- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Carl Jakob Adolf Christian Gerhardt

Born  1833-05-05
Died  1902-07-22

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German internist, born May 5, 1833, Speyer (also spelled Speier); died July 22, 1902, Schloss Gamburg, Baden.

Biography of Carl Jakob Adolf Christian Gerhardt

His name is also given as:
Carl Adolf Christian Jacob Gerhardt
Carl Adolph Christian Jakob Gerhardt.
Carl Adolf Jakob Christian Gerhardt,
Carl Christian Adolph Jakob Gerhardt.
Karl Christian Adolf Jacob Gerhardt.

Carl Jakob Adolf Christian Gerhardt studied in Würzburg, obtaining his doctorate in 1856. He was an assistant under Heinrich von Bamberger (1822-1888) and Franz von Rinecker (1811-1883) in Würzburg, and under Wilhelm Griesinger (1817-1868) in Tübingen. He was habilitated as Privatdozent in Würzburg in 1860, and from November 1861 was professor of medicine and head of the internal department in Jena. He assumed the same position in Würzburg 1872, and in 1885 as Friedrich Theodor von Frerichs’(1819-1885) successor in Berlin. In Berlin he established the second internal clinic at the Charité. He held the position of prorector or rector at all three universities to which he was attached.

In Berlin Gerhardt worked with Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), who was his assistant, but Ehrlich became unhappy because Gerhardt wanted him to become more clinically involved.

In 1892 he described erythromelalgia, called Gerhardt’s disease, In 1863 he described Gerhardt’s law (on vocal paralysis) stating that in paralysis of the periodically recurring laryngeal nerve, the vocal cords assume a position between abduction and adduction. He used iron chloride to detect acetone in diabetes (Gerhardt’s reaction). Weir-Mitchell described erythromelalgia also in 1872.

Gerhardt was a founder of pediatrics, and editor of one of the most authoritative textbooks on the subject, Handbuch der Kinderkrankheiten, to which he contributed several articles based on his own experiences. He was also a prolific contributor to the Archiv für klinische Medicin.

His son was the physician Dietrich Gerhardt (1866-1921).


  • Der Kehlkopfscroup. Tübingen, 1859.
  • Der Stand des Diaphragmas. Habilitation thesis. Tübingen, 1860.
  • Lehrbuch der Kinderkrankheiten. Tübingen, 1861. 4 editions.
  • Lehrbuch der Auscultation und Percussion. Tübingen, 1876.
  • Handbuch der Kinderkrankheiten.
    9 volumes in 16. Published by C. Gerhardt. Tübingen, H. Laupp, 1877-1893.
    Gerhardt edited this great work, which was written by the foremost paediatricians of the time and which gives a close-up view of paediatric knowledge at the end of the 19th century.
  • Ueber einige Angioneurosen. (Volkmanns) Sammlung klinischer Vorträge, Leipzig, 1881, 209. Einzelausgabe. 18 pages.
  • Über Erythromelalgie. Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 1892; 29: 1125.
  • Kehlkopfgeschwülste und Bewegungsstörungen der Stimmbänder. Wien, 1896.
  • Die syphilitischen Erkrankungen des Kehlkopfes und der Luftröhre. Wien, 1898.
  • Die Therapie der Infektionskrankheiten. With Hans Dorendorf (1866-1953), Paul Albert Grawitz (1850-1932), et al. Berlin, 1902.
We thank Rudolf Kleinert, Bad Reichenhall, Germany, for information submitted.

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