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Francis Gottfred Harbitz

Born  1867
Died  1950

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Norwegian physician, born June 18, 1867, Christiania; died 1950.

Biography of Francis Gottfred Harbitz

Francis Harbitz, the son of a merchant, graduated (artium) from High School in Kristiania in 1885 and completed his medical education at the Det Kongelige Frederiks Universitet (University of Kristiania) in 1892.

He established practice in Kristiania in 1894 and in October that year received a position at the National Hospital (Rikshospitalet) as a subordinate physician and assistant at the pathological-anatomical institute under professor Hjalmar Heiberg (1837-1897). In 1896 he worked as an epidemiologist during a typhys epidemic. In 1897 he began lecturing on general pathological anatomy and gave a series of demonstrations on saturdays. From January 1898 he also gave lectures and demonstrations on forensic medicine.

Harbitz received the medical doctorate on November 13. 1897 for a dissertation on endocarditis. On June 30, 1900, he was appointed professor of pathological anatomy, general pathology and forensic medicine at his alma mater.

During his career Harbitz was physician to several insurance companies. From 1900 he was a member of the forensic medicine commission, and in 1908 he became chairman of the state odontological policlinic and the next year also of the state odontological institute. He was a member of the Medical Society of Kristiania from 1894.

Harbitz made several educational journeys abroad, particulary for the study education in pathological anatomy and forensic medicine. In 1898 hevisited Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in 1902 German and Swiss universities, as well as Sweden and Finland. In 1905 he spent ten months in England (particularly London) and Scotland. Later he also visited universities in Holland, germany and Denmark, and 1908 spent two montha in the USA to take part in a conference on tuberculosis inPhiladelphia, and visit a number of American universities.

In 1937 his tenure ws split into two chairs, one of pathological anatomy and general pathology, and one of forensic medicine, the latter with Georg Vaaler as professor.

During 1938 and 1941 he was a deputy teacher of patholocial and general anatomy at the Norges Veterinærhøiskole – the school of veterinary medicine.

Harbitz was a member of a large number of committees and advisory boards, and a member of several foreign medical societies. He was one of the editors of the journal Acta pathologica et micobiologica scandinavica which appeared from 1925. From 1909 to 1911 he was dean of the medical faculty in Kristiania. 1920-1922 he was a member of the city council of Kristiania.

On June 30, 1925, Harbitz was made a Knight of the Order Of St. Olav for Scientific Merit.

On december 29, 1897 Harbitz married Alma Borchgrevink (born 1871). They had two boys and three girls.

We thank Malcolm Smith for correcting an error.


  • Isidor Fischer, publisher:
    Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte der letzten fünfzig Jahre.
    Berlin – Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1932.
  • Øivind Larsen, editor:
    Norges leger. Den norske lægeforening. Oslo, 1996. Volume 2, pp. 511-518.

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