- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Leo Kanner

Born  1894
Died  1981

Related eponyms

Austrian psychiatrist in the U.S., born June 13, 1894, Klekotow, Austria; died April 4, 1981.

Biography of Leo Kanner

Leo Kanner was an extraordinary child and began to write poetry when he was only ten. He graduated from the Sophiengymnasium in Berlin in 1913 and entered the university. After a period of service in the Austrian army in World War I, he resumed his studies at the University of Berlin and finally received his M.D. degree in 1921. He worked in the Charité when an American physician in Berlin for post-graduate study persuaded the young internist to consider opportunities in the United States, and in 1924 Kanner took a position as an assistant physician at the State Hospital in Yankton, South Dakota.

With no more training in paediatrics or child psychiatry than he had received as a medical student, Kanner taught himself paediatric psychiatry. In 1930, shortly after coming to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he was selected by Professors Adolf Meyer (1866-1950), Director of Psychiatry, and Edward A. Park (died 1969), Director of Pediatrics to develop the United States' first child psychiatry service in a paediatric hospital. Kanner became an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins in 1933 but was not elevated to the rank of Professor of Child Psychiatry until 1957.

Leo Kanner continued as the Director of Child Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins until his retirement in 1959, although he remained active until his death at age 87.


  • Child Psychiatry.
    With prefaces by Adolf Meyer (1866-1950), Edwards A. Park and John Clare Whitehorn (1894-1973). Springfield, Illinois/Baltimore: Charles C. Thomas 1935. 527 pages.
  • Child Psychiatry.
    With prefaces by John C. Whitehorn, Adolf Meyer and Edwards A. Park.
    2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1948. 752 pages.
    First 1935 in Springfield, Illinois by Charles C. Thomas.
  • Child Psychiatry.
    3rd edition. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1957.
    3rd edition, 2nd printing, 1960.
  • Autistic disturbances of affective contact.
    The Nervous Child, New York, 1943, 2: 217-250.
    Reprinted in : Leo Kanner, editor: Childhood Psychosis: Initial Studies and New Insights. Washington, D.C.: V. H. Winston, 1973.
    Reprinted in Anne M. Donnellan, editor: Classic Readings in Autism. New York: Teacher's College Press, 1985.
  • Irrelevant and metaphorical language in early infantile autism. 1946.
    The American Journal of Psychiatry, 1994, 151(6 Suppl): 161-164.
  • A history of the care and study of the mentally retarded.
    Springfield, Illinois, Charles. C. Thomas 1964. 150 pages.
  • Follow-up study of eleven autistic children originally reported in 1943. 1971.
    Psychiatrie de l'Enfant, 1995, 38 (2): 421-461.
  • Child Psychiatry.
    With prefaces by Adolf Meyer, Edwards A. Park, and John C. Whitehorn.
    4th edition. Springfield, Illinois Charles C. Thomas 1972. 735 pages.
  • Childhood Psychosis: Initial Studies and New Insights. 1973.
  • Folklore of the Teeth.
    Detroit : Singing Tree Press, 1968. 316 pages.
    Originally published by MacMillan in 1928.
  • L. Bender:
    In Memoriam Leo Kanner, MD June 13, 1894--April 4, 1981.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 1982, 21 (1): 88-89.
  • E. Schopler, S. Chess, L. Eisenberg:
    Our Memorial to Leo Kanner.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, September 1981, 11: 257-269.
  • D. Wilk
    In Memoriam Dr. Leo Kanner, 1894-1981.
    Koroth, Jerusalem, August 1982, 8: 213-220.
  • K.-J. Neumärker:
    Leo Kanner: His Years in Berlin, 1906-24. The Roots of Autistic Disorder.
    History of Psychiatry, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks, England, June 2003, 14 (2): 205-218 (14).
  • L. Eisenberg:
    Leo Kanner, M. D. 1894-1981.
    The American Journal of Psychiatry, 1981, 138 (8): 1122-1125.
  • L. Eisenberg:
    Leo Kanner, 1894-1981. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 1994, 151(5): 751.
  • V. D. Sanua:
    Leo Kanner (1894-1981): the man and the scientist.
    Child Psychiatry and Human Development, New York 1990, 21 (1): 3-23.

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