Lives of the fellows

Harben Jay Boutourline-Young

b.16 March 1916 d.4 September 1982
MRCS LRCP( 1942) MB BS Lond(1943) DCH(1943) MD(1948) MRCP(1948) MD Florence(1954) MD Harvard(1949) FRCP(1970)

Pat Young, as he was known for the first half of his life, was born in Paeroa, New Zealand, the son of Harben Robert Young, a consulting engineer, and his wife Lena Isabella Jay. It is of interest that Pat was a cousin of Austen and Neville Chamberlain. He went to Westport Primary School and St Andrew’s College, Christchurch, winning a gold medal and ‘excellence’ on entry to Canterbury College. Here he studied for a degree in commerce, but switched to University College London to study medicine.

After a house appointment in Hemel Hempstead, Pat was RMO at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children under George Newns (q.v.),and had served four months as an outpatient registrar at Great Ormond Street when he was called up into the RAMC, in which he worked from 1944-46, reaching the acting rank of major. The end of the war found Pat in Trieste, where he was responsible for service families in the hospital commanded by the writer (GW).

Pat had been married and had one daughter, but in Italy he fell in love with a very young and beautiful girl of aristocratic Russian family, Elizabeth Mary Boutourline (Lily). They married in 1948 and Pat assumed the name of Boutourline-Young. They had five children. Lily then qualified brilliantly in medicine in Florence but as a woman was completely frustrated in her ambition to be a surgeon.

He had returned to England after the war and was a senior registrar in paediatrics at St Mary’s, obtaining his MD and membership. In 1949 and again in 1952 Pat worked in the United States as research assistant in neonatal paediatrics at the Boston Lying-in hospital, at Harvard University as assistant professor of physiology and at Yale as associate professor of paediatrics. His life work was in connexion with the Harvard-Florence Research Project, 1952-69, continued in the Harvard-Yale Research Project from 1970, of both of which he was director. The projects were mainly concerned with the impact of poverty and malnutrition on child development and the influence of the environment on adolescent behaviour; both were studies of children of Italian stock in Florence, Sicily and Boston.

Pat Boutourline-Young had all the ease and geniality of a New Zealander, combined with a simple modesty which obscured his acute and logical intelligence. He enjoyed the contrast between his New Zealand background and American democracy on the one hand, and his seigneurial state in Florence. It was unfortunate that serious problems arose between him and his wife, although in fact there was never any actual separation and he continued his work and practice from his office. Towards the end his escape into overindulgence handicapped him in recovery from a car accident and other illnesses, but he could still be a superb host. His many scientific papers provided an important and solid foundation for studies of child development in many countries.

Dame Josephine Barnes
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

(Volume VIII, page 38)

<< Back to List