History

The Ernest & Marion Davis Library opened in 1961 as the main Medical Library for Auckland Hospital. Sir Ernest Davis had donated the building to the Medical Profession in the memory of his wife Marion together with an endowment fund to support the running of the library.

In 1980 the bulk of the books were transferred to the new Philson Library in the School of Medicine. At that time the building was modified to provide Postgraduate facilities which include a Lecture Hall, Dining Room and Meeting Rooms. The remaining space was reorganised to include a collection of Medical Historical books and the acquisition of Historical medical artefacts. This includes twp superb collections of ancient Apothecary Jars, numerous microscopes, instruments, assorted artworks and ephemera.

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James Lister Newman MD (Cam) DPH(Eng) FRCP FRACP
1903-1983

James Newman was born in London in 1903. Educated at Shrewsbury School, he was a brilliant classics scholar and left Magdalen College, Cambridge with Hons. National Sciences Tripos. After qualifying in Medicine at Kings College Hospital in 1927, he became a Visiting Physician in Chichester and was later given wartime responsibility for the Coventry Ambulance Services.

He emigrated to New Zealand in 1947 to the Department of Health in Whangarei but tired of the bureaucracy and moved to Green Lane Hospital as medical registrar, 1951, then Medical Tutor and Physician there, and later Medical Superintendent, Cornwall Geriatric and Green Lane Hospitals. He championed the cause of the elderly and became known as the “Father of Gerontology” in New Zealand.

For many years, James, was also Editor of the New Zealand Family Doctor, and wrote a weekly Medical Column in the New Zealand Herald until the time of his death on October 17, 1983.

He presented a number of papers to the Society, which is generously supported by the James Newman Fund, established by his family in 1984.

His interest in medical history is given substance in his fine collection of Apothecaries’ Jars which graces the foyer of the Ernest and Marion Davis Library.

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