BY JAMES M. SPRAGUE
LOUIS FLEXNER WAS A major scientific figure, in direct line with his distinguished uncles Abraham and Simon. He was a pioneer in the field of neurochemistry and made notable contributions also to the physiology of the cerebrospinal fluid and meninges, to the function of the placenta, and to the biochemistry of development. Through his organization and direction of the Institute of Neurological Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, he had a major role in the development of neuroscience in this country.
Louis Barkhouse Flexner was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 7, 1902, to Ida Barkhouse and Washington Flexner. He grew up in Louisville and Chicago in a home of modest but adequate means and in a family that was congenial, cooperative, industrious, and interested in literature and sports and to a smaller degree in music. Education for the children was emphasized, with nothing spared in its support. He came from a family famous for its contributions to medicine. Uncle Simon Flexner was a professor of pathology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and later became director of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City. Uncle Abraham Flexner conducted the definitive study on the organization of U.S. medical schools and wrote a book that revolutionized U.S.