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Biographical entry Steindler, Arthur (1878 - 1959)

22 June 1878
21 July 1959
Orthopaedic surgeon


Born in Vienna on 22 June he studied at Prague and Vienna Universities, emigrated to the United States in 1907 and became an American citizen in 1914. He worked with John Ridlon at St Luke's Hospital, Chicago 1907-10 and was then appointed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He moved to Iowa City in 1913, where he became Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the State University College of Medicine in 1915, retiring in 1949 with the title of Emeritus; he went on working at the Mercy Hospital for nearly ten years more.

Steindler read several languages and acquired an encyclopaedic knowledge of orthopaedic surgery. He was a perpetual student and when over 70 continued to circulate his "Seminar notes", thoughtful essays on various subjects. His writing and lectures were not lucid, but his experience and wisdom were unmatched, for he had great practical ability as well as learning and devised several excellent operations such as the transplantation of the extensor hallucis tendon for paralysis of the anterior tibial muscle, flexor plasty of the thumb in thenar palsy, and conservative compensation-derotation treatment of scoliosis.

Steindler remained a shy and humble man; when necessary he could be forthright, but was particularly gentle with younger men. He lived modestly and spent little on himself, but was generous to friends and relations whose lives had been shattered by the destruction of Austria in 1938-45.

Steindler was President of the American Orthopaedic Association and a Corresponding Member of the Mexican National Academy of Sciences and Arts. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of this College in 1954, and was similarly honoured by many surgical societies. He died on 21 July 1959 aged 81, survived by his wife.


Reconstructive surgery of the upper extremity 1923.
Diseases and deformities of the spine and thorax 1929
Orthopedic operations 1940.
Postgraduate lectures on orthopedic diagnosis and indications, 4 vols. 1950-52.
Kinesiology of the human body 1955.
Lectures on the interpretation of pain in orthopedic practice 1959.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1959, 2, 194 with appreciation by H J Seddon; J Bone Jt Surg 1954, 36 B, 512 with coloured portrait and appreciation by Lambert Rogers, and 1959, 41 B, 850-852 with portrait and appreciation by H J Seddon; J Int Coll Surg 1959, 32, Bulletin Section ii, p 36 with portrait and appreciation by Max Thorek].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England