Fonds 3 - Charles G. Roland fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Charles G. Roland fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of records.

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Reference code

ON00425 3

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1847-2009, predominant 1960-2001 (Creation)
    Roland, Charles Gordon

Physical description area

Physical description

Ca. 5.1 m of textual records (includes 18 v.) and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1933 - 2009)

Biographical history

Charles (Chuck) Gordon Roland was a physician, writer, medical historian, and the first Hannah Chair for the History of Medicine at McMaster University. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1933, Dr. Roland studied at the University of Toronto before completing his medical degree at the University of Manitoba. He was a general practitioner in Tillsonburg and Grimsby, Ontario from 1958 to 1964. Following this, Dr. Roland took various roles in teaching, writing, and editing in America, including senior editorship at the Journal of the American Medical Association, lecturing at Northwestern University, and assisting in developing the Mayo Clinic’s medical school, initially holding associate professorship prior to chairing its Department of Biomedical Communications. He became the inaugural Hannah Professor for the History of Medicine at McMaster University in 1977, and retired in 1999. Dr. Roland passed on June 9, 2009, at the age of 76.

Dr. Roland’s research and writing produced a large corpus of work, and he was involved with various associations during his career, including the Toronto Medical History Society and the American Osler Society. Dr. Roland conducted over three hundred oral history interviews pertaining to the history of medicine in wartime, in Canada, and the formation of McMaster University’s School of Medicine. His extensive work regarding wartime medicine in particular produced two monographs about the clandestine Warsaw ghetto medical school, and the experiences of Prisoners-of-War in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. His other research interests included the medical histories of Canada and Hamilton, and Sir William Osler.

Dr. Roland’s published works include biographies of notable figures in Canadian medical history, Courage under Siege: starvation, disease, and death in the Warsaw ghetto, Long Night’s Journey into Day, bibliographies in the history of Canadian medicine, and many publications related to his research on Sir William Osler. Dr. Roland edited and/or wrote for the Journal of the American Medical Association, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Clinical Cardiology, Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, the Journal of Anesthesia and Analgesia, and various other medical journals.

Custodial history

Material arrived at the archives through a series of donations between 1994 and 2009. The material donated prior to 2009 was likely donated by Dr. Roland. The material donated after his passing in 2009 was likely donated by his family.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records documenting Dr. Roland’s activities as a medical historian. The bulk of the material was created or collected by Dr. Roland while he was McMaster’s Hannah Chair. Included are oral history transcripts, audio cassettes, correspondence, photographs, prints, maps, patient records, translated documents, memoirs, play scripts, diaries and one artifact.

Fonds is arranged into the following series: 1: Oral histories, 2: Photographs, 3: Correspondence, 4: Research material : Warsaw Ghetto / Holocaust, 5: Research material : prisoners of war in Asia (Second World War), 6: Research material : prisoners of war in Europe (Second World War), 7: Research material : McMaster / Hamilton medical history, 8: Research material : Canadian medical history, 9: Research Material : general, 10: Mountain Sanatorium patient files (restricted).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Series are arranged in thematic or received order based upon state prior to processing. Received order was retained when possible, with implementation of a thematic order when original order was conspicuously not present.

Language of material

  • Dutch
  • English
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Russian

Script of material

    Location of originals

    Availability of other formats

    Restrictions on access

    Partially closed.

    Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

    Finding aids

    Finding aids for some series are available by request to Archivist.

    Associated materials

    The bulk of Dr. Roland’s research relating to Sir William Osler is held in the Charles G. Roland Fonds at McGill University.

    Related materials


    General note

    An oral history interview with Dr. Roland is in accession 2019-005.

    General note

    Approximately 2 metres of textual and photographic records were removed in processing, the majority being duplicates of material held by other institutions. These duplicates were created for Dr. Roland’s use, and those unaltered were not retained. Materials were predominantly from the American National Archives and Records Administration, Yad Vashem Archive, Library and Archives Canada, the British Imperial War Museum, and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.

    General note

    Accessions: 1994-044

    Physical description

    Includes ca. 1772 photographs, 55 maps, 371 audio cassettes, and 1 box.

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