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, 1 (1), 58-70

The Oldham Notebooks: An Analysis of the Development of IVF 1969-1978. VI. Sources of Support and Patterns of Expenditure


The Oldham Notebooks: An Analysis of the Development of IVF 1969-1978. VI. Sources of Support and Patterns of Expenditure

Martin H Johnson et al. Reprod Biomed Soc Online.


Three major sources of financial support for the research undertaken by Edwards, Steptoe and Purdy between 1969 and 1978 are identified: the Ford Foundation, Oldham and District General Hospital (ODGH) Management Committee, and Miss Lillian Lincoln Howell via the American Friends of Cambridge University. Significant possible financial support from the World Health Organization was also identified. In addition, evidence of support in kind from GD Searle and Co. plus staff at ODGH was found. Expenditure on salaries of staff at Oldham was negligible, as most volunteered their time outside of their official paid duties. Work in Cambridge was evidently funded largely from Ford Foundation grants, as was Edwards' salary and probably that of Purdy. Clinical costs seem to have been largely borne by ODGH. The funds from Lillian Lincoln Howell supported travel and accommodation costs plus office costs. Overall, Edwards, Steptoe and Purdy achieved reasonable support for the programme of research, despite the initial rejection of funding by the Medical Research Council. However, this was at the expense of considerable inconvenience to Purdy and Edwards, and depended upon the good will of staff led by Muriel Harris in Oldham, who donated their time and expertise. As a result of our research, we conclude that, to Edwards, Steptoe and Purdy, should be added the names of two other hitherto neglected people who were essential to the success of this pioneering research: namely Muriel Harris and Lillian Lincoln Howell.

Keywords: Ford Foundation; IVF expenditure and grants; Lillian Lincoln Howell; Muriel Harris; Oldham and District General Hospital.


Figure 1
Figure 1
(a) Muriel Harris (courtesy of John Fallows, who has copyright), and (b) Lillian Lincoln Howell (from her obituary at
Figure 2
Figure 2
Verses penned by Lillian Lincoln Howell.

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