- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Wolf William Zuelzer

Born  1909
Died  1987

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German-born American haematologist, born May 24, 1909, Berlin; died March 20, 1987, Washington, DC.

Biography of Wolf William Zuelzer

This biography was submitted by Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland:

Wolf William Zuelzer was born in Berlin 24 may, 1909, to Edith and Georg Ludwig Zuelzer-Wolff (1870-1949). His father was physician, professor in Berlin and himself son of the physician Professor Wilhelm Zuelzer (1834-1893). Wolf studied French literature at Sorbonne 1927-28, then 1929-30 philosophy and Romance languages at the University of Heidelberg with Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) and Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956) as teachers. After further studies in Paris and Germany, within 6 months of completing a PhD, he abruptly switched to medicine in 1930. He studied medicine at Bonn and Berlin until he was expelled from this university in 1933. He achieved his studies at the German University of Prague, where he earned his M.D. degree in 1935. Then he immigrated to the United States. After a paediatric internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a year as an unpaid volunteer in pathology at the Boston Children's Hospital under Dr. Sidney Farber he went 1941 to Detroit. At the Chicago Children's Hospital he was trained in pathology and paediatrics under Dr. Joseph Brenneman. In 1945 he was appointed as assistant professor of pathology and paediatrics, in 1947 as professor of paediatric research. In 1949 he received the Mead Johnson Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for discovery of megaloblastic anaemia of childhood. From 1955 to 1975 he was director of the Child Research Center and medical director of the Michigan community Blood Center. From 1976 to 1979 he leaded the division of Blood Diseases and Resources of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. In 1976 he received the Grove Rasmussen Award of the American Association of Blood Banks.

In Zuelzer he published a book about the German physician, philosopher and pacifist Georg Friedrich Nicolai (1874-1964).

He had two daughters with his first wife, Margery Jenks (1910-1966) which he married in 1938. In 1965 he married Ruby I. Thompson. He died 1987, March 20 of leukaemia in Washington, D.C.


  • Acute hemolytic anemia due to naphthalene poisoning. A clinical and experimental study. With L. Apt.
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1949, 141: 185-190.
  • Der Fall Nicolai. Frankfurt am Main 1981.
    English translation: The Nicolai case : a biography. Detroit 1982.
  • Pediatric Hematology in Historical Perspective. In: David G. Nathan, Stuart H. Orkin, Frank H. Oski, editors: Nathan & Oski's Hematology of Infancy and Childhood. 5th Edition. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 1998, pp 3­17.

  • International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-1945.
    München: K. G. Saur, 1983. Volume 2, part 2, pp. 1285-1286
  • Audrey K. Brown:
    Dr. Wolf W. Zuelzer – a unique phenotype.
    Presentation of the Howland Award 1985.
    Pediatric Research, 1985 19: 1365-1368.
  • Howard A. Pearson:
    History of Pediatric Hematology Oncology. Pediatric Research, 2002, 52: 979-992.

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