Dec 16, 2020  By Ed Schwartzreich

This is the last of three articles based upon materials shared by Ashley Wolff, Paul Wolff ’s granddaughter. Here, starting with images from Ashley, we will examine what is likely the totality of pictures involving Paul Wolff and doctors. There are only a very few such, and those few are surprisingly perfunctory. We will look at why this might be the case, and what this likely tells us about Wolff as a person.

Years ago, when this author started working on the bibliography of Leica pioneer Paul Wolff and then gradually encountered the related biographical data, he came face to face with the story of Wolff being first a physician (with an avocation of photography) and then later a famous photographer. And not just a famous photographer, but also a person who kept the title “Doktor” even though he had ceased practicing as one at the end of WWI. For Germans, “Doktor” as an honorific refers to the holder of a Ph.D. or an honorary degree, not usually a medical doctor (“Arzt”); however, in Wolff ’s time, most medical doctors wrote theses, as also did Wolff. Being a Doktor in Germany has always entitled one to great respect. Likely Wolff kept the “Dr.” because of his academic doctorate and not because of the M.D., but of course they were linked. And quite possibly also he chose “Dr. Paul Wolff ” to distinguish himself as a photographer from his contemporary competitor, “Paul Wolff (Dresden)”.

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