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THE CONTRIBUTION OF GEORGE W. BARTELMEZ TO THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF NEUROLOGY AND BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE* ANATOLE S. DEKABAN, M.DA Bartelmez's lasting contribution to human embryology and his active part in the formation of the American school of neurology constitute an interesting aspect of the recent history of medical sciences . In order to provide the necessary background for his scientific pursuits, a brief description of an important turn in the field of neurological sciences in this country at the end of the nineteenth century is given. Largely out of their own efforts and talents, in the 1890s the brothers Clarence and Charles Judson Herrick originated an evolutionary approach to the study of the structure of the nervous system. They set themselves to interpret the neural structure in the context of its function, hoping to extend the information so gained to speculation on behavior, and even psychobiology and sociology. The older brother , Clarence, was a particularly brilliant generator of ideas which he promptly put to test. Unfortunately, he had to give up all these activities prematurely because of failing health, and his brother C. J. undertook and carried out an enormous load of work for both of them [I]. C. J. Herrick's contributions during the course of seventy working years were immense; equally great has been his influence on neurology and on his contemporaries. The term "neurology" as he and his followers used it includes all scientific disciplines which contribute to the understanding of the nervous system in all living creatures . As a result of his fundamental studies, Herrick became a flag * This paper was presented at the Washington Society of the History of Medicine, October 1970. I wish to express my sincere thanks to Dr. D. Bodian for his generosity in letting me read a copy of his manuscript on George William Bartelmez, submitted to the National Academy of Sciences. The manuscript has been an invaluable source of biographical details, especially during the early phase of Bartelmez's life. t Section on Child Neurology, NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20014. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine ยท Summer 1972 | 543 George W. Bartelmez, 1885-1967 bearer of the American school of neurology renowned internationally for its excellence and its important contributions [2]. Herrick was a strong advocate of a broad multidisciplinary approach to any scientific problem. The crowning of his philosophy of science was his last book, The Evolution of Human Nature, published in 1956. He died four years later at the age of ninety-one. The American school of neurology which CJ. Herrick inspired, includes numerous close associates and students, a number of whom became outstanding scientists in their own right. Of the many distinguished contemporaries at the University of Chicago who contributed significantly to the high tradition of American neurology, the following may be mentioned: George Bartelmez, Elizabeth Crosby, Marion Hines, Percival Bailey, J. L. O'Leary, and David Bodian. Biographical Note George William Bartelmez was born on March 23, 1885 in New York City. Both his parents were of German extraction and modest financial means. At home they spoke in their native language, and it was George's task and privilege to read German historical romances to his blind grandfather [3]. After completing primary and secondary schools in New York City, he enrolled at the University College of New York University, where he received the B.S. degree in zoology in 1906. Subsequently, he worked as an assistant in the zoology department under C. L. Bristol while extending his general study to literature , chemistry, and geology. Bartelmez's insatiable curiosity in biology and his promising research work were instrumental in his receiving a fellowship in zoology at the University of Chicago. While there he worked toward a doctorate in embryology, which he received in 1910. In 1912, he married Ermine Hollis, whom he had previously met in Bermuda while working on marine biology with Professor Bristol. In the same year, Bartelmez was asked by Bensley to join his Department of Anatomy, where C. J. Herrick was already working; Bartelmez 's assignment was to develop a human embryology collection. After seven years of marriage his wife died of meningitis, leaving him in utter despair and with...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 543-550
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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