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No 10. Gustav Weber

Gustav WeberGustav Weber (1828-1912) was born in Bonn, Germany, his father Moritz Ignaz Weber was a distinguished anatomist at the University of Bonn.. Political tensions in Germany lead to Weber’s departure for America in 1848. He went to St. Louis and in 1851 completed his medical degree at the University of St. Louis (known now as School of Medicine of Washington University).

In 1852 he returned to Europe and studied in surgical clinics in Amsterdam and Paris. Back in New York City a year later, Gustav joined in practice with his brother Edward, also a surgeon. Edward was consumptive and died within a few months. Gustav continued the practice for two years, and during this time he married Ruth Elizabeth Cheney. Colleagues urged him to leave the city, or risk his brother’s fate.

Weber was traveling in Detroit when he heard that Horace Ackley had resigned his position at Medical Department of Western Reserve College. Weber came to Cleveland and was appointed Professor of Surgery, although he was inexperienced in education he turned out to be an excellent clinical teacher.

Weber founded the first medical journal in Cleveland, called the Cleveland Medical Gazette in 1859. Publication was interrupted by the Civil War in 1861, and would not resume for 24 years, when Albert Baker (an ear nose throat specialist) and Samuel Kelley (a pediatrician) would revive it.

In January of 1862 Governor Todd appointed Weber Surgeon General of Ohio, and in this post he organized a system to care for troops in the field, and improved the condition of camps and hospitals in the State. Weber also saw action with Ohio regiments in a battle at Perrysville, Kentucky. In late 1862, pressed by teaching duties and concern over his wife’s health, Weber resigned the position after only 10 months. He subsequently founded Charity Hospital Medical College (1867-1872), and served as professor and Dean at the Medical Department of Wooster University and at the Medical Department of Western Reserve University. In retirement he served as American consul in Nuremberg, Germany.

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