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Emil Seletz Gallery

Ramon Y Cajal

Bust of Santiago Ramon Y Cajal
Donor: Emil Seletz

The following is from the book Emil Seletz, Sculptor.

Dr. Cyril B. Courville, the author of the short biography of Cajal in Webb Haymakers's Founders of Neurology (Charles B. Thomas, publisher), introduced me to the greatness of Cajal.

Cajal, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Zaragoza and later at Valencia, was probably the greatest neurohistopathologist of all times.

The author of many books, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1906 for his work on special tissue staining.

Dr. Courville - anatomist, neurologist and neuropathologist (and author of several books) had many traits of Cajal.

He was very artistic. Many of his drawings of histopathology are contained in his original contributions in his studies of micropathology of brain injuries in his writings, and in his textbook on neuropathology attest to the exactness and beauty of his work. Dr. Courville was at one time President of the American Association of Neuropathology.

I made the original portrait bust of Cajal for Dr. Courville from many photographs of Cajal that Dr. Courville obtained for me.


Dr. Havey Cushing

Bust of Dr. Harvey Cushing
Donor: Emil Seletz (1991)

The following is from the book Emil Seletz, Sculptor.

The father of neurologic surgery in America: There is little that I can add to the many written descriptions about this man and his work and especially to the detailed biography of Dr. Cushing by a very magnificent person, the neuroanatomist and neurophysiologist, Dr. John F. Fulton.

I have been fortunate in having for my subjects the first two residents of Dr. Cushing, Dr. Walter E. Dandy and Dr. Howard C. Naffziger.

Dr. Richard Upjohn Light, who had trained with Dr. Cushing, was kind enough to lend me more than 40 negatives of photographs that he had taken of Dr. Cushing while with him in Boston.

Dr. Cyril B. Courville, neurologist, neuroanatomist and neuropathologist - head of the Cajal Laboratory at the General Hospital, had written to Dr. Cushing during the time that I was a resident (in the Los Angeles General Hospital). Dr. Courville was very artistic and was completing a medallic relief of Dr. Cushing.

He wrote to Dr. Cushing that he was completing a "plaque" of Dr. Cushing and that I hoped to do a bust of Dr. Cushing. Dr. Cushing answered him in what I am told was true Cushing style: "I do not wish to be 'plaqued' and I do not wish to be 'busted'." Nevertheless, I was not discouraged.


Dr. Walter Dandy

Bust of Dr. Walter Dandy Donor: Emil Seletz

The following is from the book Emil Seletz, Sculptor.

Dr. Walter Dandy of Johns Hopkins, the genius of surgery of the brain.

He was, during his lifetime, the most capable and most renowned neurosurgical giant, not only on the continent, but in the world.

Among his many writings and books is a book on intracranial arterial aneurysms - before the advent of cerebral angiography.

His discovery of ventriculography made it possible for the first time to diagnose accurately the location of an intracranial brain tumor in some 95% of all patients with a tumor of the brain.

This great discovery was made when he was only a resident in 1919. This is the greatest discovery in neurologic surgery since the very beginning of this great specialty.

Walter Dandy without any doubt whatever should have been awarded the Nobel Prize and he probably would have been if his mentor had approved. A brief summary of the accomplishments of Dr. Dandy is quoted from the very splendid write-up by Dr. J. DeWitt Fox, neurosurgery, in the Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal in 1977 (Vol. 25, No. 3, 1977) -

    Walter Dandy Super Surgeon A profile of this famed neurosurgeon is presented with human interest anecdotes collected primarily from his residents, the men who knew him best. The major contributions from his hand included not only new operations, diagnostic ventriculography and pneumoencephalography, but also 169 outstanding papers and five books, the last a monumental work of 600 pages, The Brain, which is the section on brain in Lewis' Practice of Surgery. With the "brain team" of Johns Hopkins, he accomplished more during his neurosurgical career than any man alive, even his mentor, Harvey Cushing. He performed a wealth of work daily, and achieved operative miracles with patients others considered hopeless.

    Dandy did more neurosurgical operations (2,000 posterior fossa approaches), wrote more papers (169) and books (5), contributed more knowledge and diagnostic tests and new ideas than even his teacher, Harvey Cushing (see Archivist's Note at the end).

    He wrote five books between 1933 and 1945. They are:

    1. Benign Tumors in the Third Ventricle of the Brain - Diagnosis and Treatment (1933)
    2. Benign Encapsulated Tumors in the Lateral Ventricles of the Brain - Diagnosis and Treatment 1934)
    3. Orbital Tumors: Results Following the Transcranial Operative Attack (1944)
    4. Intracranial Arterial Aneurysms (1944)
    5. Surgery of the Brain (1945)

    It was a real pleasure and a privilege for me to have made this portrait from life of my friend and teacher. While Dr. Dandy was sitting for me, Dr. Verne Hunt whose portrait bust I was completing, would come over in the evening and gossip with Dr. Dandy.

Archivist's Note: With all due respect to both Drs. Seletz and Fox, parts of this paragraph is in error and parts are questionable --

  • Dandy did more neurosurgical operations (2,000 posterior fossa approaches),
  • wrote more papers (169)
  • and books (5)
  • contributed more knowledge and diagnostic tests and new ideas than even his teacher, Harvey Cushing. In comparison,

  • Cushing performed over 2,000 brain surgeries, most of which were pituitary surgery (our film entitled Cushing's 2000th Verified Brain Tumor Operation)
  • Cushing published 308 papers and, I won't profess to know if this fourth statement is correct!


Pre-20th Century · Aneurysm and Micro-Neurosurgery · History of Organized Neurosurgery
Stereotactic Neurosurgery · The Cushing Tumor Registry · Portrait Hall · Leaders in Neuroscience
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