McEvedy, Colin 1930–2005

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McEvedy, Colin 1930–2005

(Colin Peter McEvedy)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 6, 1930, in Salford, Lancashire, England; died of myelofibrosis, August 1, 2005, in London, England. Psychiatrist, historian, demographer, and author. Although his vocation was that of a hospital psychiatrist, McEvedy spent his spare time as an historical demographer and author of historical atlases. Earning a B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1948, his education continued with a B.M. and B.Ch. in 1955. He then went to work at Guy's Hospital for a year before joining the Royal Air Force in 1956. His military service was largely spent testing the effects of oxygen deprivation on pilots at the Royal Aircraft Establishment. McEvedy then was hired by Maudsley Hospital, where he received training in psychiatry. Earning a diploma in psychology from London University in 1963, he then went to Middlesex Hospital while completing a D.M. in 1970 at Oxford; his doctoral thesis was on the subject of hysteria. From 1972 until he retired in 1995, McEvedy was a consult-ing psychiatrist at both St. Bernard's Hospital in Southall, England, and Ealing Hospital. All through his years as a student and professional psychiatrist, McEvedy was engrossed by history. However, he had no desire to become an academic because he felt university life would constrain his choice of research and writing subjects. He was fascinated in particular by demographics: changes in population and civilization's growth over the millennia. This led to his publication of numerous historical atlases. Among these are The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History (1967), Atlas of African History (1980), and The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Pacific (1998). McEvedy's work was based on existing research and publications, though his conclusions at times were considered quite original, such as his assertion that historians tend to exaggerate population numbers in ancient cities.



Independent (London, England), August 30, 2005, p. 30.

Times (London, England), August 13, 2005, p. 66.