Deaths: Lawrence Solomon

Lawrence Solomon

Lawrence Solomon, former longtime head of dermatology. “He had such an unforgettable personality,” says Iris Aronson, associate head of dermatology.


Lawrence M. Solomon, 83, longtime head of dermatology in the College of Medicine at Chicago, died Oct. 8 in his North Shore home. He was 83.

“I know patients who saw him 20 or 25 years ago that still remember him because he had such an unforgettable personality,” said Iris Aronson, associate head of dermatology.

Known as an exceptional clinician and diagnostician specializing in pediatric dermatology, he drew patients from all over the Midwest.

He is best known for his description of epidermal nevus syndrome — skin growths associated with abnormalities affecting the central nervous system, skeleton, cardiovascular system and other organs. Because of his extensive and thorough characterization, the disorder is known as Solomon’s syndrome.

Solomon headed the dermatology department from 1974 to 1995, then practiced at Lutheran General Hospital before going into private practice in Glenview, where he continued to see patients one day a week until December 2013.

He was instrumental in bringing the federally funded Midwest Leprosy Clinic, now called the Chicago Hansen’s Disease Clinic, to UIC.

“He was a highly intelligent man with multiple interests beyond medicine,” Aronson said. “He had an amazing in-depth knowledge of literature, books, theater and movies. He was one of those people who could talk about almost anything to anyone.”

A devotee of literature and mystery novels, especially Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, his personal library held more than 6,000 volumes.

“He would always search for first editions of books in whatever city he was visiting, especially Sherlock Holmes books,” Aronson said.

Solomon, who grew up in Montreal, spoke English and French as well as Yiddish, his first language. He studied medicine at the University of Geneva.

He wrote or coauthored numerous articles, 22 book chapters and eight textbooks. His textbook Neonatal Dermatology, published in English, Spanish and Italian, was a major reference for many years.

Solomon, former president of the Chicago Dermatological Society, served on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Dermatology and Journal of Investigative Dermatology and was co-editor of Pediatric Dermatology.

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