Vogtherr's büchlin

Samuel Theobald, Robert Bwelch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although ophthalmology today at the Johns Hopkins Hospital is synonymous with the name of Wilmer, it should be remembered that the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute was not founded until 1925. Thus, to appreciate fully the ophthalmic heritage of Johns Hopkins we must look back to the beginnings of the medical institutions. When the Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in 1889 and the medical school followed in 1893, Samuel Theobald, M.D., was appointed ophthalmic and aural surgeon, and later clinical professor of ophthalmology and otology. Dr. Theobald, a native Baltimorean, was a member of the prestigious Smith family, which distinguished itself in early American medicine. He was raised in the home of his grandfather, Dr. Nathan Ryno Smith who directed his education. Dr. Theobald studied ophthalmology and otology abroad before opening a practice in Baltimore in 1871. Before his appointment at Johns Hopkins he was one of the founders of the Baltimore Eye, Ear and Throat Charity Hospital in 1882. In addition to his teaching at the medical school and his work in the dispensary, he contributed many articles in journals, and presentations to society meetings. He is especially remembered for his development of 'Theobald lacrimal probes', the introduction of boric acid as a collyrium, and his text book Prevalent Diseases of the Eye. He was a member of the American Ophthalmological Society for 50 years and its 14th President. In 1925 at the age of 79 years, he retired and became emeritus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalDocumenta Ophthalmologica
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Baltimore
  • Boric acid
  • Charity hospital
  • Nathan smith

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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