From a forester's hut in the Black Forest to the chair of neurology in Heidelberg is a long path but one which Wilhelm Erb plodded with taciturn brilliance to become finally one of the greatest of clinical neurologists. He was born in Winnweiler, Bayerische Pfalz, on Nov. 30, 1840. Of his antecedents nothing is known except that his father was a woodsman. His boyhood was obscure and, as far as is known, uneventful. Erb was not the man to entertain his friends with anecdotes of his early life.
As a medical student at Heidelberg, where he entered the university at the early age of 17, he already showed promise. In his early years he was a serious, hard-working student who took little interest in life outside of his work. In 1864, at the age of 24, he published his first paper, "Picric Acid: Its Physiological and Therapeutic Action," and in
TORKILDSEN A, ERICKSON T. WILHELM HEINRICH ERB 1840-1921. Arch NeurPsych. 1935;33(4):842–846. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1935.02250160157014
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.