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Percival Bailey Personal collection of papers and photographs, 1902-1992
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Percival Bailey Personal Collection of Papers and Photographs,
    Date (inclusive): 1902-1992
    Collection number: 339
    Creator: Bailey, Percival 1892-1973
    Extent: 2 cartons (3.0 linear ft.)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library.Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: Dr. Percival Bailey was an important contributor to many fields of the basic and clinical neurosciences, and a distinguished teacher and author. This is a collection of papers and photographs from Dr. Bailey's home files. Included are documents about his personal life and family, mementos of many, but not nearly all of the many honors and awards that came to him, manuscripts of charming autobiographical essays and his thoughts about psychiatry and psychiatrists. Many aspects of his professional life and his remarkable mentoring of an outstanding group of mid-20th century neurosurgeons emerge from the papers. The photographic record is especially rich in documenting his students and colleagues from around the world.
    Physical location: Southern Regional Library Facility.
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights in the physical objects belong to the UCLA Biomedical Library. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish if the Biomedical Library does not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Percival Bailey Personal Collection of Papers and Photographs (Manuscript collection 339). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7051591 

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was a 1994 gift from Irene Bailey Freyer to UCLA.


    Dr. Percival Bailey was a renowned and much-honored scientist, clinician, teacher and administrator, who made major contributions in neuropathology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurosurgery and psychiatry. He was born May 9, 1892 in a small town in the southern tip of Illinois, an area know as Little Egypt. An intelligent and energetic student, determined to escape his hard-scrabble background through education, he worked his way from a one-room elementary school to Southern Illinois State Normal College, and from there to a Ph.D. at the University University of Chicago and a simultaneous M.D. at Northwestern University. Outstanding teachers, especially in anatomy and neurology, aroused his special interest in the nervous system.
    After his internship, in 1919 Bailey was accepted to join Harvey Cushing's neurological surgery team at Harvard. This valuable and rewarding, but also difficult, association between the two men continued in an on-and-off fashion until 1928. Bailey spent a year in Boston, then returned to Chicago for a year with the neuropathologist George Boris Hassin, back to Boston, then a year of study with Pierre Marie in Paris in 1921/1922, and back to Boston again. In 1925, now a married man, Bailey returned to Paris and worked with the psychiatrist Henri Claude for a year. Then back to Boston and Cushing for the last time. In 1928 Bailey became the head of the Department of Neurological Surgery of the newly established University of Chicago School of Medicine.
    Dr. Bailey remained as Professor of Surgery and Professor of Neurology at the University of Chicago until 1939. Then he joined the University of Illinois as Professor of Neurology and Neurological Surgery until his retirement in 1968. Although his scientific and teaching activities continued, around 1950 diminished eyesight forced a cessation of his surgical and histological work. This provided time to shift some of his attention more to psychiatric study of the nervous system, which had always attracted him, and from 1951 until his retirement in 1967, Dr. Bailey served as Director of the Illinois State Psychopathic Institute and Research and Educational Consultant to the Illinois Department of Public Welfare.
    Dr. Bailey died August 11. 1973. This Renaissance Man, who spoke French and German fluently, read widely in philosophy, history, art, and wrote charming essays, was widely beloved and honored. More than 200 neuroscientists and surgeons from around the world, most his former students and colleagues, personally joined in his 60th birthday celebration in Chicago. He was a recipient of several honorary doctorates, including Docteur honoris causa de l'Université de Paris, was named Chevalier de la Légion d'Honeur de France and a chosen a member of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. "A Biographical Memoir" with bibliography by Bailey's pupil, colleague and friend Dr. Paul C. Bucy, published by the National Academy of Sciences, 1989, provides a full account of Dr. Bailey's life and accomplishments.

    Scope and Content

    This collection, preserved and possibly edited by Yevnigé Bashian Bailey (Mrs. Percival Bailey), provides a enlightening picture of Dr. Bailey as human being, thinker, doer, teacher. Autobiographic and biographic accounts elucidate his life and musings, his interactions with mentors and mentees, his travels; and these accounts are enriched by an extensive photographic record. Not to be found, however, except by indirection, are the records of his scientific and clinical life, his over 260 journal articles, chapters, and books. The collection does include drafts of the chapters of his autobiographical volume "Up from Little Egypt", and drafts of his thoughts about Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Personal Papers, 1912-1978. 27 folders
    • Series 2. Honors and Awards, 1949-1983. 12 folders
    • Series 3. Professional and Personal Writings, 1935-1972. 29 folders
    • Series 4. Professional Life, 1949-1992. 18 folders
    • Series 5. General Correspondence, 1946-1973. 3 folders
    • Series 8. Photographs, 1902-1973. 23 folders

    Related Material

    University of Illinois at Chicago. Health Sciences Library Special Collections: "Unpublished writings of Percival Bailey, 1945-1965". WZ 100 B155u 1945
    University of Illinois at Chicago. Health Sciences Library Special Collections: "Percival Bailey Collection", more than 600 rare and important volumes donated by Percival Bailey

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Bailey, Percival, 1892-1973
    Neuroscientists--Archival resources
    Neurosurgery --United States--Manuscripts
    Psychiatry--Archival resources