Henri Feulard (1858-1897)

The life and works of the Secretary of the first International Congress of Dermatology

Text of the article written by Daniel Wallach and Gérard Tilles and published in the International Journal of Dermatology, 1998; 37: 469-474.


Henri Feulard is best known in France as founder of the Feulard Dermatology Library and as the first Curator of the Wax Moulages Museum located inside the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris 1. He was also the main organizer and Secretary of the first International Congress of Dermatology and Syphiligraphy, held in Paris in August, 1889 2.

This article is a tribute to the memory of Henri Feulard, who died tragically in the burning of a charity bazaar, one hundred years ago.

 

Henri Feulard 's life events

Henri Feulard was born in Paris on May 20, 1958. Both his grand father and father were physicians.

Feulard was an Extern at Paris hospitals in 1877 and Interned in 1881 (9th. rank).

He came to the Hospital Saint-Louis on January 1st., 1884, as Intern in Vidal's department.The hospital was devoted almost entirely to dermatology and venereology in the era. In 1886, he became the Chief of the Clinics under Professor Fournier. Professor Fournier was since 1879 the first Professor of "Cutaneous and syphilitic diseases" in Paris. In I892, Feulard joined the staff of the Infirmary of Hôpital Saint-Lazare, where compulsory treatment was given to prostitutes with venereal diseases.

Feulard published many texts on clinical dermatology, mainly in the Annales de Dermatologie et de Syphiligraphie. He was an excellent administrator and organizer, as well as a young,dynamic leader of French Dermatology. He founded the dermatological library in 1886 and organized at the same time the Moulages museum of the hospital Saint-Louis. He organized the First International Congress of Dermatology and Syphiligraphy; he was also active in the French Society of Dermatology and its Bulletin, as well as in the Annales de Dermatologie et de Syphiligraphie. In addition, Feulard was Secretary of the Association of Internes and ex-Internes of Paris hospitals.

Feulard's death at age 39 was a tragic loss that was felt in the dermatologic community of not only France but also the rest of the world.

 

Henri Feulard's scientific publications.

From 1884 to his death in 1897, Henri Feulard authored 94 publications3. The list of these publications clearly indicates his main fields of interest. They can be classified as follows:

It must be pointed out that with his personal works on tinea capitis, including favus , and syphilis, Feulard contributed to the discussions on the medical and social aspects of the main preoccupations of dermatologists of this time with a public health approach.

 

The Museum and Library of Hôpital Saint-Louis.

The Hospital Saint-Louis was a very active hospital that dealt with the specialty of dermatology.

In 1882, a new building was erected to support clinical research and teaching.The ground floor was the out-patient clinic. More than 300 patients were seen daily. The First floor contained a library, a lecture room and the Main Hall for the permanent exhibit of the Wax moulages that were crafted by Jules Baretta.The entrance hall and the staircase were decorated with sculptures, paintings and photographs of the Greats in Dermatology.

Feulard set the 2445 moulages in specially built cabinets. They are placed in alphabetical order of diagnosis.

Nine of the moulages were of Feulard's patients.They were lichen planus (3), urticaria pigmentosa (2, including the first French case8), juvenile xanthoma, secondary syphilis and cardiac oedema.

Feulard was appointed administrator of the Museum in 1894.

The Medical Library of the Hospital Saint-Louis was created at the end of 1886. Feulard (who wrote the statutes), Fournier, Hallopeau, Quinquaud, Vidal, Besnier and Lailler were all founders of the Library..

Charles Lailler is to be remembered as the discoverer of Jules Baretta, the great moulagist. Lailler also founded the first museum of dermatology paintings and moulages, located in the wards of his department in 1878. Lailler gave 600 volumes to start the new library.

Henri Feulard , with the help of a grateful patient established the catalogue of the library and it opened in November, 1887. Feulard was appointed librarian in 1890 and held that post until his death.

 

The invention, promotion, organization and publication of the First International Congress of Dermatology and Syphiligraphy.

Feulard was the originator of the concept of an International Congress of Dermatology, organized in the midst of the 1889 Universal Exhibition (2) and held in the Wax Moulages Museum of Hôpital Saint-Louis. As general Secretary, he published the Congress' proceedings (7).

Feulard's personal scientific contributions to the first ICD include :

Feulard's contributions to the second and third International Congresses of Dermatology

As the general secretary and main organizer of the first ICD, Feulard gained international recognition and was among the important members and contributors of the following ICD.

The second ICD was held in Vienna10. Kaposi was President, Riehl general Secretary.

There were 17 foreign secretaries, including Feulard for France. Feulard's main contribution was a full report on the question of dermatomycoses. He gave detailed statistics on the frequency of favus and alopecia areata in conscripts in France. Feulard, like most authors, considered alopecia areata as part of the tinea group and extensive alopecia areata was indeed a motive for exemption from military service. In this important work, prolonging his medical thesis, Feulard insisted on the decrease of favus in France. By contrast, he reported an important increase of the number of soldiers with alopecia areata . Feulard gave apparently convincing arguments favoring the contagiousness of alopecia areata . Military physicians tended to incriminate the clippers used by military hairdressers.

The third ICD was held in London in 189611. The president was Hutchinson and the General Secretary Pringle. Again Feulard was the French Foreign Secretary. He made two important contributions, in the form of full reports, on two of the main questions discussed at the congress:

The subject "prurigo" was introduced by a long report from Besnier, followed by lectures by White (Boston) and Payne (London). Feulard then reported on " prurigo in children " . As a consultant in the Hospital for Sick Children in Paris, he had observed 74 children with prurigo and he described it in detail. These are clear cases of atopic dermatitis (diathetic prurigo, according to Besnier). Feulard discussed the frequency of digestive disturbancies and advocated dietary treatment.

