Abraham Bäck was one of the leading men of Swedish medicine in the 18th century and a contemporary of Carl von Linné, Nils Rosén von Rosenstein and Olof af Acrel. He was an enthusiastic herbalist as Carl von Linné, who became his close friend.
Abraham Bäck was born in 1713 in Söderhamn. He studied theology, philosophy and medicine at the University of Uppsala. His dissertation dealt with a study on imminent phthisis and Nils Rosén von Rosenstein promoted him a doctoral degree in 1740. Bäck went off for a scientific peregrination of four years by visiting the most well-known hospitals in Paris, London and Berlin.
Back in Sweden the main question for Abraham Bäck was the idea of a new medical education closer to the patient, not delivered from the lecturer´s desk only. He recommended a compulsory bedside education for all public doctors and proposed professorial chairs of anatomy, surgery, obstetrics and medicine with farmacy. In the new Pharmacopoea Svecica of 1775 Carl von Linné was a prominent co-worker but it was principally a production of Bäck.
On behalf of the Royal Swedish Seraphimer-Orden Abraham Bäck outlined a plan for a new lazaret in Stockholm and the inauguration took place in October 30, 1752: the gateway to the Swedish future medicine was now opened. Abraham Bäck had laid the cornerstone of the Kungl. Serafimerlasarettet, and became the first chief of the department of medicine, appointed archiater at the Royal Court and president of the Collegium medicum. Bäck was an entrepeneur of his time.
There was a warm and personal relation between Abraham Bäck and Carl von Linné. The two friends usually met off duty at Bäck’s home in Stockholm, and von Linné invited his ”Dearest Brother” to Uppsala to meet ”a little prince in the realm of Flora”. Bäck ended his life in pneumonia in 1795.
More than five hundreds of letters have been saved of the correspondence from Linné to Bäck, but there are only fifteen left of Bäck’s letters to Linné. All books, letters and manuscripts from the hands of Abraham Bäck were saved by his daughter Anna Sofia Ihre and distributed mainly to the Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Library in Stockholm and the University of Uppsala.
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012, 400. , 142 p.