Ernest Sachs Reprints and Instruments


Reference code


Level of description



Ernest Sachs Reprints and Instruments


  • 1910-1929 (Creation)
  • 1910-1929 (Creation)


0.50 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Ernest Sachs, MD (1879-1958) was born in New York City to a family gifted in the arts, steeped in academia, and endowed with wealth. Together with Harvey Cushing, he is regarded as one of the founders of American neurosurgery. His father was a classical scholar and a founder of the Teachers College at Columbia University, his uncle was a neurologist noted for the description of Tay-Sachs disease, and his cousin was professor of fine arts at Harvard University. Sachs himself would learn the cello at the age of six.

Sachs attended the newly founded Johns Hopkins Medical School and graduated with high honors in 1904. Following his medical degree, he spent three years as a house officer at Mount Sinai in New York, before pursuing two additional years of study in Vienna, Berlin, and London. Recruited to Washington University after the reorganization of the School of Medicine, Sachs became the pioneering neurosurgeon west of the Mississippi. In 1919, Sachs was named Professor of Neurological Surgery, the first surgeon in the United States with such an appointment.

Known to be forceful, demanding, and a perfectionist, Sachs developed one of the most outstanding neurosurgical centers in the world at Washington University. Dedicated to the care of his patients, he could be gracious, thoughtful, and even gentle. He would also rightfully earn a fearsome, legendary status, among his many students as being intimidating, caustic, and belligerent. For thirty-five years he held his infamous twelve o'clock clinic for the junior medical students in the Barnes Hospital surgical amphitheater know as "The Pit."

In 1949, Sachs abruptly resigned his emeritus professorship at Washington University to accept a position in retirement at Yale University.

Scope and content

Reprints of 41 scientific articles and 2 case reports authored or co-authored by Ernest Sachs. Subjects include neurosurgery, neuropathology, and neuroanatomy. Also includes three medical artifacts or instrument: .Hemocyctometer case with two glass pipettes for measuring white and red blood cells. Label on case reads “Blutkorperzahlapparat nach Thoma.” Manufactured by C. Zeiss, Jena; Wooden case containing 5 bone chisels manufactured by Louis & H. Loewenstei, Berlin; .

System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Transfer, Washington University Archives, 1986 May 26 (1986-026: FP001, FP002 Ernest Sachs reprints)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

Sources used

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

Place access points

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Accession area