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Finding Aid for the Mary Agnes Burniston Brazier Papers 1941-1995
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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: Mary Agnes Burniston Brazier Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1941-1995
    Collection number: 42
    Creator: Brazier, Mary A. B. (Mary Agnes Burniston), 1904-1995.
    Extent: 12.3 linear feet (26 boxes)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: Mary A. B. Brazier was born in England in 1904 and died in Falmouth, MA in 1955. She received a Ph. D. in physiology and biochemistry from the University of London in 1930, began neuroscience research at Maudsley Hospital, London, and in 1940 came to Boston on a Rockefeller fellowship. She remained at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for twenty years, then moved to the Brain Research Institute at UCLA until her retirement. She was internationally known as an outstanding neuroscientist, historian, author, and editor. This collection consists mainly of materials pertinent to her historical research: photocopies of texts, notes, photographs and negatives of some 500 individuals and 40 institutions important in the development of the neurosciences; there is some emphasis on Russian neurophysiology and on instances of early calculating machines. About a tenth of the collection consists of professional and personal materials, mainly reprints and foreign-language copies of her books, plus sparse biographical material.
    Physical location: History and Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English, Russian, French


    The collection is open for research. Contact the History & Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA, for information.

    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], Mary Agnes Burniston Brazier Papers (Manuscript collection 42). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 5302276 

    Acquisition Information

    The materials came as gifts from Dr. Mary A. B. Brazier to the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library over a number of years, mainly during the span 1985-1993.


    Brain researcher, neuroscientist, electroencephalographer, historian, computer analyst, author and editor par excellance, international organizer -- "Mollie" Brazier's career can not be summed up easily or tersely. She was a vibrant figure in the community of those studying the electrical activity of the nervous system, and her passing was mourned by colleagues around the world.
    Dr. Brazier was born near Bristol, England in 1904 and died in Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1995. She attended Bedford College, the University of London (BSc, 1926, PhD in physiology and biochemistry, 1930), and then began research at the Maudsley Hospital, London. In 1940, a Rockefeller fellowship brought her to Boston where she remained for twenty years. Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were her sites of activity, and computer analysis of brain electrical activity became increasingly the focus of her research. In 1961 she left Boston for the newly created Brain Research Institute at UCLA, where she remained as Professor of Anatomy, Physiology, and Biophysics until 1988.
    Dr. Brazier's extensive publications cover a wide variety of topics. In addition to the many articles on electroencephalography and its statistical analysis, she produced important books and essays on the history of the electrical activity of the nervous system, on Russian neurophysiology and its history, on early calculating machines, and on individual scientists and philosophers who caught her particular interest.
    The University of London bestowed a DSc in neurophysiology on Dr. Brazier in 1960. In 1976, The University of Utrecht honored her with an MD degree. Her many honors, awards, and positions also included serving as Secretary General of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) and as president of the American EEG Society, receiving Research Career Awards from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and the Grey Walter Medal of the British EEG Society. Elsevier Scientific Publishers established The M. A. B. Brazier Young Investigator Award in her honor, under the auspices of the International Federation of Societies for Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology. She was a member of some fifteen professional societies

    Scope and Content

    Although the content of this collection is wide, its scope is quite narrow: the major portion consists of photographs and negatives of individuals and some institutions important in the history of the neurosciences, and of materials pertaining to these individuals, institutions, and related research topics. Such materials include reprints and photocopies of articles by and about the target figures, bibliographic and reading notes, bits of historical text written by Dr. Brazier, and some correspondence supporting her historical research; they also include numerous partial or complete translations of publications originally in Russian or German. The individuals and topics included are largely, but not entirely, those that Dr. Brazier included in her books and articles on the history of neurophysiology, Russian neurophysiology, and calculating machines. Included are materials on approximately 500 individuals and 40 institutions. A Name Index which lists individuals represented in the collection by handwritten, typed, or printed materials, illustrations, or correspondence, and a separate Correspondence Index, can be queried through the UCLA Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division.
    Professional and personal materials make up about a tenth of the collection, and this is spotty coverage, indeed. The immense scientific output in neurophysiology is represented by bound volumes of reprints and mostly foreign language copies of some of her books, but there is no background material of notes, manuscripts, or correspondence. Other than a few annual letters of appointment and sparse activity reports, there is nothing to document the over forty years of academic life spent by Dr. Brazier in the United States. Her active immersion in the international brain and EEG community and her long-lasting and important editorial involvements are also undocumented in this collection. The great respect that her colleagues worldwide had for her does emerge from the letters that do exist here, but even these are mostly formal and focused on specific historical questions.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. History of Neurophysiology and Related Sciences, to 1950. 7.8 linear ft. (18.5 document boxes)
    • Series 2. History of Modern Neurophysiology, 1950-. 1.2 linear feet
    • Series 3. Professional and personal materials, 1930-1993. 3.3 linear ft

    Related Material

    Eighteen original photographs of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov's laboratory, given to Dr. Brazier by Professor Kupalov, are housed as Manuscript Collection No. 19 in the History and Special Collections Division of the UCLA Biomedical Library.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Brazier, Mary Agnes Burniston, 1904-1995
    History of Medicine
    Neurophysiology--Soviet Union--Biography.
    Neurosciences -- history