Skip to main content
  • Henry G. Schwartz

    1973, Honolulu, HI

    Henry Gerard Schwartz, our distinguished honored guest, was born in New York City in 1909. In 1928 he received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and he earned his M.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1932. His interest in the nervous system began during college days and, after arriving at Hopkins, acquired new momentum under the stimulating tutelage of the great neuroanatomist, Marion Hines. For the work constituting his first publication on regeneration of nervous tissue he received the Howell Award for Student Research. During the last year of medical school he spent several months in the clinic of Otfrid Foerster, a man whose remarkable character remained indelibly impressed upon him. Doubtless his greatest good fortune at Hopkins, however, was to meet and, later, to win the hand of classmate Edith Robinson, the lovely and charming Reedie who shares his honor today.

    Following a general surgical internship at Hopkins he pursued his interest in anatomy as the National Research Council Fellow at Harvard Medical School for 2 years where he also served as instructor in anatomy from 1935 to 1936. To this day his interest in anatomy is reflected in a number of his scientific papers, by the precision of surgical dissection and in daily colloquy with colleagues and residents.

    He began his training in neurological surgery with Dr. Ernest Sachs at Washington University School of Medicine in 1936 and served as instructor in neurological surgery from 1937 to 1942. From 1942 to 1945 he served as a member of the Washington University 21st Army Hospital in Africa and in Italy, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel and receiving the Legion of Merit in 1945. His loyalty and devotion to maintenance of the highest standards of neurosurgical care in the military service has continued over the years in his capacity as consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army.

    In 1945 Dr. Schwartz returned to St. Louis and in 1946 he was appointed professor and chairman of the Division of Neurological Surgery at Washington University, inaugurating the period of his most consuming professional interest since that time, the training of neurological surgeons and investigators. The now legendary rigors which have characterized his clinical training program, together with the opportunities afforded residents from an unusually close alliance that he has established with colleagues in neurology and the basic sciences, have provided an extraordinary milieu for attracting outstanding men to the challenge. Many have subsequently established their own training programs and have achieved distinction in neurological surgery.

    Dr. Schwartz's own distinctions and contributions to neurological surgery have been numerous. His clinical interests have centered on surgery of pain, intracranial aneurysms, and pituitary and angle tumors. He designed one of the first spring vascular clips, subsequently elaborated upon by many others.

    His leadership in societies and associations related to neurosurgery has continued to the present. A member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery since 1942, he served as its vice president in 1950 and president in 1951. He also served as president of the Southern Neurosurgical Society from 1952 to 1953, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (Harvey Cushing Society) 1967 to 1968, and the Society of Neurological Surgeons in 1968. He was installed as first vice president of the American College of Surgeons in 1972. He is a member of the American Association of Anatomists, American Surgical Association, Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Diseases, Central Neuropsychiatric Association, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Neurochirurgie, Excelsior Surgical Society, Alpha Omega Alpha, Sigma Xi, Societe Internationale de Chirurgie, Societa Italiana di Neurochirurgia, Societe de Neurochirurgie de Langue Francaise, and Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Forces. In 1962 he served as visiting professor at the Free University of West Berlin.

    He served on the Editorial Board of the Journal ofNeurosurgery from 1958 to 1967, and as chairman in 1968. He worked as a member of the American Board of Neurological Surgery from 1964 to 1970, serving as chairman from 1968 to 1970, and received their Distinguished Service Award in 1970.

    Over the years, he has willingly accepted many special committee responsibilities with national societies and governmental agencies, reflecting his concern for academic excellence and postgraduate training. He was a member of the Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery, American College of Surgeons (1949-1952 and 1960-1965, chairman, 1965); regional representative, The Johns Hopkins Medical School Committee on Admissions; member of the Neurology Study Section, National Institutes of Health (1958-1962); member of the Neurology Training Grant Committee, National Institutes of Health (1956-1960); delegate, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies; and member of the Graduate Training Committee, American College of Surgeons (1960- 1965); Peripheral Nerve Subcommittee, American Medical Association (1961-1963); Ladue Board of Education (1955-1960); Board of Scientific Counselors, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, National Institutes of Health (1964-1968); Joint Committee for Stroke Facilities; and the American Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons Committee to Study Surgical Services for the United States.

    Despite these time-consuming responsibilities, he served as acting head of the Department of Surgery of Washington University School of Medicine from 1965 through 1967, and in 1970 was named the August A. Busch Jr. Professor of Neurological Surgery. His outstanding contributions to Washington University were recognized in 1969 by the Alumni Federation Faculty Award.

    When free of these endeavors, he most enjoys the congenial company of his three sons and his grandchildren, a fast set of tennis, peering from a duck blind on crisp Missouri mornings, or searching for the ideal stream in which to cast a dry fly. To his many friends, colleagues, associates, and residents, past and present, Henry Schwartz emerges a man of extraordinary character, vigor, and integrity, a consummate clinician and surgeon, compassionate physician to the sick, rigorous teacher, valuable and willing counselor, and one possessed of unswerving loyalty to person, country, and his own ideals.

We use cookies to improve the performance of our site, to analyze the traffic to our site, and to personalize your experience of the site. You can control cookies through your browser settings. Please find more information on the cookies used on our site. Privacy Policy