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Schweitzer, Albert
1875 to 1965
Lutheran
Gabon

German theologian, musician, philosopher and missionary doctor.

After receiving a doctorate in philosophy (1899) he achieved world recognition for his organ interpretations of J. S. Bach and his studies of the life of Bach (1905) and Jesus (1906). In 1905 he entered medical school with the aim of becoming a missionary doctor, graduating in 1913. With his nurse-wife he established a hospital at Lambaréné on the Ogooué (Ogowe) River in French-ruled Gabon.

He was forced to evacuate the hospital during World War 1. He returned to Germany and published a number of philosophical works. In 1924 he went back to Gabon to resume his medical work. Although considered eccentric and paternalistic by some, he won international acclaim for his work and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954.

Mark R. Lipschutz and R. Kent Rasmussen


Bibliography:

Marshall, G. & D. Poling. Schweitzer: A Biography. Garden City: Doubleday, 1971.
Seaver, George. Albert Schweitzer: The Man and His Mind. 6th defin. ed. London: Black, 1969.
Brabazon, James. Albert Schweitzer: A Biography. New York: Putnam, 1975.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Dictionary of African Historical Biography, 2nd edition, copyright © 1986, by Mark R. Lipschutz and R. Kent Rasmussen, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. All rights reserved.