Waldeyer-Hartz, Wilhelm von

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(b. Hehlen, Germany, 6 October 1836; d. Berlin, Germany, 23 January 1921), anatomy.

Waldeyer was the son of Johann Gottfried Waldeyer, an estate manager, and Wilhelmine vonHartz, the daughter of a schoolteacher. He received his early education at Paderborn, then in 1856 entered the University of Göttingen to study natural sciences. Having attended the lectures of the great anatomist Friedrich Gustav Jacob Henle, however, he changed his course to medicine; indeed, Johannes Sobotta. Waldeyer’s best-known student, stated his belief that Waldeyer not only studied medicine but also became an anatomist under Henle’s influence. Waldeyer was unable to complete his studies at Göttingen, since it was the university of the kingdon of Hannover and did not, at that time, grant examination certificates to Prussians; he therefore transferred to Greifswald, where he remained until he went to Berlin to qualify. He was drawn there by the repution of Karl Reichert, the anatomist and embryologist. Believing that a sound knowledge of embryology was essential to an anatomist, Waldeyer finished his studies with Reichert, under whose direction he prepared a doctoral dissertation of the structure and function of the clavicle, published in 1862.

Waldeyer then went to the University of Königsberg as an assistant in the department of physiology. He also taught histology, and became acquainted with the anatomist Friedrich Leopold Goltz. In 1864 he moved on the University of Breslau, where he had been appointed lecturer in physiology and histology and was also responsible for a service department in pathology. This marked the beginning of his interest in that subject, and he published a number of papers on pathology, including one on the histological changes in muscles following typhoid fever, that led to his appointment, at the age of twenty-nine, as professor of pathology and director of a department of postmortem investigations. in 1866, soon after he received this post, Waldeyer married; in 1868, when he was thirty-two, he was appointed to the chair of pathology. His work at this time was chiefly concentrated on the diagnosis of early cancer, and won him considerable renown: in 1887 he was one of the German doctors called upon to diagnose the Emperor Frederick III’s tumor of the vocal cords.

In 1872 Waldeyer went to the University of Strasbourg. The conquest of Alsace by Prussia in the preceding year had resulted in the forced resignation of French professors from that university, and both Waldeyer, who was appointed to the chair of anatomy, and Goltz, who became professor of physiology, were among the Germans who were installed in their stead. Waldeyer remained at Strasbourg for eleven years, then returned to Berlin to succeed Reichert. At Berlin he found an outdated laboratory and a large number of students, but he proved to be a highly successful administrator and teacher, and remained there as director of the anatomy department for over thirty-three years. His academic duties required his full time and energies, and after his relocation in Berlin Waldeyer performed little original research; he was an excellent teacher of both anatomy and histology, however, and he and his student Sobotta offered courses that must remain unsurpassed in their careful and varied presentation.

Indeed, Waldeyer’s fame as an anatomist derives largely from his brilliant, lucid, and systematic (as they were styled by his contemporaries) lectures. He nevertheless published a significant number of papers on a wide variety of morphological subjects, including studies of the urogenital system, anthropology, the spinal cord of the gorilla, and topgraphical observations of the pelvis. He was receptive to new ideas, and quickly grasped the importance of, for example, the neorohistological studies of Ramón y Cajal; he himself coined the word “neuron,” and helped to lay the foundation upon which the neuron doctrine was established. (He also coined the term “Chromosome” to describe the bodies in the nucleus of cells and invented a number of embryological terms, including those that describe the stucture of developing teeth, that are still in use.) Waldeyer also published the first description—both embryological and functional—of the naso-oro-pharyngeal lymphatic tisue; Waldeyer’s tonsillar ring, the ring of lymphoid tissue formed by the lingual, pharyngeal, and faucial tonsils that encircles the throat or pharynx, is named for him.

Waldeyer remained at the University of Berlin until he was eighty years old, carrying out all the duties that his position imposed. He remained physically and mentally fit until his death, following a stroke, five years later. Of the four children who survived him, none entered medicine or science.


I. Original Works. Waldeyer’s works include his inagural dissertation, De claviculae articulis et functione (Berlin, 1862); “Untersuchungen über den Ursprung und den Verlauf des Achsenzyliners bei Wirbellosen und Wirebeltieren, sowie über dessen Endverhalten in der quergestreiften Muskelfaser,” in zeitschrift für rationalle Medicin, 20 (1863), 193–256; “Über die Endigung der motorischen Nerven in den quergestreiften Muskeln,” in Zentralblatt für die medizinischen Wissenschaften, 24 (1863), 369–372; Untersuchungen über dieEntwicklung der Zähne (Danzig, 1864); “Anatomische und physiologische Untersuchugen über die Lymphherzen der Frösche,” in Zeitschrift für rationelle Medicin, 21 (1864), 103; “Die Veränderungen der quergesteriften Muskelfasern beim Abdominaltyphus,” in Zenbralblatt für die medizinischen Wissenschaften,7 (1865), 97 –100; Eiderstock und Ei. Ein Beitrag zur Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte der Sexualorgane (Leipzig, 1870), written with W. Engelmann; “Diffuse Hyperplasie des Knochenmarkes: Leukaemie,” in Virchows Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologies und für Klinische Medizin52 (1871), 305 –317; “Die Entwicklung der Carcionme,” ibid., 55 (1872), 67 –159; “Über die Beziehungen der Hernia diaphragmatica congenita zur Entwicklungsweise des Zwerchfells,” in Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift, 14 (1884), 211 –212; and “J. Henl. Nachruf,” in Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie und Entwicklungsmechanik, 26 (1885), 1–32.

See also “Beiträge zur normalen und vergleichenden Anatomie des Pharynx mit besonderer Beziehung auf dem Schlingweg,” in Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der wissenschaften zu Berlin, 12 (1886), 233 –250: “Über Karyokinese und ihre Beziehungen zu den Berfruchtungsvorgängen,” in Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie und Entwicklungsmechanik, 32 (1888), 1 –122; “Das Rückenmark des Gorilla, vergleichen mit dem des Menschen,” in Korrespondentzblatt der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Anthropologies, Ethnologies und Urgeschicte, 19 , no. 10 (1888), 112–113; “Das Gorillarückenmark,” in Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1889); “Bemerkungen über den Bau der Menschen-und Affenplacenta,” in Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie und Entwicklungsmechanik35 (1890), 1 – 51; “Das Gibbongehirn,” in Internationale Beiträage zur wissenschaftliche Medizen1 (1891), 1–40; “Ueber einige neuere Forschungen im gebiete der Anatomie des Centralnervensystems.” in Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift (1891), 1213 –1219, 1244 –1246, 1267 –1269, 1287 –1289, 1331 –1332, 1350 – 1356; Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Lage der weiblichen Beckenorgane nebst Beschreibung eines frontalen Gefrierschnittes des Uterus gravidus in situ (Bonn, 1892), written with F. Cohen; Das Becken, topographisch-anatomisch mit besonderer Berücksichtegung der Chirurgie und Gynäkologie dargestellt,II (Bonn, 1899); and “Hirnfurchen und Hirnwindungen, Hirnkommissuren, Hirngewicht,” in Ergebnisse der Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschicte, 8 (1899). 362 –401.

II. Secondary Literature. On Waldeyer and his work, see J. Sobotta, “Zum Andenken an Wilhelm v. Waldeyer-Hartz. Anatomischer Anzeiger,” in Zentralblatt für die gesamte wissenschaftliche Anatomie56 nos. 1 and 2 (Vienna, 1922); and W. von WaldeyerHartz, Lebenserinnerungen, 2nd ed. (Bonn, 1921).

Paul Glees