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September 16, 1961


J. H. T.
JAMA. 1961;177(11):779-781. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040370041012

If a contemporary investigator in the medical sciences is sufficiently talented and ultimately fortunate as to be credited with one major scientific contribution, this is a fair allotment. On the other hand, a century ago, the laboratory was so fertile a field for investigation that it was possible for a medical scientist to be accountable for divers discoveries of great significance, meanwhile living a well-rounded life as determined by interest and participation in the arts and humanities. Jacob Henle was such an individual. He was judged the greatest histologist of his day and one of the great anatomists of all eras.1

Henle was born in 1809 of Jewish parents who renounced Judaism a decade later. The community of his birth was Fiirth near Nürnberg, Germany; the period, one of deep political unrest. Henle was richly endowed intellectually; his parents were eager to germinate his intellectual potentialities. Such an environment