Catalogue of the papers of Edith Bülbring, 1933-90

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Chrissie Webb


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Table of Contents

A    Correspondence, 1961-88
B    Biographical material, c.1980-90
C    Papers relating to the Vogt family, 1933-c.1974
D    Photographs, n.d. [c.1940], 1948-9

Papers of Edith Bülbring, 1933-90

Correspondence and papers of Edith Bülbring (1903-1990), pharmacologist and physiologist

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. c. 7886-90; MS. Eng. e. 3765; MS. Photogr. b. 158; MS. Photogr. c. 497

Extent: 8 shelfmarks
Language of Material: Mainly English

Biographical History

Edith Bülbring entered Bonn University to study medicine in 1923. On completion of her studies she worked initially as a physician, then as a research assistant to Paul Trendelenburg, professor of pharmacology, in Berlin. After his death in 1931 she found a position in the infectious disease unit of the Virchow Krankenhaus, also in Berlin, from where she was dismissed in 1933 because of her Jewish ancestry. During a holiday in England shortly afterwards she visited her former colleague at the Virchow Krankenhaus, Ulrich Friedemann, then a refugee working in Sir Henry Dale's laboratory in Hampstead. Through Dale she was offered a post with J H Burn, Director of the Pharmacological Laboratories of the Pharmaceutical Society in London. When Burn was appointed to the Chair of Pharmacology at Oxford in 1937, Bülbring also came to Oxford as his research assistant and departmental demonstrator. In the late 1940s she began independent research on the physiology of smooth muscle. She was to become a leading authority in that field, building up and obtaining funding for a large research group which published over 200 papers. In 1946 she was promoted to University Demonstrator and Lecturer and in 1960 to ad hominem Reader. In 1967 she was appointed to a personal professorship. She was naturalized in 1948.

Scope and Content

The papers contain correspondence, photographs, an audio recording of an interview with Bülbring and other biographical materials, and papers relating to the Vogt family of Berlin. Professor Oskar Vogt and his wife, Cecile, were prominent neuro-anatomists. Their daughter, Marthe (1903-2003), a pharmacologist, worked with Edith Bülbring in the laboratory of Paul Trendelenburg in Berlin. She left Berlin for England in 1935 and, with Bülbring's help, found work initially with Sir Henry Dale at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. Posts at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities followed. Her research made important contributions to the understanding of the role of neurotransmitters in the brain.


Bülbring's original order has been retained as far as possible. Original file titles, where they exist, are given in inverted commas preceding descriptions.


The papers were transferred from the University's Pharmacology Department to the Bodleian Library in 2010.

Related Material

Further papers of Edith Bülbring are held at the Wellcome Library, Archives and Manuscripts Section. Also held there are papers relating to Marthe Vogt and her family. The archive of the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, held by the Bodleian Library, contains correspondence with Edith Bülbring and Marthe Vogt.

Restrictions on Access

Material that is restricted is indicated in the catalogue.

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 7890]

Family names (NCA Rules)

Vogt | family

Personal names (NCA Rules)

Bülbring | Edith | 1903-1990 | pharmacologist
Vogt | Marthe Louise | 1903-2003 | pharmacologist

Subjects (LCSH)


A   Correspondence, 1961-88

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. c. 7886-8

‘Electronics engineers from Nihon Kohden Japan’, correspondence and papers relating to the appointment of temporary electronics research assistants to Bülbring’s smooth muscle group
Date: 1961-71
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7886 (= Res.)
Restrictions on Access: Restricted.

Correspondence, mainly social, principally with and relating to Stephen Kuffler of the Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, a former colleague of Bülbring
Date: 1971-7
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7887

Correspondence and papers relating to the award to Bülbring of an honorary doctorate by Universitat des Saarlandes, Homburg
Date: 1988
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7888

Scope and Content:

Mainly in German.

B   Biographical material, c.1980-90

Shelfmarks: MS. Eng. e. 3765; MS. Eng. c. 7889

Audio recording of an interview with Bülbring by Alison Brading [Oxford University Lecturer in Pharmacology and a former colleague of Bülbring], regarding her life and work up to the 1950s
Date: 1989-90
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. e. 3765

Scope and Content:

A transcript (ref. PP/BUL/A.4/2) of this interview and copies of the audio cassettes (ref. PP/BUL/A.4/1) are available at the Wellcome Library, Archives and Manuscripts Section. Comprises:

  • ‘Bülbring Tape I, recorded Dec. 1989 at St George's Hospital, Tooting, by A Brading’ [Professor Alison Brading]
  • ‘Bülbring interview Tape II, Dec. 1989-Jan. 1990’

‘Coworkers’, mainly lists of names of people she worked with, drawn up by Bülbring
Date: c.1980
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7889

C   Papers relating to the Vogt family, 1933-c.1974

Shelfmarks: MS. Eng. c. 7890

Papers relating to the Vogt family
Date: 1933-c.1974
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7890

Scope and Content:

See 'Scope and Content' above. In German and English. Includes:

  • offprints of articles by and relating to Cecile and Oskar Vogt, parents of Marthe Vogt, 1933-50
  • copy letter from Bülbring in support of an appeal against an order for internment by Dr Marthe Vogt, 2 Jan. 1940

Two copies of a photograph, apparently of Marthe Vogt and others at work in a laboratory, c.1940, removed to MS. Photogr. b. 158 (below).

D   Photographs, n.d. [c.1940], 1948-9

Shelfmarks: MS. Photogr. b. 158; MS. Photogr. c. 497

Loose photographs of Edith Bülbring and Marthe Vogt
Date: n.d. [c.1940], 1948-9
Shelfmark: MS. Photogr. b. 158

Scope and Content:

(items 1-2) Two group photographs of Bülbring with students and colleagues, 1948-9

  • copy photograph inscribed '24 March 1984. To Edith Bülbring from Dick Barlow, a souvenir of 1948'
  • photograph inscribed 'Pharmacology 1949 March. Oxford'

(items 3-4) Two copies of a photograph, apparently of Marthe Vogt and others at work in a laboratory, c.1940 (removed from MS. Eng. c. 7890 above)

Photograph album relating to symposia on excitable membranes and on calcium and smooth muscle in honour of Professor Edith Bülbring FRS, organised on the occasion of the 365th anniversary of the University of Groningen, 11-15 June 1979
Date: 1979
Shelfmark: MS. Photogr. c. 497

Scope and Content:

During her visit to Groningen an honorary doctorate was conferred on Bülbring. Contains loose photographs.

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
31 August 2011