Friends and Enemies

“I have  had the good fortune to be thrown together with some men of genius, a small number, since geniuses abound at no period, and in ours, where mechanics pre-dominate, they are particularly scarce.“ ~Serge Voronoff, From Cretin to Geniusmaharaja

Maharaja of Patiala’ , Bhupinder Singh

As a guest in India of the Maharaja of Patiala, a broad-minded ruler who takes a great interest in science, I was given the opportunity of observing elephants…” ~Love and Thoughts in Animals and Men by Dr. Voronoff, published 1937

Known as ‘the most famous Maharaja of Patiala’ , Bhupinder Singh (1891-1938) was an extravagant cricketeer who represented India at the League of Nations. He spectacularly used Rolls Royces to collect his city’s trash when the British car company refused his order of the latest model. His profile at wikipedia is here.

Mustafa AtaturkPresident Mustafa Ataturk of Turkey

From a TIME article 1926: “Dr. Voronoff has gone to the Near East to invigorate a very great patient indeed.It was said that President Mustafa Kemal Pasha of Turkey, called the Ghazi—”The Victorious”—but now somewhat debilitated by incessant, nightly champagne tippling, would confer with Dr. Voronoff in the inconspicuous city of Adana….”

Mustafa Ataturk was a WWI hero and the founder of the Republic of Turkey, as well as its first President. His wikiprofile is here.

ferdinand de lesseps

Ferdinand de Lesseps,

Builder of the Suez Canal, had many children, one of whom, possibly, married Serge Voronoff. Voronoff and Louise -Marguerite Barbe – Bearde may have met at the Lesseps home, where frequent parties with Painters, Musicians, and Alchemists. A book about the Master ALchemist Fulcanelli and his co-conspirator Julien Champagne is here.

David Hamilton claims in his book The Monkey Gland Affair that Voronoff and his wife, daughter of Lesseps, were present at the festivities of the opening of the Suez Canal allowing water travel between Europe and Asia without going around Africa. The unfortunate impact of invasive species between the Red Sea and Mediterranean is known as Lessepsian Migration.

abbas_hilmi_ii2Khedive Abbas Himli of Egypt

Khedive Abbas II was known for his alliance with the Ottoman Empire and an infamous attack on the Suez Canal at the beginning of WWI. He was the 7th generation of the Mohammad Ali dynasty. His Wikipedia profile is here.

“One day during my stay in Cairo in 1909, the Khedive’s physician, a highly cultured Egyptian, told me that the chief eunuch of the palace had just died…Suddenly a thought sprang to my mind;I realized that the premature aging of eunuchs, and their death at a period when a normal man still retains his vigor unimpaired, must be connected with the removal of their genital glands. Were not these glands therefore the source of our vital energy?

~ From Cretin to Genius by Dr. Voronoff

Dr. Voronoff served The Last Khedive of Egypt as court surgeon for ten years, from 1900 to 1910. He was President of the Faculty of Medicine, President of the Academy of Medicine, and Editor of the Presse Medicale of Egypt: from a biography of Evelyn Bostwick.


Gabriel d’Annunzio

“I have known Gabriel d’Annunzio, whose burning word, whose sparkling mind, and whose dynamic imagination attested the passionate soul of a poet of antiquity.”~From Cretin to Genius by Dr. V

D’Annunzio (1863-1938) played a prominent role in the birth of fascism and the ideas of Mussolini. He was a radical poet, dramatist, and daredevil war hero whose novels and plays influenced generations of writers. See a wikipedia profile here.

sarah bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt is known as ‘The Most Famous Actress in the World’. David Hamilton states in The Monkey Gland Affair that she was an occasional guest at Dr. Voronoff’s monkey farm Chateau Grimaldi on the Franco-Italian border. Bernhardt attained fame in the late 1800s onstage and became one of the first silent movie stars. Her flamboyant style during Le Grande Epoch in Paris was acclaimed, and many have compared her fame to that of Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. She died during the filming of her last movie, about a clairvoyant fortune teller. Her wikiprofile is here.

