An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to Circa 2020 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

15423 entries, 13280 authors and 1897 subjects. Updated: October 17, 2021

SEMMELWEIS, Ignaz Philipp (Ignác Fülöp)

5 entries
  • 6275

Höchst wichtige Erfahrungen über die Aetiologie der in Gebäranstalten epidemischen Puerperalfieber.

Z.k.k. Ges. Aerzte Wien, 4, pt. 2, 242-44; 5, 64-65, Vienna, 18471848, 1849.

Semmelweis, pioneer of antisepsis in obstetrics, was the first to recognize that puerperal fever is a septicemia. He concluded that the doctors and students of Vienna’s First Obstetrical Clinic carried the infection on their hands from the autopsy room to the maternity wards, and instituted a program of hand-washing in chlorinated lime between autopsy work and examination of patients. One month later the First Clinic’s mortality rate had dropped by 10 per cent. Despite this spectacular success Semmelweis refused to communicate his results officially. The above papers were written for Semmelweis by his friend, Ferdinand von Hebra, editor of the Zeitschrifi. (See also No. 6277).



Subjects: INFECTIOUS DISEASE, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS › Puerperal Fever, SURGERY: General › Antisepsis / Asepsis
  • 6277

Die Aetiologie, der Begriff und die Prophylaxis des Kindbettfiebers.

Pest (Budapest), Vienna, und Leipzig: C. A. Hartleben, 1861.

Semmelweis, who earlier had shown puerperal fever to be a septicemia, strove to improve conditions in the lying-in wards of Vienna and Budapest. Misunderstood and maligned by many, he eventually published this book in support of his views on the etiology of puerperal sepsis. He had no literary style and his book is difficult reading; it had an overwhelming mass of badly-presented statistics. Sir W. J. Sinclair, his biographer, said of him that “if he could have written like Oliver Wendell Holmes, his ‘Aetiology’ would have conquered Europe in 12 months”. Semmelweis died in an asylum on 13 August 1865. An English translation of the book, by F. P. Murphy, is in Med. Classics, 1941, 5, 350-773. This translation was reprinted with translations of Semmelweis’s other works by Ferenc Gyorgyey, Birmingham, Classics of Medicine Library, 1980. Original edition reprinted, Budapest, 1970. New English translation, somewhat abridged, Madison, Wisc., 1983. Digital facsimile from deutschestextarchiv.de at this link.



Subjects: INFECTIOUS DISEASE › Sepsis / Antisepsis, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS › Puerperal Fever
  • 13270

(1) Zwei offene Briefe an Hofrath Dr. Eduard Casp. Jac. v. Siebold, . . . und an Hofrath Dr. F. W. Scanzoni . . .Ofen... 1861. (2) Zwei offene Briefe an Dr. J. Spaeth, Professor der Geburtshilfe an der k. k. Josefs-Akademie in Wien, und an Hofrath Dr. F. W. Scanzoni, Professor der Geburtshilfe zu Würzburg. Pest...1861. (3) Offener Brief an sämmtliche Professoren der Geburtshilfe. Ofen...1862.

Ofen: K. ungar. Universitäts-Buchdruckerei & Pest: Gustav Emich, 18611862.

Semmelweis’s last publications on antisepsis in obstetrics. Although the information and conclusions that Semelweis drew in his Die Aetiologie, der Begriff und die Prophylaxis des Kindbettfiebers (1861) were of the first importance, its publication failed to bring about a widespread acceptance of Semmelweis’s views and methods; instead, the connection he had made between cadaverous infection and puerperal fever was rejected by a large proportion of the medical establishment. Die Aetiologie was subject to several unfavorable reviews, to which Semmelweis responded with a series of “Open Letters”, published in pamphlet form in 1861 and 1862, in which he bitterly attacked his critics. These he wrote to “Joseph Späth, Friedrich Wilhelm Scanzoni von Lichtenfels, and [Franz???] Siebold in 1861 full of desperation and fury for reluctance to accept his doctrine. He called upon Siebold to arrange a meeting of German obstetricians somewhere in Germany to provide a forum for discussions on puerperal fever where he would stay “until all have been converted to his theory.” (Hauzman, Erik E [2006]. “Semmelweis and his German contemporaries”. 40th International Congress on the History of Medicine, ISHM 2006. The abusive language Semmelweis used in these letters was an indicator of his increasing mental instability. He eventually suffered a mental breakdown in 1865 and died the same year—ironically, due to septicemia from an infected finger.



Subjects: INFECTIOUS DISEASE › Sepsis / Antisepsis, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS › Puerperal Fever
  • 82.1

Semmelweis’ gesammelte Werke. Heraugegeben aus zum Theil aus dem Ungarischen Übersetzt von Tiberius von Gyory.

Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1905.

An annotated edition and translation, including the texts of Semmelweis’s works on puerperal fever as a septicemia (No. 6275) and on the etiology of puerperal sepsis (No. 6277) as well as other gynecological papers and articles on Semmelweis by Hebra and Skoda, among others. Digital facsimile from the Internet Archive at this link.



Subjects: Collected Works: Opera Omnia, INFECTIOUS DISEASE › Sepsis / Antisepsis, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS › Puerperal Fever
  • 12822

Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818-1865), an annotated bibliography. By Frank P. Murphy.

Bull. Hist. Med., 20, 653-707, 1946.


Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographies of Individual Authors, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS › Puerperal Fever