Ludwig Edinger

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Ludwig Edinger (1915 photo).

Ludwig Edinger (13 April 1855 – 26 January 1918) was an influential German anatomist and neurologist and co-founder of the University of Frankfurt. In 1914 he was also appointed the first German professor of neurology.

Edinger was born and grew up in Worms, where his father was a successful textile salesman and democratic congressman in the state parliament of Hesse-Darmstadt. His mother was the daughter of a physician from Karlsruhe. He was not ashamed that he started his career as a poor man. Indeed, he proposed free schooling for all children in 1873, but without success.

Edinger studied medicine from 1872 to 1877 in Heidelberg and Strasbourg. His studies into neurology began during his time as an assistant physician in Giessen (1877 - 1882). His habilitation was in 1881 about neurological researches. He became a docent for these themes. He worked in Berlin, Leipzig and Paris and opened his own practice for neurology in Frankfurt am Main in 1883.

Due to Edingers initiative in 1885, the pathologist Karl Weigert became director of the Dr. Senckenbergischen Anatomie in Frankfurt. Weigert had had problems in other places with antisemitism. Weigert gave his friend Edinger a place to work in his institute. In 1902, Edinger received enough space to start his own neurological department.

In 1909, after a dispute between Edinger and the Senkenberg foundation about the finances of the neurological institute, Edinger moved to the University of Frankfurt. In his certificate of appointment as professor was the clause that he was responsible for the financing of the department. His problems had eased in 1886, when he married Anna Goldschmidt, the daughter of an old family of traditional Jewish bankers in Frankfurt; she received a large inheritance in 1906.

Edinger died suddenly on January 26, 1918 in Frankfurt of a heart attack. He had instructed that his brain was examined in his institute. The institute continued with the introduction of a foundation set-up by Edinger. The neurological department of the medicine faculty of the University of Frankfurt is named after him.

Works[edit]

  • Mein Lebensgang. Erinnerungen eines Frankfurter Arztes und Hirnforschers, Kramer, Oberursel 2005, ISBN 3-7829-0561-X