The congress included a section on syphilis. One of the questions was about the duration of the period of contagion of syphilis, with four reports, by Hutchinson, Campana (Rome), Lassar (Berlin) and Feulard. This question was of the utmost importance. Syphilitic patients had to wait for the end of the period of contagion to be allowed to marry.

Feulard gave the detailed statistics established by Barthelemy on the prostitutes of höpital Saint-Lazare. This demonstrated that secondary, communicable syphilis could last as long as 12 years. Feulard then reported in detail 21 patients who transmitted syphilis after a very long disease duration (maximum 20 years).

At the end of the London congress, the attendees unanimously chose to hold the fourth Congress in Paris, in 1900 . Besnier was elected as President. The Organizing committee chose Henri Feulard to be the General Secretary of this fourth ICD. After Feulard's death, Thibierge was elected. During the opening session of the 4th ICD, (held in Paris, August 2-9, 1900, as part of the 13th. International Congress of Medicine) Thibierge and Besnier movingly reminded the memory of Henri Feulard and the horrible circumstances of his death.

 

The French Society of Dermatology and Syphiligraphy, the Annales, the Bulletin.

French dermatologists, headed by Hardy, Besnier, Ricord, Fournier, Vidal, at the first ICD started the French Society of Dermatology and Syphiligraphy (FSDS) 12. The idea originated in the "thursday conferences" where all the dermatologists of the departments of the Hôpital Saint-Louis met to discuss rare cases and difficult diagnoses.

The founding meeting of the new Society took place on June 22, at Vidal's home. 26 dermatologists were present , including Feulard . Following meetings were held at Ricord's home, on July 17 and on August 8, when the Society board of directors was chosen (Table). Feulard was one of the six annual Secretaries, in charge of the organization and proceedings of the meetings.

The first meeting of the FSDS was held in the Conference room of the Museum on Thursday, April 10, 1890. At this meeting, Feulard reported two cases of lichen ruber planus with oral mucosa lesions 13. He proposed the name be changed to Wilson's lichen, stating that lichen ruber planus is not a correct denomination because the lesions may be neither red nor macular.

Feulard was , from 1890 to his death, one of the most active contributors to the FSDS. He was the author of 40 oral presentations and participated in many discussions. In 1894 Feulard was appointed archivist of the Society.

Feulard's last presentation, on March 11, 1897, was on two cases of alopecia areata totalis in a woman and one of her children. These cases were rare and difficult to explain; he regarded them as examples of transmission of an infectious agent. Brocq proposed to the Society to discuss the problem of the etiology of alopecia areata in a special session.

A new periodical was created in order to report the presentations and discussions of the FSDS meetings: the Bulletin de la Société française de Dermatologie et de Syphiligraphie. It was published until 1976. From 1890 to 1893, Feulard was among the editors of the Bulletin. The Annals of Dermatology and Syphiligraphy had been founded in 186814 by Doyon as the first collective periodical on this specialty in France. In 1890, Feulard was appointed editor-in-chief and remained so until his death. The Annales are still published today.

 

Other activities

Henri Feulard's tragic death

The burning of the Bazar de la Charité (Charity bazaar) on May 4 , 1897, stands as one of the most horrible tragedies of civil times16.

This bazaar was a temporary charity sale, hold by ladies and young girls of the aristocracy and upper bourgeoisie, with the aim of collecting money for charitable work.

A woodden warehouse had been built on a ground in rue Jean Goujon, near the Champs Elysées. Sales counters were representing an old Paris street; an awning covered the whole bazaar. A cinematograph cabin had been installed behind a curtain, in the back of the bazaar. At 4.20 p.m. on May 4, fire started in the projection lamp and in less than three minutes the curtain, the awning, the whole wood and painted canvas building were burning.

There was panic and violence among the 1200 persons who were inside the bazaar.

Feulard, his wife, and their 10-year old daughter Germaine rushed to the exit on Jean-Goujon street . But before getting to the street, the young girl was separated from her parents. Feulard got back into the inferno to try and find her. He was never seen alive again.

Henri Feulard and his daughter are among the 126 dead of this tragedy. Feulard's wife was severely burnt.

The sufferings of Madame Feulard are beyond the words. She had lost her two other children earlier from diphtheria.

Henri Feulard's horrible death, at age 39, and the tragedy that his young wife had to endure, profoundly moved his colleagues. The meeting of the FSDS, on May 13, was cancelled in sign of mourning, and postponed to May 20. At this May 20 meeting, president Besnier, who had represented the FSDS at Feulard's burial, read messages of sympathy from the Presidents of the Dermatological societies of Vienna (Kaposi), Berlin (Lassar, Rosenthal), Budapest (Schwimmer), Moscow (Pospelow), London(Malcolm Morris) and from Neisser (Breslau) and de Amicis (Naples) 17. Hallopeau recounted Feulard's main achievements18.

The medical library of the HSL was named Bibliothèque Henri-Feulard in June 1897 and a small street near HSL was given the name of this prominent dermatologist.

In 1899, a marble monument to Henri Feulard's memory was inaugurated in the library, where it is still visible to-day.

 

Table

The first board of Directors of the French Society of Dermatology and Syphiligraphy, established during a meeting at Ricord's home, rue de Tournon, on August 8, 1889

(The original document is hand-written by Barthelemy)

Honorary presidents
Ricord
Diday (from Lyon)

President
Hardy

Vice-presidents
Besnier
Fournier
Rollet (from Lyon)

General Secretary
Vidal

Annual Secretaries
Barthelemy
Feulard
Thibierge
Verchère
Arnozan (from Bordeaux)
Tavernier (from Lille)

Treasurer
Du Castel

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Dr. Jimmy Schmidt, MD, for his encouragements and help in the writing of this article.

 

Bibliography

 

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