Family and Friends --Uncle, Johann Adam Kulmus -- Biography

Johann Adam Kulmus, portrait by J. Wessel (courtesy Biblioteka Gdanksa PAN)

Johann Adam Kulmus (Breslau 18 March 1689 - Danzig 30 May 1745) was the younger brother of Johann Georg Kulmus and Luise Kulmus's uncle. He studied at the Magdalena Gymnasium in Breslau. In 1706, after the deaths of his parents, he moved to Danzig where his brother resided. Beginning in 1711 he studied at the university of Halle, with Christian Wolff, Friedrich Hoffmann and Georg Ernst Stahl. In 1714 he heard lectures at the universities in Frankfurt an der Oder, Leipzig, Altdorf and, finally, Basel where he graduated in medicine in 1719 with a dissertation on the relationship between body and character (De harmonia morum et morborum). After a European tour which took him to Holland, where he attended lectures by the famous doctor Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738) in Leyden, he returned to Danzig and settled down as a practicing physician and lecturer in medicine. On 4 November 1721 he married Konkordia Ebeling, widow of the retailer Christoph Leuschner. His medical lectures were based on his own Elementa philosophiae naturae (1722). He specialised in anatomy and in 1722 published his famous Anatomical Tables (Anatomische Tabellen). Due not only to the relative accuracy of these tables, but also to the small format of the book and use of the vernacular, these became very popular and were translated into Latin, French, Dutch, Italian, and Japanese. Indeed in 1771 they launched the western-style study of medicine in Japan. In 1725 Kulmus was appointed Professor of Medicine and Natural Science at the Danzig Gymnasium. He gave occasional lectures in mathematics. The disputations of his students were collected and printed in 1729 as Fasciculus exercitationum physicarum. He also became a Municipal Physician (Stadtphysikus) and was a member of the Imperial Leopoldine Academy of Scientists (1722) and the Berlin Academy of Sciences (1725). He published many smaller treatises.

Like many at this time he also practiced writing occasional poetry and instructed his niece in German prosody. Although this author has only found one example of his poetry, his poem in memory of City Councillor Johann Andreas Thümmel suggests a practiced talent.

After the death of Luise Kulmus's father in 1731 her uncle became her guardian. His approval would have been necessary for marriage. He had been corresponding on friendly and professional matters with Johann Christoph Gottsched after Gottsched's visit in 1729. Luise Kulmus wrote occasional verse for him.

[Christian Gottleib Jöcher. Allgemeines Gelehrten-Lexicon. Bd. 2 rpt: Hildesheim: Olms, 1966. 2182f.]
[Christian Krollmann. Altpreußische Biographie. Marburg/Lahn: N.G. Elwert Verlag, 1974. S 374]