Neuburger, Max

Max Neuburger

Porträt, Schwarz-Weiß-Foto

8 December 1868 Vienna – 15 March 1955 Vienna

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.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Emanuel Berghoff, Max Neuburger. Werden und Wirken eines österreichischen Gelehrten (= Wiener Beiträge zur Geschichte der Medizin 3), Wien 1948.

Michael Hubenstorf, Eine "Wiener Schule" der Medizingeschichte? – Max Neuburger und die vergessene deutschsprachige Medizingeschichte, in: Medizingeschichte und Gesellschaftskritik (= Festschrift für Gerhard Baader), Husum 1997, 246–289.

Walter Mentzel/Bruno Bauer, Brüche in der Entwicklung medizinischer Bibliotheken in Wien während des NS-Regimes: Anmerkungen zur Geschichte der Vorgängerbibliotheken der Universitätsbibliothek der Medizinischen Universität Wien, in: Gertrude Enderle-Burcel/Alexandra Neubauer-Czettl/Edith Stumpf-Fischer (Hg.), Brüche und Kontinuitäten 1933–1938–1945. Fallstudien zu Verwaltung und Bibliotheken (= Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs Sonderband 12), Innsbruck 2013.

Publications by the person / institution

Max Neuburger, Die Anschauungen über den Mechanismus der specifischen Ernährung. Leipzig-Wien 1900.
Max Neuburger, Geschichte der Medizin. 2 Bde., Stuttgart 1906–1911.
Max Neuburger, Die Entwicklung der Medizin in Österreich (= Österreichische Bücherei 11), Wien-Leipzig 1918.
Max Neuburger, Die Wiener medizinische Schule im Vormärz, Wien-Berlin-Leipzig-München 1921.
Max Neuburger, Das alte medizinische Wien in zeitgenössischen Schilderungen, Wien-Leipzig 1921.
Max Neuburger, Die Lehre von der Heilkraft der Natur im Wandel der Zeiten, Stuttgart 1926.
Max Neuburger, British Medicine and the Vienna school. Contacts and parallels, London 1943.

Max Neuburger/Julius Pagel, Handbuch der Geschichte der Medizin 1–3, Jena 1902–1905.


UAW, Medizinische Fakultät, PA Max Neuburger.