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Guide to the Hans Horst Meyer papers, 1800s-1939, 2004 and undated

Abstract

Hans Horst Meyer was a German pharmacologist (1853-1939) and professor at the Vienna Medical School, 1904-1924.

The Hans Horst Meyer papers comprise a small amount of personal and professional correspondence; genealogical documents; diplomas, honors, medals, and awards received by Meyer between 1901 and 1937; a series of photographs of Meyer, his family members, and Harvey Cushing; and an autograph album with signatures and correspondence of notable individuals. The certificates and medals come from a variety of international scientific organizations, such as the New York Academy of Medicine, the Royal Society of Physicians in Budapest, and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. Meyer also received the German Order of the Red Eagle and honorary citizenship of the city of Vienna. Also included are some correspondence and printed materials relating to the honors received by Meyer, as well as a reprint of Meyer's chapter in the Handbuch der experimentellen Pharmakologie. The majority of the materials was acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Meyer, Hans Horst, 1853-1939
Title
Hans Horst Meyer papers 1800s-1939, 2004 and undated
Language of Material
German, English, Latin, Spanish, Italian
Extent
6.7 Linear Feet, Approx. 147 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Hans Horst Meyer papers contain personal and professional correspondence; genealogical documents; diplomas, honors, medals, and awards received by Meyer between 1901 and 1937; a series of photographs of Meyer, his family members, and Harvey Cushing; and an autograph album with signatures and correspondence of notable individuals. The certificates and medals come from a variety of international scientific organizations, such as the New York Academy of Medicine, the Royal Society of Physicians in Budapest, and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. Meyer also received the German Order of the Red Eagle and honorary citizenship of the city of Vienna. Also included are some correspondence and printed materials relating to the honors received by Meyer, as well as a reprint of Meyer's chapter in the Handbuch der experimentellen Pharmakologie.

An addition of personal papers reveals Meyer's efforts while he was living in Vienna to document his family's history, and includes official documents, an identity card, and personal correspondence from the last decades of his life, some dating from the last year of his life, 1939. There are also a few photographs in this addition. Almost all the documents in this addition are in German.

The autograph album contains 147 autographs and letters of well-known and lesser-known Germans, most of whom lived in the 19th century. Included are a letter each from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, and Clara Schumann, a postcard from Johannes Brahms, and the autographs of many individuals, including, Henrik Ibsen and Charles Dickens.

With the exception of the scrapbook, which was originally in the holdings of the Rubenstein Library general collections, the materials were acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Black-and-white photographs of Meyer in Vienna and Berlin and of Meyer's family and colleagues, including two signed photographs of Harvey Cushing. Also includes a photograph of the presentation of a portrait of Meyer to Duke University by his grandson, J. Horst Meyer, circa 2004. Arranged in chronological order.

Meyer with hat; Meyer at a very early age; Meyer and his sons, Arthur W. and Kurt H., in World War I uniform, 1914
Box 1
Harvey Cushing, autographed to Meyer, 1914
Box 2
Meyer and associates, Vienna, July 1924
Box 1
Harvey Cushing, autographed to Meyer, 1929
Box 1
Meyer with daughter-in-law, Lotte Meyer, and grandson, Horst Meyer, in Berlin; Meyer with grandson, Horst Meyer, in Vienna, 1931; Meyer with grandson, Horst Meyer, in Vienna, 1935
Box 1
Presentation by J. Horst Meyer of portrait of Hans Horst Meyer [by Rietti, 1911] to Duke University, circa 2004
Box 2
Harvey Cushing; hand-drawn sketch of spongioblast; Meyer, undated
Box 1
Early photograph of Meyer and associates in Vienna, undated
Box 1
Meyer at his desk, undated
Box 2
Portrait photograph of Meyer, undated
Box 2
Meyer at his desk in Vienna, undated
Box 2

Diplomas, certificates, and medals conferring honorary membership and other honors on Meyer from a variety of international scientific organizations and institutes. Completing the series is an autograph album containing 147 autographs and letters of well-known and lesser-known Germans, most of whom lived in the 19th century. Included are a letter each from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, and Clara Schumann, a postcard from Johannes Brahms, and the autographs of many individuals, including, Henrik Ibsen and Charles Dickens. Subgroupings are arranged in chronological order.

