The psychiatrist and medical historian Max Neuburger was head of the Institute of the History of Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Vienna from 1914 to 1938. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna and after his doctorate in 1893 worked as a Sekundararzt (secondary doctor) at Rudolfs-Spital and as an assistant in the Neurology Department of the Wiener Allgemeine Poliklinik. In 1898 he habilitated under Theodor Puschmann in the history of medicine. After the Ministry of Culture and Education issued a decree at his instigation on 23 July 1906 approving the establishment of a institute of medical history, Neuburger began immediately to collect medical objects and to establish a medical library (among other things through donations, such as those from the medical history library of the Gesellschaft der Ärzte in Vienna), which after the official founding of the institute in 1914 was housed temporarily in the Erste Medizinische Klinik. After years of effort, the Institute of the History of Medicine was ultimately established and moved in 1918/19 to the former Josephinum Military Academy of Surgery at Währingerstraße 25 in Vienna's 9th district. Because of the lack of financial support, Neuburger was able to add to the inventory only on his own initiative through gifts, donations, the inclusion of his own private medical history library and tireless collection efforts. He retired on 1 April 1934 in the wake of government cutbacks and his professorial chair was abolished, making the institute's continued existence extremely precarious. It was only thanks to Neuburger's private commitment that he managed to continue running the institute as an honorary professor without a chair and to safeguard its assets. Neuburger was co-founder of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Medizin und Naturwissenschaften (German Society for the History of Medicine and Natural Sciences) in 1901, co-editor of numerous medical history publications and, after the turn of the century, a prominent spokesman for a cultural and sociological focus in medical history, which was supported above all by international historians, particularly in the USA.
After the annexation in March 1938, Neuburger was obliged to leave the institute on 22 April 1938. In August 1939 he fled without means to Britain, where he worked in London for nine years as a medical historian at the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. On 23 June1948 he moved to Buffalo, NY, to his son Fritz Neuburger. He returned to Vienna in 1952, where he died on 15 March 1955. On numerous occasions, Neuburger donated medical history books from his private library to the institute's library, now the Zweigbibliothek für Geschichte der Medizin (history of medicine branch library) forming the core of the present-day holdings of the Zweigbibliothek.