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William M. Bickers, MD
JAMA. 1965;193(11):956-957. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090110094028.
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Doctor, philosopher, musician, humanist, theologian—Albert Schweitzer was all these. Son of a Lutheran pastor in the beautiful village of Gunsbach in the province of Alsace, he knew in happy childhood the stern discipline of the Germans and the gay romanticism of the French. Educated under both disciplines, he was bilingual and geographically polycentric, but his character and personality were all deutsch.

The young Schweitzer was something of a musical prodigy, if such can be measured by tireless effort to develop a somewhat above average talent. Never a brilliant student, he was the "tortoise" attaining excellence by sincerity of purpose and dogged perseverence. Never a lovable youth, he exasperated his elders by precocious assertions on moral and religious matters certain to fall unpleasantly upon pious ears. He is said to have had a violent temper.

At the age of 18, Schweitzer entered Strassburg University and, follwing in his father's footsteps, matriculated


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