200 Jahre Ignaz Semmelweis: Präsentation von Büchern aus der „Neuburger Bibliothek“ beim Semmelweis-Symposium an der MedUni Wien

The following books were presented at the
Semmelweis-Symposium at the Medical University of Vienna, June 21st 2018

Semmelweis, Ignaz: The etiology, concept and prohylaxis of childbed fever. Budapest, Vienna and Leipzig: by Hartleben’s publishing company 1861.

[Branch-Library for Medical History/Neuburger Library, call-number: 1185]


The book is a first edition of Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis’ (1818-1865) main work. It was collected in the Josephinum by the Austrian Military Medical Academy which was founded by Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) in 1785. The Academy existed until 1918.

After a number of unfavourable foreign reviews of his 1861 book, Semmelweis lashed out against his critics in a series of Open Letters. They were addressed to various prominent European obstetricians, including Späth, Scanzoni, Siebold, and to „all obstetricians“. They were full of bitterness, desperation, and fury and were „highly polemical and superlatively offensive“, at times denouncing his critics as irresponsible murderers or ignoramuses.

Semmelweis, Ignaz: Two open letters to Dr. J. Spaeth and court counsellor Dr. F. W. Scanzoni. Budapest: 1861.

[Branch-Library for Medical History/Neuburger Library, call-number: 6221]


Prof. Joseph Spaeth was born in Bolzano/South Tyrol in 1823 and died in Vienna in 1896. He studied medicine at Vienna University and became a professor for obstetrics at the Military Medical Academy at the Josephinum in 1855. Later on in 1861 he became Professor for obstetrics at the second obstetrical-gynecological clinic of Vienna University at Vienna General Hospital. Semmelweis regarded him as a principal opponent.

Friedrich Wilhelm Scanzoni was born in Prague in 1821 and died in Bavaria in 1891. He studied medicine in Prague. He was a professor of obstetrics at Würzburg University and was an ardent critic of Semmelweis.

The book was collected by the “Wiener Medicinische Doctoren Collegium” which was also located at the Josephinum. It was a forerunner of today’s Medical Association.

Semmelweis, Iganz: two open letters to court counsellor Dr. Eduard Casper Jacob von Siebold and court counsellor Dr. F. W. Scanzoni. Budapest: 1861.

[Branch-Library for Medical History/Neuburger-Library, call-number: 6222]


Eduard Casper Jacob von Siebold was born in Würzburg in 1801 and died in Göttingen in 1861. He was a professor for gynecology worked for Humboldt University in Berlin, Marburg and Göttingen University. He had met Semmelweis in Vienna, who’s theories he could not accept at all.

The book was collected by Max Neuburger (1868-1955). Neuburger founded the Institute for History of Medicine in Vienna before World War One which moved in the Josephinum in 1920 after the Military Medical Academy was closed down. Because of his Jewish origin he had to flee Austria in 1938. He lived in his English exile until the early 1950ies before he returned to Vienna.

Semmelweis, Ignaz: Open letter to all professors of obstetrics. Budapest: 1862.

[Branch-Library for Medical History/Neuburger-Library, call-number: 40590]


This book was also collected by the “Wiener Medicinische Doctoren Collegium” which was located at the Josephinum as a forerunner of today’s Medical Association.

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