Virchow’s Biography


13 Oct 1821

Born in Schivelbein (today Świdwin, Poland)

June 1839

Graduation to go to university

Oct 1839

Beginning of medical studies at the so-called Pépinière (Military Medical Academy in Berlin)


Reception of his M.D.

1 April 1843

Beginning of his medical internship at the Charité


Medical assistant of the so-called prosector (pathologist) of the Charité, Robert Froriep


First publications on leukaemia and blood clotting in Froriep’s “Neue Notizen”


Passing of his state examination; appointment as prosector of the Charité (successor of Robert Froriep)


Habilitation; founding of the pathological journal “Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin” (later called “Virchow’s Archive”) together with Benno Reinhardt

Feb 1848

Excursion to Upper Silesia to perform investigations on the causes of a spotted fever epidemic on behalf of the Prussian government

March 1848

Participation in the Berlin street fightings within the 1848 revolution on the side of the radical democrats

10 June 1848

First edition of the weekly medical journal “Die medicinische Reform” (published together with Rudolf Leubuscher, ended in mid-1849), plea for a public health care


Expelled from his position because of his participation in the 1848 riots

Nov 1849

Reception of a Chair for Pathological Anatomy at the University of Würzburg

Aug 1850

Married to Rose Mayer in Berlin

Feb 1852

Investigation of the causes of a typhus epidemy in the mountain area of the Spessart (Northern Bavaria) on behalf of the Bavarian government


Publication of the core phrase “Omnis cellula a cellula” (All cells stem from cells)


Reception of the newly created Chair for Pathological Anatomy and Physiology at the Berlin Friedrich-Wilhelms-University; director of the newly built Institute for Pathology on the premises of the Charité


Publication of his opus magnum “Die Cellularpathologie in ihrer Begründung auf physiologische und pathologische Gewebelehre”

June 1859

Elected to become a member of the Berliner „Stadtverordneten-Collegium“ (Berlin Chamber of Representatives)

Dec 1860

Official Member of the “Königliche Wissenschaftliche Deputation für das Medizinalwesen” (Royal Scientific Board for Medical Affairs)

June 1861

Co-founder of the “Deutsche Fortschrittspartei” together with Theodor Mommsen (among others)

March 1862 Elected to become a member of the “Preußisches Abgeordnetenhaus” (Prussian House of Representatives)
1863-1867 Publication of the three volume textbook “Die krankhaften Geschwülste”
June 1865 Duel claim of Bismarck (Virchow refused)

Head of a committee of the Berlin Chamber of Representatives to develop a concept for canalization for Berlin in respect to the used water. Visit to Paris to study the canalization system there. Start of his engagement for the erection of urban hospitals; first measures to build the “Allgemeine Krankenhaus am Friedrichshain”

Since 1870

chief editor of the “Zeitschrift für Ethnologie”


Presentation of a master plan for cleaning and dealing with used water in Berlin (with the creation of used water distribution fields outside of the city). Reception into the Berlin Royal Academy of the Sciences. Start of his ethnological studies of the German population


Presentation of his ethnological study results at the International Congress for Archeology in Budapest


Visit to Schliemann in Troja. Publication of his fundamental “Gesammelte[n] Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der öffentlichen Medizin und der Seuchenlehre“


Elected to become a member of the German Reichstag (member until 1893)


Arranging for the transfer of Schliemann’s archeological findings in Troja to Berlin museums. Opening of the central Berlin slaughter house (Virchow had demanded its building on the basis of the results of his trichinosis studies


Presiding the 59th meeting of the “Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte”. Opening of the “Museum für Völkerkunde” (Virchow had been intensively involved in developing the concept and realizing this museum)


Founding of the “Museum für deutsche Volkstrachten und Erzeugnisse des Hausgewerbes”, today “Museum Europäischer Kulturen“ (Virchow had also been involved in developing the concept and in realizing this museum)

March 1890

Visit to Schliemann in Troja

Aug 1890

Participation at the 10th International Medical Congress in Berlin

13 Oct 1891


Reception of high honors for his 70th birthday. Honorary president of the “Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte“


Rector of the Berlin University (first time)


Presenting a talk at the London Royal Society


Presenting a talk at the 11th International Medical Congress in Rome


Presiding the International Leprosy Conference in Berlin

27 June 1899

Opening of the Pathological Museum of the Berlin Friedrich-Wilhelms-University on the premises of the Charité (Virchow’s most important museum’s foundation; today location of the Berlin Museum for Medical History of the Charité)

13 Oct 1901

Reception of high honors for his 80th birthday
4 Jan 1902

Fall while exiting the electric tram way and hip fracture

5 Sept 1902 Rudolf Virchow dies in Berlin


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