Biography of Hermann Lebert
Hermann Lebert, whose original name has been given as Lewy, was born in Breslau, where his parents, at home in Berlin, had fled for a brief period of time to escape war conditions. He studied medicin and the natural sciences, his favourite study, first in Berlin, later in Zurich under Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864). After receiving his medical doctorate at Zurich in 1834, he travelled Switzerland studying botany, and for the next 1 1/2 years studied in Paris, particularly under Baron Guillaume Dupuytren (1777-1835) and Pierre-Charles-Alexandre Louis, (1787-1872). In 1838 he settled in Bex, in the Swiss Canton of Vaud (German: Waadt). Later he changed between Bex and Paris. The winter semesters 1842 to 1845 he spent mainly on work in comparative anatomy, in which he had become interested while travelling the coast of Normandy and the Channel Islands with Charles-Philippe Robin (1821-1885), then still a student. Travelling on a government assignment, they collected specimens for Musée Orfila - the museum of comparative anatomy that Mathéo-José-Bonaventure Orfila (1787-1853) wished to establish in Paris.
Following a stay in Berlin during the winter of 1845-1846 Lebert settled in Paris, devoting his efforts both to his practice and scientific work. In 1853 he accepted an invitation to become professor of clinical medicine in Zurich, and in 1859 moved on to the same tenure in Breslau. In 1874 he returned to Bex, spending the remainders of his life there as well as partly in Vevey and Nice.
Lebert was among the first to use the microscope in pathological anatomy, and thus contributed importantly to both pathology and clinical medicine.
In his autobiography, published in 1869, Lebert lists 101 larger works and other scientific treatises. Besides medical works he published works in biology, one of them being his doctoral dissertation, on the mouth organs of the gastropods and observations on fungus diseases of flies.
- Diss. de Gentianis in Helvetia sponte nascentibus.
Doctoral dissertation; Zurich, 1834.
- Physiologie pathologique.
2 volumes and atlas. Paris, Baillière, 1845.
One of the earliest and most important atlases of pathological histology. Lebert’s work played an important role in introducing the cellular idea of pathology, laying the ground for Virchow’s theories.
- Ueber Gehirnabscesse. [Virchows] Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin, Berlin, 1856, 10: 78-109, 352-400, 426-468.
- Traité d’anatomie pathologique générale et spéciale.
2 volumes. Paris, Baillière, 1857 and 1861.
Lebert set out to cover both general and special pathology. The superb hand-coloured copperplate engravings of macro- and micropathology in this work are among the finest ever published.
- Handbuch der praktischen Medicin.
2 volumes. Tübingen, 1855, 1856.
- Handbuch der allgemeinen Pathologie und Therapie etc. Tübingen, 1865.
- Quelques expériences sur la transmission par inoculation des tubercules.
Bulletin de l’Académie de médecine, Paris, 1866, 32: 119-151.
On his attempts to transmit tuberculosis to guinea pigs and rabbits.
- Grundzüge der ärztlichen Praxis. 3 Liefer., 1866.
- Traité pratique des maladies scrofuleuses et tuberculeuses etc. Ouvr., Paris, 1849. German translation by Reinhold Köhler (1826-1873): Lehrbuch der Scrophel- und Tuberkelkrankheiten. Stuttgart or Leipzig, 1851.
- Traité pratique des maladies cancéreuses etc. Paris, 1851.
- Klinik der Brustkrankheiten. 2 volumes. Tübingen, 1874.
- Die Krankheiten des Magens. Tübingen, 1878.
- Die Krankheiten der Blut- und Lymphgefässe.
In: Rudolf Virchow, publisher: Handbuch der speciellen Pathologie und Therapie, volume 5, part 2: 1-152. 1st edition, Erlangen 1861 (6 volumes, Erlangen, 1854-1876).
Addison-Biermer disease, pernicious anaemia. In the Berliner klinische Wochenschrift Lebert published papers on the climatic conditions of Nice, Vevey, Bex, etc.
- H. Lebert:
Biographische Notizen etc. Breslau, 1869. Obituaries:
Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 1878, page 501 and 589.
August Hirsch (1817-1894) in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, XVIII, page 94.