"The orang lives almost next door": The correspondence between John Fulton (New Haven, Connecticut) and Willem Verhaart (Batavia, Java)

Atrium Medical Center, Heerlen, The Netherlands

Between 1937 and 1959 John Fulton (1899-1960), Sterling professor of physiology at Yale University (New Haven) and Willem Verhaart (1889-1983), neuropsychiatrist at Batavia Medical School (Java, Dutch East Indies) corresponded on neuroanatomical topics. Verhaart had easy access to primates’ brains in Batavia and stayed at Fulton’s lab as a Rockefeller fellow (1938-9), learning techniques of surgery and histology of the primate’s brain in order to apply it in his own lab. The correspondence relates of their undertakings in research, the preparations for Verhaart’s stay in New Haven, the failure of several research plans because of WWII, the camp experiences in Asia by Verhaart, the period of restoration after the war and the political changes (independence) in Indonesia that finally lead to Verhaart’s return to the Netherlands in 1950, where he became professor of histology and Director of the Neurological Institute at Leiden University. The correspondence shows close relationships in the world of neuroscience at both sides of the Atlantic and is another example of the change from a German to an English/American orientation in medical science.

Session XI -- The Makers and Shapers of Neuroscience
Tuesday, 29 June 2004, 9:55 am

Ninth Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Montreal, Quebec, Canada