Ernst Bumm was born 15 Apr 1858 in Würzburg, Bavaria. He studied medicine under Friedrich Wilhelm Scanzoni and Max Hofmeier at the Königlichen Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg and received his doctorate in 1882. Three years later he qualified1 in obstetrics and gynecology and published his landmark study on gonorrhea – Der Mikro-Organismus der Gonorrhoischen Schleimhaut-Erkrankungen „Gonococcus-Neisser.” 2
After a private practice with the noted orthopedist Albert Hoffa he became professor ordinarius in Basel (1894), then Halle (1901) and finally at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin (1904).
While teaching in Basel Bumm began to organize his lectures into a book and commissioned the young artist Albrecht Mayer to adapt his numerous sketches into polished illustrations. Possessing a “devine gift of artistic sensibility” Bumm sought beauty in both the text and art and found the several-year process rather trying. As he stated: “the production of the illustrations has given me more anxiety and trouble than the writing of the letterpress.”
The result, published in 1902, was the Grundriss zum Studium der Geburtshülfe (Plan for the Study of Obstetrics).3 Bumm's artistic difficulties paid off; largely on the quality of the 587 illustrations the book became an instant classic and the very model for future textbooks in the field. In their review the British Gynæcological Journal wrote: “it is many years since we derived as much pleasure in reading any work on midwifery as we have done from the perusal of the volume before us.” 4
New editions of Grundriss zum Studium were published in 1907, 1913 and 1921 and a French translation was published in 1914.5 The scans here, from the original 1902 edition, are just barely representative of the book.
In 1910 he became the director of the Charité Universitätsfrauenklinik in Berlin. Over the next 15 years Bumm, now the doyen of German obstetrics, continued to practice, teach, publish and just generally be more awesome than you or I. As the consummate surgeon and an early proponent of sterile technique it was not without some irony that he died on 2 Jan 1925 of complications following gall bladder removal.
1. The German term is habiitated.
2. Bumm, Ernst. Der Mikro-Organismus der Gonorrhoischen Schleimhaut-Erkrankungen „Gonococcus-Neisser.” Wiesbaden: Verlag von J. F. Bergmann, 1885. The book is available online at the Internet Archive.
3. Bumm, Ernst. Grundriss zum Studium der Geburtshülfe: In Achtundzwanzig Vorlesungen Und Fünfhundert-Siebenundachtzig Bildlichen Darstellungen (Plan for the Study of Obstetrics: In Twenty-Eight Lectures and Five Hundred Eighty-Seven-Pictures). Wiesbaden: Verlag von J. F. Bergmann, 1902. The Internet Archive has complete 1902 and 1921 (w/o most of the illustrations) editions online.
Grundriss zum Studium is one of the many out-of-copyright titles that are now available as an on- demand print book. Based on the stupidly high Amazon prices you’re much better off finding the real thing.
4. Reviews: Grundriss zum Studium der Geburtshülfe. British Gynæcological Journal. 1903 Feb;18(73): 274–280. The journal is available on Google Books.
5. Bumm, Ernst, Payot, Ed. (trans). Précis d'obstétrique en 28 leçons. Paris: Medicales N. Maloine, 1914.
10 Jun 2012 ‧ Anatomicae