Wilhelm His, Sr. may not be as well known to American physicians as is his son and namesake, who described the bundle of His, but his critical study of the origin of tissues and the gross and microscopic study of the development of cells mark him as one of the leaders in the basic medical sciences in the 19th century. His contributions were contemporary and complementary to those of Henle and von Kölliker on microscopic findings in healthy mature tissue and to those of Virchow on the fundamental concepts of cellular pathology.
Wilhelm was born in Basel, Switzerland, of well-to-do parents who, consistent with their old world ideals of individual and state, believed that service to the community, a good education, simplicity in living, clarity in thinking, and a serious motive in life were basic principles of living.1 He began his medical studies in Basel and continued at Bern,
WILHELM HIS, SR. (1831-1904)—EMBRYOLOGIST AND ANATOMIST. JAMA. 1964;187(1):58. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060140064022