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Cécile Vogt (1875–1962)
  1. L F Haas

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    Cécile Vogt was French and her husband Oskar Vogt (1870–1959) half Danish and half German. She married Oskar in 1899 in Berlin. The Vogts crusaded for a brain institute and finally the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute für Hirnfirschung was created for them in Berlin. Famous neurologists such as Brodman and Bielschowsky did research there, Brodman making his main contributions while working at the institute.

    The Vogts studied the layered structure of the cerebral cortex, cerebral fibre pathways, and the anatomical and physiological aspects of the extrapyramidal system. They refined and defined what was known of the cortical areas. The Vogts were among the investigators who described the pathological lesions of Huntington’s chorea. Cécile and Oskar Vogt confirmed that this was caused by asphyxia neonatorum.

    After Vladimir Lenin, the intellectual leader of the Russian revolution, died in 1924 at the age of 54 from progressive cerebrovascular disease, the Soviet government asked Oskar Vogt to examine his brain. Vogt found that pyramidal neurones in layer 111 in several areas of Lenin’s cerebral cortex were exceptionally large and numerous. Based on his opinion that these cells might subserve “associated thinking”, Vogt apparently believed that this structural peculiarity could account for the acute and penetrating mental processes that characterised Lenin’s personality—the implication being that it was possible to detect the material substrate of genius.

    After Oskar’s death, Cécile moved to England, spending her later years with her daughter. There has not been a stamp of Oskar Vogt, but Cécile was portrayed in a series issued between 1986 and 1991 portraying famous women (Stanley Gibbons 2160, Scott 1487).

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