16 Historical Figures Who Suffered from STDs
16 Historical Figures Who Suffered from STDs

16 Historical Figures Who Suffered from STDs

Trista - October 8, 2018

16 Historical Figures Who Suffered from STDs
Franz Schubert. Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien/Wilhelm August Rieder/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain.

16. Franz Schubert Had Syphilis

Franz Schubert, the classical composer, showed an early aptitude for music, including a prodigious talent for the piano and voice. He studied under Antonio Salieri (the same guy who was Mozart’s rival) and began composing music as a young adult. Living in Vienna, Austria during the 1800s, on at least one occasion he passed by Beethoven while walking down the street! Hearing one of his own pieces performed in public inspired Schubert to quit his day job as a teacher and pursue music full-time. He struggled financially, though, as his music was not as traditional as what patrons were accustomed to financing. He went on to contract syphilis — which was common in Vienna — as a young adult, which may have affected his career as a composer.

Schubert’s health deteriorated, likely due at least in part to syphilis, which he self-medicated with mercury (before mercury’s toxic effects became known, it was widely used in medicine). In fact, he was so secretive about his disease that he had his friends burn all of his paperwork associated with it. He died an early death at the age of 31. Ironically, his final performance brought in enough money for him to finally buy a piano. His music didn’t become well-known until after his death; should he have lived a few more years, he may have died a wealthy man.

 

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Al Capone,” by biography.com editors. Biography.com. January 3, 2018.

“Aleister Crowley,” by Robert Lewis. Encyclopedia Britannica. October 3, 2017.

“Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Biography,” by biography.com editors. Biography.com. April 2, 2014.

“12 Historical Figures You Didn’t Know Had STDs,” by Kellen Perry. Ranker.com.

“Tallulah Bankhead,” by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. June 2, 1999.

“Scott Joplin,” by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. January 12, 2000.

“Maurice Barrymore,” by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. January 27, 1999.

“John Dillinger.” FBI History.

“Beau Brummell,” by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. July 20, 1998.

“Dress,” by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. July 20, 1998.

“James Boswell,” by Frederick A. Pottle. Encyclopedia Britannica.

“Ambrose Powell Hill,” by History.com editors. History.com. October 27, 2009.

“Franz Schubert Biography,” by Biography.com editors. Biography.com. April 2, 2014.

“Magic Johnson Biography,” by Biography.com editors. Biography.com. April 2, 2014.

“Kennedy’s Private Ills,” by Richard Reeves. The New York Times. November 21, 2002.

“Columbus Day 2013: Christopher Columbus Suffered From a Rare and Incurable Form of Arthritis,” by Susan Scutti. Medical Daily. October 14, 2013.

“Historical Figures You Won’t Believe Had STDs” Bro Bible. JUNE 24, 2014.

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