S. Giménez-Roldán Neurosciences and History 2018; 6(1): 10-20
Type of article: REVIEW
S. Giménez-Roldán Former head of the Department of Neurology. Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain.
Introduction. Cajal built an elegant mansion near his Biological Research Laboratory in 1906. According to recent reports in the press, the mansion is to be converted into luxury apartments; the demolition of the building will entail the erasure of important events in Cajal’s life and work.
Development. While Cajal was working in a cold, cluttered room (“the cave”) in the basement of the house, the updated version of his Histologie du système nerveux de l’homme et des vertébrés, on which he had been working for over 40 years, disappeared. It is possible that Cajal’s maid Dora and her teenage assistant may have mistaken the unbound pages for waste paper. Cajal modified his will three times, and shortly before his death, he wrote a codicil expressing his desire to be buried in Madrid’s Civil Cemetery. Ultimately, he was laid to rest beside his wife at the Catholic Almudena cemetery. His burial was surrounded by conflict, with the police stopping his coffin being carried through the crowd.
Conclusions. The demolition of the interior of the Cajal mansion entails the definitive loss of tangible references that were an essential part of the life of the father of modern neuroscience.
Burial, Histologie du système nerveux de l’homme et des vertébrés, Ramón y Cajal mansion, will, final home
Neurosciences and History 2018; 6(1): 10-20
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