Rothen Adler-Orden vierter Klasse, 1901
Box 3
Royal Society of Physicians, Budapest, 1905
Box 3
Physikalisch-medizinische Sozietät zu Erlangen, 1908
Box 4
Kaiserliche Leopoldinische-Carolinische Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher, 1911
Box 4
University of St. Andrews, 1913
Box 4
Gesellschaft der Aertze in Wien, 1923
Box 4
Accademia Medico-Fisica Fiorentina, 1924
Box 4
Kaiserliche Deutsche Academie der Naturforscher zu Halle, 1925
Box 4
Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, 1931
Box 4
Honorary Citizenship, City of Vienna, 1932
Box 5
Verein für Psychiatrie und Neurologie in Wien, 1932
Box 3
Deutsche Pharmakologische Gesellschaft, 1933
Box 3
Akademie der Wissenschaftern, 1933
Box 5
La Academia Nacional de Medicina, 1934
Box 4
New York Academy of Medicine, 1936
Box 3
University of Vienna, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, 1937
Box 5
Royal Order of the Vasa, Sweden, late 19th century
Box 6
Commemorative bronze medal in honor of Prof. Hans Horst Meyer's 70th Birthday, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1923
Box 6
Minerva Medal awarded by the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science
Box 6
Autograph book, 1800s

Handle with care.

Box 7

Correspondence and printed material relating to the honors received by Meyer, as well as a reprint of Meyer's chapter in the Handbuch der experimentellen Pharmakologie. Arranged in chronological order.

Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, 1905
Box 3
University of St. Andrews, 1913
Box 3
Kaiserliche Deutsche Academie der Naturforscher zu Halle, 1925
Box 3
Letter to Dr. Arthur Meyer from Harvey Cushing, 1928, Feb. 17
Box 1
Letter to Meyer from J.A. Gunn, British Pharmacologic Society, Oxford, England, 1931, Aug. 7
Box 1
Letter to Meyer from H. Mackeith, Oxford, England, 1932, Sept. 12
Box 1
Verein für Psychiatrie und Neurologie in Wien, 1932
Box 3
Academia Nacional de Medicina, 1935
Box 3
Hans Horst Meyer, Wesen und Sinn der experimentellen Pharmakologie, Handbuch der experimentellen Pharmakologie, edited by W. Heubner and J. Schüller, Bd. 1 (Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1935), 1-10.
Box 2

Addition to the Hans Horst Meyers papers of about 100 items relates to Hans Horst Meyer's search for his family's origins in light of events unfolding in Nazi Germany. At the time, he was living in Vienna. Papers consist of genealogical documents listing his parents and grandparents and their religious status; correspondence from the 1930s; official documents pertaining to Meyer's own status and perhaps travel intentions; and papers and a certificate from St. Andrews in Edinburgh. Addition also includes a series of small photographs - head shots of Meyer (possibly taken for travel documents), and an undated carte-de-visite of Meyer and probably his wife, Doris, dating most likely to the 1890s. Almost all the documents are in German. Each folder is arranged in roughly chronological order.

Addition (2013-0146)
Box 7

Historical Note

Hans Horst Meyer holds a prominent place at the historical intersection of pharmacology and anesthesia. His greatest achievement was in the formulation of the lipoid theory of narcosis which still stands today largely unchallenged. Published in 1899, Meyer's classic paper proposed that the ability of a substance to produce narcosis or anesthesia is governed by its partition coefficient. He shares the honor as the cofounder of this theory with Charles Overton who independently arrived at the same conclusion at the same time although indirectly through a study of permeability of plant and animal cells to various substances. The Meyer-Overton theory stimulated decades of research to answer important questions of exactly how certain drugs can act to produce a state of anesthesia. [Taken from Trent Associates Report 12, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2004): 1-2]

Meyer was born in Insterburg, East Prussia (now part of Russia), and studied medicine in Königsberg, Leipzig, and Berlin. He held the chair of pharmacology at the University of Marburg from 1884 to 1904, and was then professor at the Vienna Medical School from 1904 to 1924, when he retired. Meyer died in Vienna in October, 1939.

Meyer had three sons, Kurt Heinrich, Arthur Woldemar, and Friedrich Horst, who died as a child. In 1933, Meyer's middle son Arthur shot his wife then committed suicide, following the family's persecution due to his wife's Jewish background. Arthur Meyer's son, J. Horst Meyer, was a professor of physics at Duke University from 1959 to 2004. [Source: Wikipedia, June 2014.]

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Hans Horst Meyer papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Hans Horst Meyer papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1998 and as a transfer in 2011.

Processing Information

Processed by Willeke Sandler, April 2012

Encoded by Willeke Sandler, April 2012

Addition 2013-0146 encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, June 2014

All accessions are represented in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.