Vienna General Hospital, 1900s

Alongside the glass plate of Sanssouci Palace is this ambulatory image:

The plate is marked “Hospital Yard, Vienna”.   I’m sure there have been many different hospitals in Vienna over the years, but the architecture clearly identifies this building: the Vienna General Hospital, otherwise known as “Allgemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Wien”.  The image above would appear to be taken along that central promenade, facing towards the west; the central building on the right is clearly visible in the background of my magic lantern slide:

The Vienna General Hospital was built in 1694 as a home for the poor and invalid by Emperor Leopold I, and by 1696 it held over a thousand indigent patients.   Emperor Joseph II saw the poorhouse as capable of so much more than just housing the sick and poor, and turned the campus into a General Hospital, inspired by Hotel Dieu in Paris.   The grounds continued to be expanded unto the 19th century, but as the medical care of the 20th century improved, the old Hospital became less functional.

I tried to find a modern photo with the same perspective, but came up empty — not due to a lack of pictures of the grounds, but just the lack of coincidence in pointing a camera that direction.  You can look around the grounds in this photoset.

It’s not difficult to visit the area because in the late 20th century the Vienna General Hospital became the campus of the University of Vienna.  Although the buildings still stand today, there’s a lot more inside the walls of the old General Hospital than when the picture was taken.  About all that remains of its medical heritage is the “Fool’s Tower”, once home to the mentally ill, and now home of the Vienna Pathological-Anatomical Museum.

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One Response to “Vienna General Hospital, 1900s”

  1. Julia Foote says:

    I am writing a book about Dr. Eugene Clair Foote who attended the university in 1913 – 1914. He attended one of the courses for American physicians offered by Dr. Ernst Fuchs. I am eager to find historical information about that time in the hospital’s/university’s history. Do you know of any resources or people I might contact?

    Dr. Foote wanted to stay longer at the school, but was forced to leave because of the First World War. He returned to his home in rural Nebraska. We went on to become well known physician and established Hastings, Nebraska as a highly regarded site for medical care. Four generations of his family have followed him into medicine.

    The book I am working on is part of the activity to mark the 100th anniversary of Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital.

    I would appreciate any help you could give me.

    Thank you

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