A 1902 cylinder recording of Bernhardt’s voice can be heard here. She read the drama Phedre by Jean Racine in Thomas Edison’s home.

branlyDr. Edouard Branly

“I cherish my association with the great French scientist Dr. Branly , whose thought reached far beyond our own age~Branly, the creator of voice transmission, across space, which Marconi made practical; the inventor of the radio conductor which bears his name, without which wireless would be impossible. His luminous spirit paved the way for further and mightier discoveries which humanity will see applied in the centuries to come. To him I owe a vote~the only vote I ever received~for membership in the Academy of Medicine..“-From Cretin to Genius by Dr. V.

Edoaurd Branly preceded Marconi, Lodge, and Tesla in early experiments with wireles telegraphy. He was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1911. ALthough he was nominated for a Nobel Prize 3 times, he never received it. His biography is here.


Charles Chamille Saint-Saens

” My relations with Saint-Saens, composer of Samson and Delilah, and an accomplished pianist,also afforded me some hours of exquisite music.”~From Cretin to Genius by Serge Voronoff

Charles Chamille Saint-Saens was a French composer, most famous for The Carnival of Animals. His biography is here.


Gustave Le Bon

The great sociologist, Gustave Le Bon, or was he not, perhaps, a genius, few among those who I have met?”~From Cretin

Gustave Le Bon was a French psychologist who published numerous books on racial superiority, crowd psychology and mystical physics. His ideas about crowds influenced both Mussolini and Hitler. See his profile at wikipedia. His controversial ideas involving “luminiferous aethers” are discussed here.


Rosny the Elder or J.-H. Rosny aîné was the pseudonym of Joseph Henri Honoré Boex (1856-1940)a French author of Belgian origin who is considered to be one of the founding figures of modern science fiction. or the French science fiction author coined the term ‘astronautique’ in 1925. He was famous for his stories about luminous alien life forms, martian invaders, mutants, and post-apocalyptic, visionary fantasies. Apparently he was friends with Dr. Voronoff as well! See his biography here.


Dr.Harvey Cushing

Harvey Cushing is known as the Father of Neurosurgery and a pioneer of brain study in the 20th Century. Dr. Voronoff considered him to be a friend and peer. His bio is here.

golgiDr. Camille Golgi the Italian neurosurgeon received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1906. He was known for his work in pathology as well. His bio is here. .

carol the 2nd

King Carol II of Rumania, whose 21-year-old illegitimate, daughter by Mme Lupescu, Princess Gerti, was one of the rewards enjoyed by the 65-year-old Voronoff: he married her.

According to TIME: “Almost a family friend of 65-year-old Dr. Voronoff is King Carol of Romania. Pretty, vivacious Mme Voronoff the 21-year-old first cousin of Magda Lupescu attends the Doctor.”

King Carol was leader of Romania from 1930-1940, enjoyed a flamboyant, playboy lifestyle and is considered to be one of the first dictators of the 20th century. His bio is here.


Frau Clara Zetkin

From TIME: “One summer day in 1925 dexterous Dr. Serge Voronoff had on his operating table a frail, weazened wisp of a woman. She was only 68 but German Reds hailed her as “The Grandmother of our Revolution!” Years of bitter struggle had aged Frau Clara Zetkin before her time. She needed “rejuvenation.” Dr. Voronoff did his best, grafted in bits of ovarian tissue, pronounced his operation “successful.”

Clara Zetkin was a German socialist, feminist, and a founding member of the Socialist Democratic Party of Germany. Streets and schools in Russia and Germany bear her name. Serge Voronoff ‘rejuvenated’ her in 1936. Her profile is here.


Max Theon

The mysterious occult leader of Algiers and Paris, had a profound influence on Dr. Voronoff, who was one of his financial supporters. Theon is known as the leader of Le Mouvement Cosmique, the Cosmic Movement; he also started the secret society known today as the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor in England,an early branch of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He was considered to be Madame Helena Blavatsky’s teacher. H.B went on to found the Theosophical Society. Much more occult information here.


Edouard Shure was an occult writer, student of Max Theon, and friend of Voronoff. He wrote many books on Atlantis, Ascended Masters, and Great Teachers of Humanity. He was well-known for his friendship and collaboration with Rudolph Steiner.A bio is here.

ponsLily Pons the famous operatic soprano was a friend of Voronoff’s, and a frequent visitor at Chateau Grimaldi in Menton. Her bio is here.

