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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitleFarr; William (1807-1883); statistician
Ref NoFARR
LevelCollection
Date1853-1883
Extent14 volumes and 1 box
Admin Biographical HistoryWilliam Farr, 1807-1883, was born in Kenley, Shropshire. At the age of two, he was effectively adopted by a local squire, Joseph Pryce, who paid for Farr's education. From 1826 to 1828, Farr worked as a dresser in the infirmary at Shrewsbury and studied medicine with a doctor there. On Pryce's death in 1828, Farr received a legacy that enabled him to pursue his studies in Paris and Switzerland.
In 1831, Farr returned to Shrewsbury to work as an unqualified locum before studying at University College London, becoming a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries. In 1833, he established an apothecary's practice in Bloomsbury, London, and proceeded to publish a number of articles in the Lancet on such topics as hygiene, quack medicine, life assurance and cholera.
Farr had first demonstrated an interest in medical statistics during his studies abroad, and in 1832 he published his "Vital Statistics" in Macculloch's "Account of the British Empire", thus starting a new interest in statistics. From 1838 to 1879, he worked in the Registrar General's Office compiling abstracts. In 1855, he served on the Committee for Scientific Enquiry into the cholera epidemic of 1854, and produced statistical evidence that cholera was spread by polluted water, though he and his colleagues continued to adhere to the theory that epidemic disease was spread by miasma. Farr also served as commissioner for the 1871 census. He retired from public service in 1879.
DescriptionThis collection consists of letters received by Farr, manuscript and printed works, extracts from Registrar General's reports, biographical and bibliographical material, press cuttings, and some personal material.
This collection has been bound into 14 volumes:
Volume I: Letters, mainly to William Farr.
Volumes II and III: Manuscript works by William Farr.
Volume IV: Miscellaneous printed works by William Farr.
Volumes V and VI: Extracts from the Registrar General's reports on cholera in England 1849 - 1866.
Volumes VII and VIII: Printed works by William Farr, mainly government publications.
Volumes XI and X: Biographical and bibliographical material concerning William Farr.
Volume XI: Newscuttings.
Volumes XII and XIV: Miscellaneous.
Farr Additional: Two folders of correspondence and papers relating to the Farr family, including notebook of Farr's handwritten biography, correspondence re service of death of Frederick Farr in the American civil war and a collection of diplomas.
The printed handlist also contains an index of names.
The original volumes are fragile, and are generally available on microfilm only:
Farr volumes 1-3/1: Archives MF 279
Farr volumes 3/2-7: Archives MF 280
Farr volumes 8-14: Archives MF 281
Farr Additional volumes 1-2: Archives MF 282
Access ConditionsOriginal withdrawn; microfilm must be used (Archives MF 279-282)
Copyright TypeCopyright holder unknown
Former Reference NumberColl P
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