Dr. Harry A. Teitelbaum, 98, psychiatrist and neurologist


Dr. Harry A. Teitelbaum, a retired psychiatrist and neurologist whose practice spanned half a century, died of arteriosclerosis June 30 at his North Baltimore home. He was 98.

Dr. Teitelbaum was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of seven children of Russian immigrants.

He earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1929, and was a 1935 graduate of the UM School of Medicine. He earned a doctorate in anatomy a year later.

He completed a residency in psychiatry and neurology at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

"During his first year of medical school, he discovered the mediastinal ganglion, a nerve center located in the chest but obscured by connective tissue," said his daughter, Joan T. Goldstein of Potomac. "His publication of this anatomical discovery led to a number of fellowships."

During World War II, Dr. Teitelbaum served in the Army Medical Corps. He directed a psychiatric and neurological unit in the Pacific and attained the rank of major.

In 1947, he married Marjorie Shively, whom he had met in Australia during the war, and the next year they settled in Baltimore.

Dr. Teitelbaum had been on the faculties of the Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland medical schools, and on the staff of affiliated hospitals as well as Sinai Hospital and the old Seton Psychiatric Institute.

He conducted research at the Pavlovian Laboratory at Hopkins with Dr. William Horsley Gantt, founder in 1930 and director of the country's first Pavlovian laboratory.

His research interests focused on the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, conditional reflexes in clinical psychiatry and neurology, and the effects of stress on cardiovascular function.

Dr. Teitelbaum maintained a private practice on Eutaw Place, and later on Cold Spring Lane.

"He had a real intellectual bent and loved research and writing," his daughter said.

His book, Psychosomatic Neurology, was published in 1964, and during his career he wrote more than 100 papers on anatomy, physiology, psychiatry, neurology and conditional reflexes.

In a 1985 reunion booklet for his medical class at the University of Maryland, Dr. Teitelbaum wrote: "The most gratifying experience while practicing medicine is the challenge of solving difficult diagnostic problems and resolving a patient's emotional problems."

"He was a marvelously warm human being, a great scientist, and a Renaissance man who was universally loved," said Dr. James J. Lynch, a Baltimore psychologist. "When I was a student of Harry's and later a post-doc, he would invite me to delightful dinner parties in his Mount Washington home that featured a cross-section of people. He had an infectious smile and loved people."

He retired in 1990.

Dr. Teitelbaum lived for the past decade in the Belvedere Towers apartments,. He enjoyed listening to classical music, attending the ballet and Center Stage, and was an avid reader and tennis player.

His wife of 55 years, the former executive director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Maryland and president of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore, died in 2002.

Services are private.

Also surviving are a son, Paul S. Teitelbaum of Baltimore, and two granddaughters.


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