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History of Neurology
October 2003

Bernard Brouwer's Lecture Tours in the United States (1926 and 1933)

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden (Dr Bruyn), and Department of Neurology, Atrium Medical Centre, Heerlen (Dr Koehler), the Netherlands.Dr Bruyn died June 23, 2002.



Arch Neurol. 2003;60(10):1475-1481. doi:10.1001/archneur.60.10.1475

Bernard Brouwer (1881-1949), the first ordinary professor of neurology in the Netherlands and a man of prominent stature among continental neurologists, was invited to read lectures at several university clinics in the United States in 1926 and 1933. In this article, we describe Brouwer's impressions from these tours to obtain a view of US neurology in the 1920s and 1930s compared with the state of Dutch neurology. We studied Brouwer's reports of the lecture tours and pertinent materials obtained from several institutes in the United States where he lectured. Brouwer read the Herter Lectures at The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md) in April 1926 and subsequently visited several American cities. His second tour was by invitation from the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease in New York, NY (1933), and he accepted invitations to visit New Haven, Conn; Boston, Mass; and Montreal, Quebec. According to Brouwer, neuroanatomy in the United States was studied on a wider experimental basis than in Europe. American colleagues, frequently working in teams, tended to have their theoretical-scientific work led by direct practical results. The scientific level among various universities ranged more widely than in the Netherlands, where the levels were homogeneous. In the United States, Brouwer encountered a general willingness to engage in scientific investigations, usually manifesting already in young students and residents, their inquisitive minds being stimulated early. His US colleagues had more assistants in the clinics and laboratories than those in the Netherlands. American neurologists were particularly interested in the anatomic and physiologic features of the meninges and cerebrospinal fluid circulation. American neurosurgeons were vastly advanced in neurosurgery.