During her lifetime, Dr. Louise Eisenhardt was considered one of the foremost neuropathologists in the world. A protégé, friend, and colleague of Dr. Harvey Cushing, the "father of brain surgery," Louise Eisenhardt was for many years considered the world expert on brain tumor diagnosis. When the Journal of Neurosurgery was first published in 1944, she became its managing editor, a position she held for twenty-two years. Under her editorship, the journal became known as one of the world's most outstanding scientific publications. She also was the first woman president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (originally the Harvey Cushing Society).
Louise Eisenhardt was born in Ramsey , New Jersey, circa 1900, to Albert and Ella Knoll Eisenhardt. Although little is known of her early life, she began work in 1915 at a young age, as an editorial assistant to Dr. Harvey Cushing. During World War I, Dr. Cushing left for military duty in France, and by the time she finished editing Cushing's book Tumors of the Nervous Acusticus, she had decided to go to medical school.
While enrolled at Tufts University School of Medicine, she continued to do editorial work for Cushing, and in 1922 she began to keep a log of operative results on various types of intracranial tumors. She graduated from Tufts in 1925, with the highest scholastic record ever attained there. She interned at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, and throughout her training continued to record every tumor treated by Dr. Cushing.
After her internship and a year or so of residency, Dr. Eisenhardt rejoined Dr. Cushing as a neuropathologist. From 1928 to 1934 She was at his side as a junior associate in surgery in Boston operating rooms, making on-the-spot diagnoses of tumors and tissues as he removed them. While continuing to do pathologic diagnosis of tumor tissues, she kept a cumulative case log, co-authored papers with Cushing, and taught neuropathology at Tufts.
When Dr. Cushing moved from Harvard University to Yale in 1934, Louise Eisenhardt went with him. They spent a year setting up a brain tumor registry, starting with about two thousand specimens and fifty thousand pages of case records. In 1938, when Cushing died, Dr. Eisenhardt became curator of the registry, following thousands of patients who had had brain or spinal tumors. Neurosurgeons from all over the world would send her slides of problem tumors and she would help them decide what kind of treatment was indicated. For years young neurosurgeons and neuropathologists would also come to the collection to study the pathology of intracranial tumors.
In 2003, (the date of publication), Dr. Eisenhardt, the first woman president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, remained the only woman to have held that position.