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Abraham Jacobi

Birthdate: (89)
Birthplace: Hartum, Westphalia
Death: July 10, 1919 (89)
Bolton Landing, NY, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Eliezer Jacobi and Julia Jacobi
Husband of Kate Rosalie Jacobi; Fanny Jacobi and Mary Putnam Jacobi
Father of Julius Jacobi and Marjorie (Margaretta) McAneny

Occupation: Pediatrician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Abraham Jacobi

Abraham Jacobi (May 6, 1830 - July 10, 1919) was a pioneer of pediatrics, opening the first children's clinic in the United States. To date, he is the only foreign born president of the American Medical Association.

Born in Hartum (now a district of Hille), Westphalia. He was the son of a poor Jewish shopkeeper and his wife who educated him at great sacrifice. He attended the gymnasium in Minden. After graduating there, he studied medicine at the universities of Greifswald, Göttingen, and Bonn, receiving an MD at Bonn in 1851. Shortly thereafter, Jacobi joined the revolutionary movement in Germany (see Revolution of 1848). He was detained in prisons at Berlin and Cologne in 1851, and eventually convicted of treason and imprisoned at Minden and Bielefeld until his discharge in the summer of 1853. Upon release, Jacobi sailed to England and then in the following autumn to New York where he settled as a practicing physician.

Starting in 1861 at the New York Medical College, he was a professor of childhood diseases. From 1867 to 1870, he was chair of the medical department of the City University of New York. He taught at Columbia University from 1870 to 1902. He later moved to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he established the first Department of Pediatrics at a general hospital.

He was president of the New York Pathological and Obstetrical Societies, and twice of the Medical Society of the County of New York, visiting physician to the German Hospital beginning 1857, to Mount Sinai Hospital beginning 1860, to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and the infant hospital on Randall's Island beginning 1868, and to Bellevue Hospital beginning 1874. In 1882 he was president of the New York State Medical Society, and in 1885 became president of the New York Academy of Medicine. From 1868 to 1871, he was joint editor of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children.

Civic work was an important part of his life. He advocated birth control and civil service reform and opposed prohibition. He was strongly anti-Hohenzollern during World War I. In the summer of 1918, a house fire destroyed the manuscript of his autobiography and other personal papers at his Lake George home. He died the next year in the house of his friend Carl Schurz who had predeceased him.

He helped found the American Journal of Obstetrics.

His first wife, Fanny Meyer Jacobi (1833−1851), was a sister of Sophie Meyer Boas (1828−1916), the mother of ethnologist Franz Boas, who also attended the gymnasium in Minden. In 1873, he married Mary Putnam Jacobi, also a physician. She was the first woman student at L'École de Médecine in Paris, France. They had a daughter, Marjorie McAneny.


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Abraham Jacobi's Timeline

May 6, 1830
Hartum, Westphalia
August 11, 1855
Age 25
July 10, 1919
Age 89
Bolton Landing, NY, United States