Source of the Month: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Nutrition Collection

Josh Levy Discussion

October’s source of the month is a primary source archive of historical records relating to scientific investigations in the field of nutrition, created and collected by staff at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine between the 1940s and 1990s. This collection consists of 310 boxes of materials relating to LSHTM nutrition research. Although the vast majority of the collection is not available online, portions have been digitized and can be made available to researchers by staff. The nutrition collection is more fully described here, and additional information about the collection can be accessed at this link.

The material ranges from raw data and evaluative work to teaching material and background research papers. Collection items originate from nearly every country in the world, with a greater emphasis on the former British Colonies. Much of the material relates to specific projects and campaigns carried out across the globe. The collection is particularly rich in material relating to research on obesity, malnutrition, protein requirements, Second World War diets, health promotion, and the diets or health of specific groups, including children, teenagers, prisoners of war, and the elderly.

In addition to material from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Pacific regions, there is a large slide collection formerly used by the LSHTM Department of Human Nutrition for lectures and teaching. There is material concerning the administration of the Department and the Applied Nutrition Unit, as well as significant collections resulting from the work of individual Professors of Nutrition, namely Professors Platt, Waterlow, Payne, and Shetty.

Items include recipe cards produced by the Ministry of Food during the Second World War, obesity research, diets of prisoners of war, and diaries documenting research trips undertaken by nutrition researchers. There is also a significant amount of “gray” literature; government reports from Africa, Asia, and the Americas; and a small collection of maps.

Explore more London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine archival collections at this link.

Would you like to suggest a Source of the Month, or contribute to the H-Nutrition bibliography? Contact Josh Levy at For more resources on the history of nutrition, please see H-Nutrition's Zotero library: