ILA Global Project on the History of Leprosy

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'Leprosy Archives - Preserve Them!' online booklet
Bios, abstracts, publications and contact details of academics in the field of leprosy  
Images from leprosy history and the present day
Historic maps with links to database entries  
Bulletin board for notices and publications  
Information on the International Leprosy Association  
Add your details to our database  
List of established publications  
Members of the project steering group  
Acknowledgements to Contributors to the project  

The Project


The Global Project on the History of Leprosy is the initiative of the International Leprosy Association. The project is fully funded by the Nippon Foundation and it is based at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford. The Project is developing a database of leprosy archives around the world, as a working tool for researchers who are interested in the modern history of leprosy, dating from 1847, when Danielssen and Boeck published Om Spedalskhed. It will also be of interest to those connected with leprosy and its impact.

The collections mentioned on the database have a wide range of organisational, policy, scientific and medical archives as well as leprosaria records, museums and libraries. Also included are private collections of those who have worked in the field and collections of testimonies from people affected by the disease. The project does not hold any of these records, but provides information of their existence and whereabouts. While the database creates pathways for researchers, the project will both encourage the preservation of archives and establish a network of researchers.

The project also aims to ensure that the voices of people affected by leprosy are heard, and now through the efforts of Anwei Law and IDEA, the project also has an Oral History Project. These webpages "bring life" to the archival aspects of the project by testifying to the expereinces of people who have been affected by the disease.

If you would like to be in touch with other researchers or people interested in the history of leprosy, please email us at, or contact us by letter, telephone or fax.

Latest Additions

The Oral History Project of the Global Project on the History of Leprosy adds another dimension to the history of leprosy.

Japan Law Foundation, Verification Committee Concerning Hansen's Disease Problem: Final Report (Summary Version), March 2005

This report, which can be read in summary, by following the link above, is “To verify scientifically and historically the reason why the segregation policy was implemented against patients with Hansen’s disease for such a long time. It reports on the reality of the human rights violations caused by the Japanese segregation policy. It also makes recommendations and proposals to prevent a recurrence.

Call for Archives

Entries are constantly being added to the database, but there is still so much more to find and record. If you own or are aware of archives that relate to the history of leprosy, please contact us. You may also tell us about the archives using a printout of the form on this site.

The term archive is used here to signify organisational, policy, scientific and medical documents; leprosaria records, museums and libraries, and personal collections of those who have worked in the field.


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Page last updated 10 October 2003

© 2002 ILA Global Project on the History of Leprosy



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