“Singer Lily Pons went to see the monkeys kept by Menton’s famed Rejuvenating Dr. Serge Voronoff, got too close to a cage, was soundly bussed by an ape named Rastus.” ~From TIME Magazine

maeterlink1Maurice Maeterlink

“People know of the affectionate friendship that binds me to Maeterlinck, one of the greatest geniuses of our time~ a poet, dramatist, philosopher, a universal spirit, who explores the visible, and rubs shoulders with the infinite; who scrutizes matter, and in that indefinite division where it borders on the immaterial, seeks to divine the enigma of creation.”~From Cretin to Genius, by S.Voronoff

According to Wikipedia, Maeterlink had many renowned friends including Albert Einstein, S. Voronoff, and Sir Oliver Lodge; man of his writings dealt with the occult, extra-sensory world, as well as his dramatic plays.

Impotence: Sex Glands, Rejuvenation, and Eugenics: John Brinkley, L.L. Stanley, S. Voronoff and others are discussed within the field of ‘Quakery’…..the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck and artist Irving R. Bacon received Voronoff’s graft.

irvingIrving Bacon may not have been a patient of Voronoff’s, but he did receive a monkey gland graft.

Interested physicians were invited to watch a monkey gland transfer into the Western artist Irving R. Bacon at the Majestic Hotel. From Impotence

The Monkey Gland Test was performed by Dr. J. A. McLeay and Dr. Thomas G. Edgar, who claimed to be students of Voronoff. They invited physicians to witness the operation on the ‘writer’ Irving R. Bacon. THe NYTimes article is here.

“Gland Operation Aids Him; Irving R. Bacon, 58, now teaches Latin at a Catholic School… from the NYTimes Article here.

franklydstonDr. Frank Lydston claimed to be the First Gland Grafter, an American who anteceded Voronoff’s controversial technique by 6 years. Lydston did not transplant monkey glands however, but the glands of deceased men and women into the elderly.

Not a New Discovery? Dr. Lydston writes in the New York Medical Council 1920:

THIS fellow Voronoff, the ‘famed discoverer’ apparently proposes to demonstrate as a new proceeding the work that I have been doing for the last six years. The first operation was performed by myself on myself in 1914, as reported by the New York Times and the Chicago Medical Society…

From the New York Times, August 1920: (read it here.)

“If I asked one of my professional friends to do the operation upon me then I would lose the opportunity to be the pioneer of the field, so I resolved to perform the operation upon myself.”

Lydston wrote many books about Sexuality, Impotence, and Dysfunction in Society. The 1885 Book of Lectures on Syphilis is presented at GoogleBooks here.

From Evolution News and Views here: From the 1890s into the early years of the twentieth century, a growing number of American doctors advocated castration as a solution for habitual criminals as well as rapists and murderers. Proponents of castration like Frank Lydston argued that “asexualization” surgery would produce results by preventing criminals from passing down their criminal tendencies to their children, by striking fear into non-castrated criminals, and by changing the personality of the castrated criminal. “This constitutes a great step in advance—one which marks a distinct epoch in scientific sociology,” he proclaimed in 1896…

johnbrinkleyIn 1918, John Romulus Brinkley began to perform operations which he claimed would restore male virility and fertility by implanting the testicular glands of goats in his male patients at a cost of US$750 per operation (a little over $10,200 today, adjusted for inflation). He hired a press agent, advertised in newspapers, and used direct mail to promote his procedure to people who wrote asking for information. During his medical career, more than 16,000 people were victims of needless insertion of goat testicles, intended to restore energy and virility levels.The full Wikipedia profile is here.

Brinkley with wife

From Quakwatch: Brinkley went to work, implanting a bit of goat gonad in Stittsworth’s testicle. Within weeks the farmer was back to thank the doctor for giving him back his libido. And when his wife gave birth to a boy, whom they appropriately named Billy, Stittsworth spread the word about Brinkley. Soon Brinkley’s business was booming…

America’s Greatest Conman: “About this time Brinkley began reading about the research of a Russian scientist working in Paris, who was trying to rejuvenate chimpanzees by exchanging their glands from one specimen to another. Serge Voronoff was actually a serious experimenter, performing graftings on his monkeys in the interest of science.

