Four covers, with illustrated fronts and reverses, were found at an auction site, and all four were sent from Melbourne to London, between March 1897 and May 1898. Only the first cover was sent to a private address of 4 Endsleigh Gardens London N.W., whereas the other three were addressed to the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London W.C. Whereas the first two covers gave no clue as to the identity of the person addressed, the third and fourth had the letters ‘F.R.C.S.’ (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, London) added to the name. The third cover was dated April 6, 1898, and Madden received this fellowship on March 10 th 1898, so the news traveled fast to Australia.

The four beautifully illustrated covers speak for themselves, they were probably all drawn by the same unidentified person, and they were delightfully appropriate for showing to sick children. There were no enclosures (Figures 1 to 8).

 A request to the Royal College of Surgeons, London provided the following information: “Madden was only employed at The Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street for a relatively short period as a junior surgeon. F. Cole Madden was appointed to the post of House Surgeon for 6 months from 5 May to 4 November 1897 at the April 30 meeting of the Hospital’s Joint (Appointments) Committee. At the Committee’s June 30 meeting he was appointed as Resident Medical Superintendent for 1 year, from 1 August 1897 to1 August 1898. The Medical Committee minutes of 6 July 1898 indicate that the meeting was informed of his resignation, on being appointed to a Hospital post in Cairo, although he agreed to stay on as RMS until the end of October as a locum. He appears in two group photographs of the resident medical staff, one of his contemporaries being G.F.Still, the founder of modern pediatrics”. A request for a photo yielded no response.

I was offered more biographical data for a fee of £10, and within a week I was rewarded with more information than a general audience needs, but wholly absorbing to a retired health professional. The data were found in a College publication (Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows), but was derived in part from ‘The Times’, April 27 1929, the day after his tragic death. What follows is a severely pruned excerpt: MADDEN, FRANK COLE (1873-1929). O.B.E.; C.M.G., 1929; M.R.C.S. Nov 12, 1896; F.R.C.S., March 10, 1898; M.B., Ch.B. Melbourne (Hons) 1893; M.D., 1904. A most impressive accumulation of medical degrees (the first at age 20) and of civil honours.

Born in Melbourne on March 2nd, 1873, son of D.H. Madden of Sydney, educated at Scotch College and Melbourne University, served as Senior House Surgeon and Medical Superintendent at the Melbourne Hospital in 1894, then went to St. Mary’s Hospital, London and gained an Exhibition in surgery and gynaecology, the Beaney Scholarship in Surgery, and was proxime accessit (runner-up) for the Beaney Scholarship in Pathology. The experience at Great Ormond Street followed, as described above.

In 1898 he went to Egypt as an assistant (later senior) surgeon in a major hospital in Cairo, followed by a Professorship of Surgery at the Royal School of Medicine, and during WWI he was attached to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 1915-18, and received the Order of the British Empire for his services in the war. He was particularly interested in and published papers on tropical parasitic diseases as well as ‘The Surgery of Egypt’. At the time of his death, March 26, 1929 he was Rector of the State University, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Emeritus Professor at the University of Cairo. He was survived by his wife Madeline (née Cox), 2 sons and 2 daughters. “He died at Cairo by his own hand”.

“Madden was a man of boundless energy who did much to raise the standard of practical surgical and medical education in Egypt. Conscientious to a fault, his industry and devotion to duty were an example to all with whom he was brought in contact.” A wonderful photograph of Madden shown with other staff members of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, taken between 1895 and 1898 is shown (Figure 9).

I acknowledge the research provided by Tina Craig, Deputy Head of Library and Information Services, Royal College of Surgeons of England as well as Nicholas Baldwin, Archivist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, who provided Figure 9.

Addendum (July 2009):   Over a couple of years, more of the Dr. Madden correspondence has come available, and I am adding another 10 scans, without comments.

The only clue as to the artist is the finding of the ininitials, as below:

Addendum (April 2010): A family member has communicated with me as follow: He (Frank) is my great-grandfather. The illustrated covers were drawn by Frank’s younger sister Theresa, or Tressie as she was always known. Frank Madden was born in 1873 and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. His parents having emigrated from Dublin (father) and Lincolnshire (mother) in the early 1850s. He trained as a doctor, before moving to London to study at St. Mary’s Hospital. He was appointed to the Kasr el-Ainy hospital in Cairo in 1898 and devoted his life to medical practice in Egypt.”

“Tressie wrote to him regularly with news from Australia and often illustrated the envelopes and sent drawing and pictures. Frank Madden married Madeline Cox, the daughter of a Gloucestershire GP, and they had 4 children, John, William, Mary and Clare. John went on to work in the colonial service in the Sudanese Political office and William (my grandfather) joined Shell Oil working in Mexico and Venezuela (where my father was born). All of Frank’s descendants now live in England.”

“Tragically, Frank Madden took his own life on 26 April 1929, probably due to over work and what we now call stress. It was a terrific shock for the family and his wife Madeline never fully recovered. She had returned to England just 2 weeks beforehand.”

“I took an interest in the family history 15 years ago when I was in my twenties and had always heard about a case of family letters, written either by Frank Madden or to Frank Madden from his sister Tressie in Australia. In the early 1970s one of my father’s cousins visited Tressie (she was in her 90s) in Sydney and she gave him a case of letters to take back to the family in England. At some point those letters were lost. We could never find them and enquiries around the extended family were inconclusive. We thought that they might have been thrown away, probably during house clearance after Frank’s daughter Mary or Clare died. They would have been such a treasure trove of Frank’s life in Egypt and the family in Australia.”

“I have attached a photo of Dr Frank Madden in later life with his wife Madeline and 4 children.”

Categories: Cartoons, Health Sciences