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The eviction of Augusta and the Dejerine Foundation - 28/01/17

Doi : 10.1016/j.neurol.2016.12.006 
Jacqueline Mikol
 15, rue Gay-Lussac, 75005 Paris, France 

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Résumé

Introduction and History

The Dejerine Foundation has an eventful history which began in the early years of the 20th century. The eviction of Augusta Dejerine is related to the personality of two eminent men Jules Dejerine (1849–1917) and Pierre Marie (1853–1940), who were totally opposed except for their passion for Neurology. Jules Dejerine, who was interested in the study of language disturbances reported, as early as 1879, a first case. As early as 1883, Pierre Marie published work about aphasia. The differing views of the two neurologists was well known. Their opposition reached a peak when Pierre Marie wrote, that “his opponent was practicing science like others play lottery”. Subsequently Dejerine provoked Pierre Marie into a duel. The duel was cancelled. Indeed, in 1906, Pierre Marie reported three publications questioning the work of Dejerine. The atmosphere of the meetings of the Paris Society of Neurology was tempestuous. Augusta Dejerine quietly carried on the controversy. In addition, the position of Charcot's Chair, which was then occupied by Fulgence Raymond was about to become vacant and the two neurologists could apply, Dejerine as a student of Vulpian, Pierre Marie as a student of Charcot. Dejerine was nominated in 1911 Head of the Chair of Nervous System Diseases.

First step

Subsequently, after the death of her husband in 1917, Mrs Dejerine, as all the clinicians, was asked by Pierre Marie, who had been then appointed Head of the Chair of Nervous System Diseases, to immediately leave the Department and to remove all the documents of his predecessor including his books, theses, patient's records, photographic plates, histology slides, microscope. She was welcomed by Maurice Letulle (1853–1929), colleague and friend of Dejerine, who was given, after Pierre Marie, the position of the Chair of Pathology. The collection was thus settled into rooms of the Department of Pathology, located in the “Ecole Pratique”, and consequently under the responsibility of the Chair of Pathology. In memory of Jules Dejerine, Mrs. Dejerine and her daughter, Mrs. Sorel-Dejerine, created a fund of 10,000 francs, to favor original, clinical and experimental neurological research and publications [1]. In a decree dated 7th of September 1920, the President of the French Republic authorized the Paris Medical Faculty to accept a new “Fondation Dejerine”, involving a Museum and a laboratory, located inside the Faculty [2].

2nd step

The Dejerine Foundation was inaugurated on Wednesday the 24th of January 1923, at 2h45 p.m. under the presidency of Mr. Paul Strauss, Minister of Health, together with many personalities, colleagues and friends (Figure 1). The meeting took place in the Faculty Council-Chamber. A visit of the Foundation was subsequently organized. The Foundation was overseen by a commission, whose attributions were strictly defined. Joseph Jumentié (1879–1928) became the Director and Curator. Pr. J. Lhermitte (1877–1959) was his successor. On Friday afternoon, from 4pm to 6pm, visitors were shown the Museum. Mrs Dejerine was responsible for this event. As reported by her daughter, she dedicated all of her energy and her heart to the Foundation. Many researches were performed and reported before the Paris Society de Neurology on a special day, dedicated to the Dejerine's fund.

3rd step

Time passed. Dean Roussy (1874–1948), former assistant-Professor of Letulle had become the Head of the Chair of Pathology in 1925. He was also in charge of the Dupuytren Museum, founded in 1835. For a long time the Dupuytren Museum was located in the dining-hall of the Covent of Franciscan Friars, “les Cordeliers” which was falling into disrepair. So, in 1937, Dean Roussy decided to move all the specimens into a cellar and to add the Dejerine collection which had been put “without precaution under the steps of an old amphitheatre and a joining reserve” [3]. Then, the war began and everything was left without surveillance.

4th step

It was only in 1967, that what was left of the Museum collections and of the Dejerine Foundation documents were settled into a bright and accessible place in the Department of Pathology. The major role of Pr. J. Delarue, Head of the Chair of Pathology and mostly of Pr R. Abelanet, now Director of “The Cordeliers” and Curator of Dupuytren Museum and Dejerine Foundation must be emphasized. Pr Abelanet and his coworkers, all participated to the setting. Everything was classified and put in order. The Museum and the Dejerine Foundation were under the responsibility of Broussais-Hotel-Dieu Faculty. Pr. Paul de Saint Maur and then Dr. Patrice Josset were the successive curators with the participation of Patrick Conan. The Museum and the Dejerine Foundation have welcomed a tremendous number of national and international visitors and many students. New publications have been issued, based on the documents of the Dejerine Foundation. Subsequently, the administrative responsibility has moved from the Faculty to the University. The later consequence was the transfer of the collection in 2016 to the basement of Jusssieu University under the management of the library. There is no longer access to the collection for the public. One has to hope that the story is not finished and that the Museum and the Dejerine Foundation will soon rediscover a new life.

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Plan


 Meeting abstract Jules Dejerine: bilingual publication (English version).


© 2016  Publié par Elsevier Masson SAS.
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Vol 173 - N° S1

P. S4-S5 - février 2017 Retour au numéro
Article précédent Article précédent
  • L’éviction d’Augusta de la Salpêtrière et la Fondation Dejerine
  • Jacqueline Mikol
| Article suivant Article suivant
  • La dynastie Vulpian face à l’école Charcot
  • Bernard Brais

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