From the New York press. Before Viagra there was Dr. John R. Brinkley, whose scalpel made, as one admirer said, “the dead bough quicken and turn green again.” Brinkley took roughly $12 million between 1917 and 1942 from aging men who wanted to be “sweetly dangerous among the ladies once more.” His secret: goat glands, transplanted into the scrotums of some 16,000 men.

From the Midnight Palace: Goat gland films? Many silent films that were finished but unreleased or in production when The Jazz Singer became a mega-hit were revamped by a process known as a “goat gland job.” “Goat gland” rudely referred to an already completed silent film to which one or more talking sequences or musical numbers were added in an attempt to make the film more marketable to talkie-crazed filmgoers. The term was derived from the bogus treatment for male impotence devised by the infamous Dr. John R. Brinkley. It thankfully vanished from the movie lexicon 80 years ago.

The Grave of the Goat Gland Doctor: So why is Brock’s book called Charlatan? For the simple reason that the operation did not, and could not possibly, work. Brinkley just stuck pieces of goat testicles in patients without attaching arteries or nerves, so the glands quickly dried up and died. And so did many of his patients, usually from infection. After witnessing one of these operations in 1931, the Kansas Medical Board instantly revoked Brinkley’s license.

Ruminations on Goat GlandsBrinkley was the first Tele-evangelist with a Viagra-like cure for men; he sold colored-water medicine through 1,500 drugstores, owned the most powerful radio station in Earth’s history (one million effective watts). The government created the Federal Communication Commission to control his troubling influence in the fields of Quack medicine, religion as mass-media evangelism, and modern political campaigning….

Dr. Monkey JonesDr. Henry ‘Monkey’ Jones

The Daily Truth, from the Sydney Morning Herald shares an extensive article:”While the grafting was done with a sex gland, added Dr. Jones (sic), the effect was not simply sexual so much as a general toning up of the whole system, resulting in an actual rejuvenation of ten to fifteen years. All signs of senility, such as loss of memory, loss of figure, blood pressure and so on, were removed or reduced. In the meantime, Dr Jones’s investigations have not been greeted with enthusiasm by the medical profession, but Dr Jones is convinced that the operation will be one of the recognized treatments of the future…”

From the Age Blogs: The urban myth, laundered through half-a-century of alehouse whisper, goes something like this: mad scientist “Monkey Jones”, obsessed with finding the secret of eternal youth, had spent the wild years between the wars transplanting monkey testicles into the scrotums of aging male human beings, thus transforming the isolated Lake Macquarie hamlet of Dora Creek, nearby the doctor’s clinic, into a kind of sexual Shan-gri-la, where old men at the end of their days matched sexual vigour with fresh young women. The honeymoon ended, says the legend, when the doctor died, the experiments ceased and everything – to the relief of the township’s elderly women – returned to normal. Thanks to Jack Marx

Dr Jones went to Paris on his retirement. He enrolled as a student at the ‘College de France’ and studied under the famous Russian Doctor, Serge Voronoff. Dr Voronoff had claimed his surgical techniques could lead to the rejuvenation of ‘man.’ He intended to learn the Voronoff surgical techniques of transplant operation. Indeed it is claimed that Dr Jones underwent the rejuvenation process himself. The full bio is here.

4 thoughts on “Friends and Enemies

  1. S. Voronoff came to Brazil by suggestion of Julia Mann, mother of Thomas Mann. In Germany, Julia received writers and artists; Vononoff had been in a lot of thses meetings, invited by Thomas. Voronoff , went to USA to participate of meeting to give Doctor Honoris Causa to Thomas (and Einstein, in same day). In Brasil, Voronoff lived in Parati, same city where Julia was born (Julia Mann was a brazilian woman).
    Thomas was a important friend of Voronoff.

  2. Hello,
    The doctor voronoff serge had a friend at Menton, a writer Vincente Blasco Ibanez. He visited him every week in his villa ” Fontana Rosa ” ( 1922-1928 ). Did you know him ? Have you some documents on this subject?
    Greetings, Alain BERTIN.

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