Maximilian (Max) C.A. Bartels, medical practitioner and anthropologist, studied medicine in Berlin and was licensed to practice in 1868. He then moved to Vienna, Austria, where he worked as an assistant to R. Wilms, and to his own father, in the Bethanien Hospital from 1869 to 1872. Thereafter he started his own practice in Berlin, where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1903 he held the title Professor. During his years in Berlin he made a study of anthropology, his most important work in this field being his revision of Das Weib in der Natur- und Völkerkunde (Leipzig, 1899), originally written by H. Ploss. An English edition, Woman; an historical, gynaecological and anthropological compendium, was pulished in London in 1935. He also wrote Die medicin der naturvölker (Medicine among primitive races; Leipzig, 1893) and many anthropological and medical papers on the peoples of Asia and Africa. Another of his interests was natural history.
It is not clear if Bartels visited southern Africa, but a number of his papers dealt with the archaeology and anthropology of the sub-continent, including the following: "Mittheilungen über Zwillingsgeburten bei Basutos" (Report on twin births among the Basuto; Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 1886); "Ruinen von Zimbabye in Süd-Afrika" (The Zimbabwe ruins in South Africa; Ibid, 1889); "Beitrag zur Volksmedicin der Kaffern und Hottentotten" (Contribution to the folk medicine of the Kaffirs and Hottentots; Ibid, 1893); and "Holzstucke aus Zimbabye (Mashona Land) und Nord-Transvaal" (Pieces of wood from Zimbabwe (Mashonaland) and the northern Transvaal; (Ibid, 1896).
Other papers by Bartels dealt with the natural history of southern Africa, for example: "Eine Bookpost-Sending aus Süd-Afrika" (Zitzungs-Berichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin, 1890), which dealt with the number of eggs of a species of mollusc from Natal; "Das Nest einer Vogelspinnen-Art aus Stendal (Natal, Südost-Afrika)" (The nest of a type of bird spider from Stendal Mission, near Weenen, Natal; Ibid, 1890); and "Schädliche Raupen aus Südost-Afrika" (Harmful caterpillars from south-east Africa; Ibid, 1893).