Friedenwald family provided eye care for Baltimore

December 15, 2007

From 1860 through 1955, a Friedenwald performed refractions and gave ophthalmic care to inhabitants of Baltimore. Not many families are that fortunate to have given three generations of distinguished care to ophthalmology.

Key Points

Aaron Friedenwald

Harry Friedenwald

In 1864 Aaron and Bertha Friedenwald had a son, Harry Friedenwald (1864-1950). Another son, Julius Friedenwald (1866-1941), did not become an ophthalmologist, but he did become an eminent physician who practiced gastroenterology and became the president of the American Gastroenterological Association. An annual lecture is given in his honor by the association.

His main academic ophthalmic interest was the retina, and he wrote a number of papers on the changes found in diabetes as well as other vascular diseases. His other area of interest was Jewish history, and his two-volume book The Jews and Medicine, written between 1944 and 1946, as well as Jewish Luminaries in Medical History, written in 1946, are classics in the field.

Jonas Friedenwald

His honors included the Research Medal of the AMA awarded in 1935, the Howe Medal of the American Ophthalmological Society awarded in 1951, and the Donders Medal awarded in 1952. He was elected to give the Doyne Lecture for 1956 at the Oxford Ophthalmic Congress but never did this because of his untimely death.