L. Mackall with the catalogue of Osier’s great medical library, published as the Bibliotheca Osleriana (1929). He also worked at various hospitals in London. In 1923 he returned to Canada to practise as a physician. He was appointed assistant physician to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, and helped in editing the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Increasing deafness caused him to relinquish medical practice. In 1925 he was appointed librarian of the New York Academy of Medicine where he devoted himself to developing that library into the second largest collection of its kind in the United States. He was a president of the Medical Library Association and an honorary consultant to the United States Army Medical Library, and his expert advice was always at the service of students of medical history.

At the College he was FitzPatrick lecturer in 1939. His lectures were not delivered owing to the War, but were published by the College in 1946.

He led a noble and studious life in America until repeated attacks of coronary thrombosis enforced his retirement in 1949. He was universally popular with his colleagues and assistants, with scholars and with students; ‘a cheerful, likeable personality,’ as one of his friends stated. His scholarly writings ensure that his memory will not be forgotten by students of medical history.

In 1924 he married Katharine Abbott, a grand-niece of Sir William Osier; they had two sons and one daughter.

Richard R Trail

[Academy Bookman, 1949, 2, 2-5 (p), bibl.; 1953, 6, 1-16 (p), bibl.; Brit.med.J., 1953, 2, 943-4; Bull. N.Y. Acad. Med., 1954, 33, 399-401 (p); Canad. med. Ass. J., 1953, 69, 543-4; Lancet, 1953, 2, 785-6; Libr. J., 1953, 78, 2089.]

(Volume V, page 264)

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