- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Eduard Arning

Born  1855-06-09
Died  1936

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German physician, born June 9, 1855, Manchester.

Biography of Eduard Arning

Eduard Arning was born in Manchester to an old patrician family in Hamburg. He was first educated by private tutors and later graduated – Abitur - from the gymnasium Johanneum in Hamburg. He studied at Heidelberg and Strassburg, where he obtained his doctorate in 1879. He spent his internship and period as hospital assistant in Strassburg under Adolf Kussmaul (1822-1902) and Oswald Kohts (1842-1912), in Berlin under the obstetrician August Eduard Martin (1847-1933) and the famous dermatologist Oskar Lassa (1849-1907), who arranged for his visit to the university skin clinic in Breslau. With Vienna, Breslau was the Mecca of German dermatology, where his teachers were Simon (1845–1882) and Albert Neisser (1855-1916).

In 1884 Arning, now a microbiologist, received a scholarship from the Königlich Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften went to Hawaii to study leprosy at the Molokai isolate for lepers, under the sponsorship of King Kalakaua. However, in 1886 he was fired, and apparently so for no good reason. Arning was considered one of the greatest experts on lepra in his time.

In 1887 Arning, now 33 years old, settled in Hamburg as a specialist in skin and venereal diseases. In 1888 he married Helene Blohm, daughter of the Hamburg patrician and merchant J. B. Blohm.

From 1906 to 1923 Arning was physician-in-chief at the department skin and venereal diseases at the Allgemeines Krankenhaus St. Georg in Hamburg. This department, established in 1877, was one of the first in its kind in Germany, and with 470 beds it was the largest department at St. Georg. A new building for the skin clinic, in which it is still housed, was completed in 1910

Before he was appointed titular professor in 1914 he had turned down invitations to become professor extraordinary at Kiel, Marburg, and Köln. When the University of Hamburg opened in 1919, Arning was appointed professor (außerplanmäßiger Extraordinarius) of dermatology. He was emerited in 1924. His work concerns lepra, syphilis and dermatology. At this time the majority of the patients suffered from sexually transmitted diseases.

Arning's most famous student and collaborator was Felix Lewandowsky (1879-1921).

Reproductions of 237 of his glass-plate photographs is in the Hawaiian Historical Society library, Honolulu.

We thank Grace E. Jacobs for information submitted.


  • Weiterer Beitrag zur Klinik und Anatomie der Neuritis leprosa. 1893.
    With Max Nonne (1861-1959
  • Etnographische Notizen Hawaii. Hamburg, 1931.
  • 1995 Eduard Arning's Hawaiian Collections.
    The Hawaiian Journal of History, Vol No. pp. 177-181.
    Smithsonian Institution, Department of Anthropology.

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