Archive of German-language Family Medicine

Creation of an extensive memory-bank for the field of family medicine – A treasure trove for research on both current and historical medical practice

An archive of German-language family medicine (ADAM) is being created in Lübeck. It was first introduced at the 27th Nordic Medical History Congress in Copenhagen on 24 May. The aims and research agenda of the archive were explained to an international specialist audience and the association of general medical practitioners.

The archive will comprise relevant original documents and primary sources in the history of family medicine in the German-speaking world, including, for example, correspondence and minutes from national and international associations and organisations for family medicine, preliminary work and documents on the creation of family medicine literature, letters and notes from pioneers in the field, as well as doctoral and post-doc theses. The creation of the archive will initially be funded by the German Association of General Practitioners’ “Perspektive Hausarzt” Foundation.

Professionalisation of family medicine over the last 70 years

The Archive of German-language Family Medicine aims to ensure the long-term preservation of original documents that record the professionalisation of family medicine in (East and West) Germany, Austria, and Switzerland over the last seventy years, and to make these documents available for use and subject them to academic analysis. Documents  from the Germany Society for General Practitioners and Family Medicine dating from the period of German reunification are already located in Lübeck.

Currently, a doctoral student is researching the professionalisation of family medicine in East and West Germany from 1985 to 1995. For her research she will conduct interviews with contemporary witnesses and also draw on materials from the archive. The medical student’s work is being supervised by Prof. Dr. med. Jost Steinhäuser, general practitioner and Director of the Lübeck Institute of Family Medicine, and Prof. Dr. med. Cornelius Borck, Director of the Institute for the History of Medicine and Science at the University of Lübeck.

Future topics might include a comparative study of the professionalisation of family medicine in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, or the influence of significant persons in the field.

Lübeck is an ideal location for the archive

Prof. Dr. med. Frank H. Mader, general practitioner from Nittendorf/Bayern, came up with the idea for the archive. As a medical journalist, he has followed the development of family medicine since he was a student in 1965. In 2018 in Lübeck, with Prof. Jost Steinhäuser as project coordinator and Prof. Cornelius Borck as scientific advisor, he found an ideal combination for bringing the idea of ADAM to life. Prof. Vittoria Braun, Berlin, and Prof. Mader himself will be on the advisory board.

The Archive of German-language Family Medicine is located on the premises of the Lübeck Institute of Family Medicine. Initially, the archive will primarily aim to facilitate on-site academic research. The plan is to create digital versions of particularly valuable materials in the future which will be made available to a wider public. Print media such as books or journals will be available via the university library.

The archive continues to look for original documents and primary sources on the history of family medicine, including, in particular cases, photographs, electronic recordings, and sound recordings.

ADAM can be found online at . The website is being expanded.

Contact person
for all questions relating to ADAM, the submission of material, or research-related requests:

Claudia Steinhäuser
Archive of German-language Family Medicine
Institute of Family Medicine, Campus Lübeck
Ratzeburger Allee 160 | Haus 50
23538 Lübeck
Tel. 0451 3101-8015
Fax 0451 3101-8004

Prof. Jost Steinhäuser, Prof. Cornelius Borck and Prof. Frank H. Mader (from left to right; Photo: ADAM)