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Adrian C. Kanaar M.D. Papers.1940-2001
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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
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Adrian C. Kanaar, M.D. Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1940-2001
    Collection number: 106
    Creator: Kanaar, Adrian Charles 1904-2001
    Extent: 2 boxes (1.0 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. Kanaar was a British-born and -trained surgeon who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War II, in France and Belgium up to the retreat at Dunkirk, in various battlefield locations after D-day, and in Berlin during the occupation. This collection focuses mostly on his non-medical writings, namely descriptions of his war experiences in Europe and of the conditions he observed there. Included are several typescripts of two unpublished books: 1. "War-time reflections by a British Army surgeon", which was based partly on a series of talks given by Capt. Kanaar during three months spent in the United States while on special leave; 2. "The Sign of the Hammer and Sickle " which is also partly based on wartime experiences; 3. typescripts of a number of published and unpublished essays, articles, and letters to newspapers. The bulk of the collection dates to 1940-1948.
    Physical location: Southern Regional Library Facility
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, History & Special Collections for the Sciences. 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 where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Adrian C. Kanaar, M.D. papers (Manuscript collection 106). 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: 6661410 

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was a gift from Dr. Margaret H. Jones-Kanaar to the UCLA Biomedical Library.


    Adrian C. Kanaar, MD, MRCP (London), FRCS (Edinburgh) (1911-1993) qualified M.B. at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, in 1934, received a B.S. from London University in 1936, had surgical training at Edinburgh University, and was awarded the M.D. from the British Postgraduate Medical School in 1939. That year he was called to active service with the Royal Army Medical Corps and was active in France and Belgium through the retreat at Dunkirk; he returned to the Continent after D-Day and served in various stations, including occupied Berlin. On special leave in 1942 in the U.S., Captain Kanaar began a series of talks about his war experiences, wanting to foster Anglo-American cooperation and to clear up what he felt were misconceptions about the war and about the British. These talks evolved into some of the manuscript chapters included in this collection. His experiences in Germany after the war's end, and especially his impressions of the administration in the Russian zone, are described in the second major manuscript in this collection, and in many of the shorter pieces.
    In 1948 Dr. Kanaar had the honor of presenting a Hunterian lecture to the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Shortly thereafter he and his wife and son emigrated to Eastern Canada where he practiced orthopedic surgery and physical medicine. In 1959 he moved to Buffalo, NY, to become Director of Physical Medicine, Department of Public Health, and Associate Professor at the University of Buffalo Medical School. In 1964, the year he became a US citizen, the family moved to Poughkeepsie, NY, where he maintained a private practice in physical medicine and rehabilitation until his retirement in 1984. He was active in and cited for community leadership in physical fitness, and was a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He published widely in the fields of rehabilitation and fitness, and practiced what he preached: as a young man he made two attempts to swim the English Channel, coming within a mile and a half of his goal; at age 74, he swam the 28.5 miles around New York City's Manhattan Island. He stated that the Channel swims were motivated by the wish to demonstrate that a dedicated Christian could also be an athlete and a strong individual.
    After the death of his wife of 47 years, Dr. Kanaar retired and moved to Pacific Palisades, California. There he met and married Margaret H. [Holden] Jones, MD in 1989.

    Scope and Content

    The collection focuses mainly on Dr. Kanaar's non-medical writings for 1940-1948, namely accounts of his experiences and observations in Europe during World War II and the subsequent occupation of Germany. There are various typescripts of two unpublished works, "United we stand: war-time reflections of a British Army surgeon", covering his service from the war's beginning through the evacuation from Dunkirk; and "The sign of the Hammer and Sickle", focusing more on the time of the occupation. Also included are a number of published and unpublished commentaries, letters to newspapers, and articles by Kanaar.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Professional Activities. 3 folders
    • Series 2. Personal Beliefs and Accounts. 12 folders
    • Series 4. Personal Information. 4 folders

    Indexing Terms

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


    Jones, Margaret Holden, 1904-2001.
    Kanaar, Adrian Charles -- Manuscripts.
    Physicians--Personal Narratives.
    World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, English.