Established in 2006 by the estate of Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld

HENRY M. WIESENFELD, A&S 1928, was a Baltimore native and successful businessman. During his senior year at Johns Hopkins, Mr. Wiesenfeld assumed management of his family’s saddlery and sporting goods business upon his father’s death. Under Mr. Wiesenfeld’s leadership, the company continued to prosper. Eventually, he closed its store at Howard and Baltimore streets but continued to operate a mail-order saddlery business. He sold the business in the early 1960s and became comptrollor for a local printing firm.

Mr. Wiesenfeld attributed his philanthropy to Johns Hopkins University to his deeply held belief in the importance of higher education. He was profoundly grateful for his own education at Johns Hopkins and the impact it had on his life. Another possible motivation for his gift was the special history between his grandfather and Mr. Johns Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins once extended an interest-free loan to Mr. Wiesenfeld’s grandfather, enabling him to re-establish himself following the Civil War.

Mr. Wiesenfeld died on December 2, 2004; his wife, ELIZABETH P. WIESENFELD, died in 1990. The two professorships honoring Mr. and Mrs. Wiesenfeld were established through their estates.


RUTH LEYS, the inaugural Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor, joined the faculty of the Humanities Center in 1993. She currently serves as director of the Humanities Center and professor of humanities, with a joint appointment in the Department of History. Dr. Leys’ research has explored the history of the life sciences, especially the neurosciences, psychoanalysis and psychiatry. Her work has been far-ranging, including an analysis of the early history of the reflex concept, a defining notion for the modern neurosciences; a critical examination of the history of the modern concept of psychic trauma; and an exploration of the post-World War II vicissitudes of the concept of “survivor guilt” and its recent displacement by notions of shame. Dr. Leys served as editor of arguably the most important correspondence between two leading figures in twentieth-century American psychiatry and psychology, Adolf Meyer and Edward Bradford Titchener. The author of numerous books, she is currently writing about the post-war history of experimental and theoretical approaches to the study of emotions, emphasizing the philosophical issues at stake in the competing cognitivist and neo-Darwinian paradigms of the emotions.