Carl Wilhelm Boeck (1808-1875)

Boeck closely collaborated with Daniel C. Danielssen in Bergen, and they published the work ‘Om Spedalskehed’ (about leprosy) together in 1847, which became a reference work for the disease. 

Portrait C. W. Boeck. Leprosy Museum St. Jørgens Hospital.

Boeck was born in Kongsberg and passed the medical exam in 1831. After a few years as a mining company physician in Kongsberg and working as a district medical officer in various places, he was appointed associate professor of medicine at the University of Christiania in 1846. Boeck was a diligent scientist and prolific writer. His main subjects were syphilis and leprosy, and he collaborated with Danielssen in both of these areas. 

A scholarship to study the treatment of leprosy abroad led him during 1840–1841 to Britain, France, Italy, Greece and Austria, but perhaps more importantly to St. Jørgen’s Hospital in Bergen. This is where he met Danielssen, and the visit was instrumental to him receiving public funding to study leprosy at St. Jørgen’s. 

Together with Danielssen, he published a large illustrated textbook on leprosy in 1847, where the medical section is mainly based on patient data from Bergen. ‘Om Spedalskehed’ was first published in Norwegian and later in French. It quickly became the standard work on the disease’s different manifestations and natural progression. Both authors became internationally renowned.

Later they also published ‘Samling af Iagttagelser om Hudens Sygdomme’ (A Collection of Observations of Skin Diseases). This was a five-volume illustrated work published in Norwegian and French between 1855–1862.

From 1851 to 1869, Boeck was a professor at the University of Christiania, and he taught the subjects surgery, skin diseases and syphilis. In the last years of his life, he was head of dermatology at Rikshospitalet University Hospital.

"On Leprosy" 1847.
“On Leprosy”, 1847.
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