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Cæsar Peter Møller Boeck

Born 1845-09-28
Died 1917-03-17

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Norwegian dermatologist, born September 28, 1845, Lier; died March 17, 1917, Kristiania (Oslo).

Biography of Cæsar Peter Møller Boeck

"Huden, mine herrer, har flere sykdommer enn alle andre organer til sammen"

“The skin, gentlemen, has more diseases than all other organs together”

Caesar Peter Möller Boeck was born in Lier outside the city of Drammen in 1845, the son of the ship’s captain Cæsar Boeck (1807-1884) and Elen Holter (1819-1884). The family originally came from Flanders (Bocken). His grandfather had come to Norway towards the end of the eighteenth century, had acquired large forest properties and established a trade in wood.

Boeck grew up in Drammen, where he passed the student’s examination, artium, at the Gymnasium, in 1864. He studied medicine in Christiania, now Oslo, and graduated with top marks in 1871. He subsequently worked as a candidate at the Rigshospitalet (National Hospital) in Christiania, and for a period in 1872 also served as an epidemiologist in Sarpsborg, where there was an outbreak of exanthemic typhus. After this he practiced for some time in the coastal area of Brevik.

In 1874 and 1875 Boeck was on an educational journey visiting Austria, England, and France. He spent seven months in Vienna, which at the time was a centre for dermatology, working with the ageing Ferdinand von Hebra (1816-1880). Mastering all of the three major languages, Boeck had no problems expanding his fields of interest beyond medicine.

After returning to Norway Boeck first practised as an epidemiologist during a smallpox epidemic at Egersund, before he became assistant physician in the skin clinic at the Rikshospitalet. For a period he headed the skin clinic during the illness of his uncle, professor Carl Wilhelm Boeck.

From 1878 Boeck practiced in Kristiania, but over the next years spent time at international congresses abroad, and from September 1885 to late April 1886 stayed in Germany and France to acquire the new techniques in microscopy and study skin diseases, mainly at the Paris hospitals.

On September 14, 1882, Boeck married Hansine Doxrud (born 1862).

On January 1st, 1889, aged 44 years, Boeck became chief of dermatology at the Rikshospitalet, as well as a university teacher. With a royal decree of January 30, 1895, he was appointed associated professor with a vote in the medical faculty, and in 1896 was promoted to full professor of medicine.

Before entering his new position, Boeck went on a brief educational journey to Copenhagen, Berlin, and Breslau. In 1880 he participated in the international medical convention of physicians in Berlin, serving as one of the vice presidents of the dermatological section. He also participated in the four first international conventions in dermatology, Paris 1889, Vienna 1892, London 1896 and Paris 1900. In 1898 he gave the opening lecture at the annual meeting of the The British Medical Association, which was that year held in Edinburgh. In 1902 he was the official delegate of the Norwegian government at the second international conference in Brussels on “prevention of syphilis and other venereal diseases”.

Boeck held several honorary positions and was a member, corresponding member, or honorary member, of a large number of medical associations in many countries. On February 4, 1911, he was made a knight of the Order of St. Olav (Ridder av Sankt Olavs Orden) for his contributions to science. He donated his book collection to Rikshospitalet.

On October 4, 1912, Boeck was eventually appointed full professor. He retired in 1915 and died suddenly of angina pectoris on March 17, 1917.

Besides medicine Boeck’s great interest was in art, particularly painting, spending much time in museums both during his private holidays and on journeys to medical conventions. In 1917, the year of his death, he published the treatise Rembrandt og Saskia i deres hjem (Rembrandt and Saskia in their home). In his will he donated his art collection to the city museum in Drammen.

His uncle was Karl Wilhelm Boeck (1808-1875), known for his work on syphilis.

Although the bibliography for Boeck’s sarcoid, also commonly called Besnier-Boeck-Schaumann disease, comprises many earlier work, Boeck’s description in 1899 of this skin disease concerns the first case which is close to sarcoidosis as seen in our time. He described it again in 1904. His patient was a 36-year-old policeman who had skin changes in the face and scalp, back and lowers extremities, as well as destructions of the lymphatic nodes.

With Skjelderup and Stabell he established the journal Tidsskrift for praktisk Medicin (1881-1886).

66, i eget arkiv, har en uendelighet av publikasjoner.
Sammen med M. Skjerlderup og F. Stabell grunnla Boeck i 1880 Tidsskrift for praktisk Medicin.

Boeck var i mange år referent for de skandinaviske lands litteratur i Vierteljahrsschrift für Dermatologie und Syphilis i Wien.

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