Travel Letters of Late 19th-Century German Scientist Now Available in English Translation

Share Article

Daughter, Herta Jaffe, and great-grandson, Daniel Sachs, translate renowned pharmacologist Louis Lewin's travel letters.

News Image

In 1887, the renowned German scientist Louis Lewin set out across the Atlantic on what was to be an arduous seven-week journey spanning North America. His daily letters home to his wife Clara in Berlin, describing that journey, have been translated into English by his daughter, the late Herta Jaffe, and his great-grandson, Daniel Sachs, and are now available to the English-speaking public in a new book, “Across the USA and Canada in 1887: A German Scientist Experiences North America” (published by iUniverse).

Louis Lewin was 37 and already an established researcher in pharmacology and toxicology in Berlin when he set out on this trip. The ensuing decades would cement his position, not only in Germany but in the United States and other nations, as one of the leading scientists of his time. He is remembered today as a productive researcher into toxins and hallucinogens, a pioneer in industrial hygiene, and a prolific author of textbooks and monographs.

While in America, Lewin investigates the status of medical school education there, visits the newly-established laboratories of the Parke-Davis Co. in Detroit, Michigan, and attends the International Medical Congress held that year in Washington, D.C. He also visits, and graphically describes, the opium dens of San Francisco's Chinatown.

These letters are more than a pedestrian account of places visited and sights seen; they express Lewin's musings on the nascent economic power of the United States, on the disparities between rich and poor that were evident then, and on the wealth of natural resources that he observed from his train window. “Across the USA and Canada in 1887” affords English-speaking readers a glimpse into the ideas of a pioneering 19th-century scientist, together with an acutely-perceived description of the United States and Canada of that time.

About the Author(s)
Over a career spanning five decades, Louis Lewin taught and mentored hundreds of young medical students who went on to become, in their turn, leaders in their fields. He authored two outstanding texts in his field: Phantastica (1924) and Poisons and Poisonings (1929).

Herta Jaffe, the primary translator of this work, was Louis Lewin’s daughter. Escaping Nazi Germany, she emigrated to what was then Palestine in the 1930’s, and died there in 1988, at age 102.

Daniel Sachs, Lewin’s great-grandson, contributed to the translation of this work. A retired attorney, he resides in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. George Sachs, PsyD, child psychologist in New York City and Manhattan specialist in ADHD and NVLD, played a significant role in the development of this book.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebook on Twitter.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marketing Services
Email >
Visit website