The work of Leonore Welt


1Neuropsychology Unit, Dept. of Neurology, University Hospital Zürich, Frauenklinikstrasse 26, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland
2Rehabilitation Clinic Rheinfelden, Salinenstrasse 98, 4310 Rheinfelden, Switzerland


In 1888, Leonore Welt published a first systematic pathological analysis of 11 patients, her own and 10 observations reported in the literature, whose severe affective and social alterations she found to relate to lesions in the medial-orbital parts of the frontal lobes.

Meanwhile, this historic work is well known and regarded as essential for the understanding of the anatomical correlate of complex human behavior. But Leonore Welt was not only a pioneer as a pathologist, she was actively engaged in promoting women in academia and society. Born in Cernovic, Austria, in 1859, she and her sister Sarah were among the first women to study medicine in Zürich. Here she conducted her famous thesis, which was published 1888 in der Archiv für Klinische Medizin. Dr. Welt moved to Geneva and became private docent in 1900 and professor for ophthalmology in 1915. As one of the first female doctors and member of the medical faculty, she wrote over 20 publications. As an engaged feminist she participated in political and welfare groups fighting for the liberation of women, against war and for the protection of children. Aged 85 years, Mme. Gourfein-Welt died 1944 in Geneva.


Poster Session
Tuesday, 14 September 1999

The Neurosciences and Psychiatry: Crossing the Boundaries

Joint Congress of the European Association for the History of Psychiatry (EAHP), the European Club for the History of Neurology (ECHN), and the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, 13-18 September 1999