Sir William Osler Portrait by Seymour Thomas and Other Osler-Related Papers, 1946-1986

Processed by Pat L. Walter.
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
History and Special Collections Division
12-077 Center for Health Sciences
Box 951798
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1798
Phone: 310/825-6940
Fax: 310/825-0465
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Sir William Osler Portrait by Seymour Thomas and Other Osler-Related Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1946-1986
Collection number: 181
Creator: Belt, M.D., Elmer Goodwin, M.D., William E.
Extent: 0.5 linear feet (1 document box)
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: From the original Osler portrait he had painted and exhibited in 1909, the prominent American portraitist S. Seymour Thomas also painted a replica. Elmer Belt, M.D., instrumental in the founding of the UCLA School of Medicine and its staunch supporter, provided the initiative to raise funds for purchase of this replica and arranged its presentation to the UCLA School of Medicine by Thomas at the August 1951 opening ceremony of the new school. This collection consists of documents about the original portrait, and the acquisition and presentation of the replica hung at UCLA. There is also one folder of Osleriana assembled by Elmer Belt and letters to and from him and Willard Goodwin, M.D., Belt's nephew, who inherited the papers and gave them to the UCLA Biomedical Library.
Physical location: Department of History and Special Collections, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles. The portrait is now displayed in the History Department's reading room.
Language of Material: Collection materials in English


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

Conditions of Use

Publication Rights

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Sir William Osler portrait by Seymour Thomas and other Osler-related papers (Manuscript collection 181). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University of California, Los Angeles.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4430905 

Acquisition Information

Gift of Willard E. Goodwin, M.D., of Los Angeles, probably in the mid-1980s. The painting was transferred to the Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, where it is presently displayed, on October 20, 2005.


S. Seymour Thomas was born on Aug. 20, 1868 in San Augustine, Texas and died in Mar. 1956. He studied at the Art Students League (1885-88) and at the Academie Julien, Paris (1888-91); was a pupil of Jules Lefebre and Benjamin Constant; and settled in La Crescenta, CA, near Los Angeles. He won honorary mention (1895) and gold medals (1901 and 1904) at the Paris Salon, and was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, 1905. His memberships included the Paris Society of American Painters, the Los Angeles Art Association, Pasadena Art Society, and the Academy of Western Painters.
Elmer Belt, M.D., renowned Los Angeles urologist and bibliophile, was highly instrumental in the founding of the UCLA School of Medicine and he proved a very good friend to that institution for the rest of his life. Through his initiative the opening ceremony for the new school included the presentation of a portrait of Sir William Osler by the artist, Seymour Thomas. Mr. Thomas had exhibited the widely-lauded original in Paris in 1909 and kept it in his home until shortly before his death in 1956; but he had also painted a replica, and Belt raised the money to have that replica presented and hung at UCLA.
William E. Goodwin, M.D., also a urologist and nephew of Dr. Belt, inherited his uncle's interest in Osler. He also inherited a folder of papers relating to both the original and the replica of the portrait. and some other Osler-related material, which he gave to the UCLA Biomedical Library probably in the mid-1980s.

Scope and Content

The papers are not numerous, filling less than half of a document box. One folder pertains to the original portrait in Oxford, England. Another pertains to the replica hung in the Medical School lobby at UCLA. In addition, there are letters from and to Drs. Belt and Goodwin, and a few Osler-related reprints.

Related Material

A collection of S. Seymour Thomas' papers is held by UCLA Young Research Library Special Collections Dept. as Collection 162.
A collection of Dr. Belt's correspondence, photographs, etc. is held by the UCLA Arts Library.

Indexing Terms

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


Belt, Elmer, 1893-1980.
Goodwin, Willard E., 1915-
Osler, William, Sir, 1849-1919.
Thomas, Stephen Seymour, 1868-1956.

Container List

Box 1, Folder 1

Seymour Thomas' portrait of Sir William Osler at Oxford. 1969-1986

Scope and Content Note

1) "The Hunt for Osler's Portrait," by A.H.T.R.-S. [Alastair H.T. Robb-Smith]: six-page single-spaced, legal-sized typed account of the history of Sir William Osler's D.Sc. robe, and the location of the Seymour Thomas Osler portrait in Oxford; 2) correspondence between Robb-Smith and WEG; additional information on the portrait from D. M. Bueno de Mesquita, Dr. William McMenemey, and Dr. Earl F. Nation
Box 1, Folder 2

Acquisition of the UCLA portrait replica from the artist, Seymour Thomas. 1950-1961, 1986

Scope and Content Note

1) correspondence between Dr. Elmer Belt and various donors; 2) correspondence between Belt and UCLA School of Medicine Dean Stafford Warren and Chancellor Franklin Murphy; 3) follow-up letters between Goodwin and Dean Sherman Mellinkoff
Box 1, Folder 3

Osler-related correspondence from and to Elmer Belt. 1946-1978

Scope and Content Note

correspondents are: Willard E. Goodwin, Franklin Murphy, Earl F. Nation, Joseph H. Pratt, Charles G. Roland
Box 1, Folder 4

"William Osler and Howard A. Kelly, Physicians, Medical Historians, Friends", by Willard E. Goodwin. 1946

Scope and Content Note

subtitle: "as revealed by nineteen letters from Osler to Kelly"; in: "Bulletin of the History of Medicine", 20(5): 611-652, Dec. 1946
Box 1, Folder 5

"Sir William Osler and the Mayo Clinic," by Thomas E. Keys. 1960

Scope and Content Note

"Proceedings of the Staff Meetings of the Mayo Clinic", 35(9): 229-238, Apr. 27, 1960
Box 1, Folder 6

Newsletters. 1961, 1974

Scope and Content Note

1) "The Osler Society of McGill University Newsletter", 2(2), Dec. 1961 (5 p., mimeographed); 2) "Osler Library Newsletter", no. 15, Feb. 1974, no. 16, Jun. 1974
Box 1, Folder 7

The William Osler Medal of the American Association of the History of Medicine.

Scope and Content Note

printed announcement and cover letter
Box 1, Folder 8

Newspaper clipping.

Scope and Content Note

"A Look at the Book," by Everybody, M.D.; from: "The Los Angeles Examiner"