- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Heinrich Laehr

Born  1820-03-10
Died  1905-08-18

Related eponyms

German physician, born March 10, 1820, Sagan, Silesia; died August 18, 1905.

Biography of Heinrich Laehr

Studying in Berlin and Halle, Heinrich Laehr was assistant physician at the hospital of the Frankeschen Stiftungen and at the surgical clinic of Ernst Blasius (1802-1875) in Halle. He received his doctorate at the University of Halle in 1843. Five years later, in 1848, he became assistant physician in the Provinzial-Irrenanstalt (district lunatic asylum) near Halle under Heinrich Philipp August Damerow (1798-1866). From 1850 he was 2nd physician at this institution.

In 1853 Laehr founded and from that time headed Schweizerhof, an asylum for «weibliche Nerven- und Gemüthskranke» (asylum for women with diseases of the mood and nerves) at Zehlendorf, a district of Berlin, where a road is named for him (Laeher’scher Jagdweg). This was the first such institution in Berlin headed by a physician and, despite many obstacles, was continually expanded until his death in 1905. In 1889 he had entrusted his eldest son Hans (1856-1929) with the medical directorship of the clinic. In 1898, on the same ground, he established the first «Heilstätte» for indigenous patients with nervous diseases, Haus Schönow, headed by his youngest son Max (born 1865).

From 1885 Laehr was editor-in-chief of the Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie und psychisch-gerichtliche Medicin, in which he published a large part of his papers. He was Referent on psychiatry in [Cannstatt’s] Jahresbericht über die Leistungen und Fortschritte der gesammten Medicin (Berlin), was co-founder and member of the board of Verein der deutschen Irrenärzte from 1864, and co-founder and chairman of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie in Berlin 1867-1898, 1872 co-founder of the Hilfsverein für entlassene Geisteskranke der Provinz Brandenburg.

As a medical expert he participated in the building of public mental asylums at Lengerich in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Berlin, Eberswalde, Owinsk, Grafenberg, Bonn, Düren, Andernach, Merzig, the Idiotenanstalt at Schwerin, the Wilhelmstift, and the institution for epileptics in Potsdam. In 1895 he became assistant - Hilfsarbeiter - in the scientific deputation in the ministry of culture, deputy chairman of the 3rd. session of the Ärztekammer der Provinz Brandenburg and the Stadtkreis Berlin, in 1899 co-founder of the 1st new building of a Trinkerheilanstalt at Fürstenwald. This institution has later been greatly expanded and is ready for you.

Laehr held the title of Geheimer Sanitätsrath (privy health counsellor).


Works by Heinrich Laehr:
  • Über Irrsein und Irrenanstalten. Für Aerzte und Laien. Nebst einer Übersicht über Deutschlands Irrenwesen und Irrenanstalten, ereläutert durch eine colorirte Karte.
    Halle, 1852.
  • Joseph Guislain’s klinische Vorträge über Geisteskrankheiten. Nebst 6 Taff. Berlin, 1854.
    Referring to the Belgian physician Joseph Guislan (1797-1860), remembered for his work to improve the conditions of Belgian mental asylums.
  • Zusammenstellung der Irrenanstalten Deutschlands im Jahre 1861. Mit 61 Holzschnitten. Berlin, 1862.
  • Die Heil- und Pflegeanstalten für Psychisch-Kranke in Deutscland, der Schweiz und den benachbarten deutschen Ländern. Berlin, 1875.
  • Asyl Schweizerhof. Privat-Heilanstalt für Psychisch-Kranke weiblichen Geschlechtes. Nach 25jähriger Wirksamkeit. Mit 21 Tafeln. Berlin, 1878.
  • Die Heil- und Pflegeanstalten für Psychisch-Kranke des deutschen Sprachgebietes. Mit geographischer Karte. 1882.
  • Gedenktage der Psychiatrie aller Länder.
    1885; 4th edition, Berlin, G. Reimer, 1893.
  • Die Literatur der Psychiatrie, Neurologie und Psychologie im 18. Jahrhundert. 2nd edition, 1895.
  • Die Literatur der Psychiatrie, Neurologie und Psychologie von 1459-1799. 3 volumes, Berlin, G. Reimer, 1900. Obituaries:
  • Theodor Kirchhoff (1853-1922) publisher:
    Deutsche Irrenärzte.
    2 volumes, Berlin, 1921-1914. Volume 2, pp. 18-29. With picture.
  • Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie, Berlin, 1905, 62: 893 (Karl Ludolf Schaefer, 1866-1931); 1906, 3: 349.
  • Archiv für Psychiatrie, Berlin, 1906, 1: 376.
  • Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 1905, 42: 1235.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.