Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822 in Dole, France. He was the son of Jean-Joseph Pasteur and Jeanne Roqui. In his earlier years he worked for his father as a tanner, which had been a family business that his Great-Grandfather started in 1763. Louis's father had hoped for his son to go to school, become a school teacher, and teach at the local high school. Louis was an average student, but in his years at school he discovered he had a talent. He was gifted in drawing and painting. At age 15, Louis used pastels to paint portraits of his family and friends. The paintings are displayed at the Pasteur Institute in Paris today.
Artwork by Louis Pasteur:
Jean-Jospeph sent Louis to Paris to the Normal School. Not long after arriving there, Louis was taken over by homesickness and was sent back to Arbois where is family lived. Louis went on to earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1840, and his Bachelor of Science degree in 1842 at Ecole Normale Superleure. In 1848 he became a chemistry professor at the University of Strasbourg in France. At the University, he met his future wife Marie Laurent. Marie was the daughter of the rector (ruler) at Strasbourg. Louis wrote Marie a letter saying, "There is nothing in me to attract a young girls fancy, but my recollections tell me that those who have known me very well have loved me very much." Louis and Marie got married on May 29,1849 and ended up having five children. Two out of the five children had the chance to live into adulthood. The other three died along the way due to the disease of Typhoid. Typhoid is a common epidemic that is transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Due to these personal tragedies, Louis Pasteur was determined to find a cure for diseases such as Typhoid.