Gonda, Victor or Viktor. Hungarian Psychiatrist 1884 - 1974. Collection of 29 original photographs taken by Viktor Gonda. Taken after the First World War, depicting the treatment of patients with local electrotherapy.. ( Medical photography). ( Shell shock)
Hungary, Rószahegy Military Hospital ca., 1915.All photograph's 9 x 14,2 cm. (Picture postcard format). 21 with patients for and after treatment with electricity. 3 x physician at work ( Gonda). 3x Portraits of Gonda and other ( medical ? ) officers from the army. 2x Portraits of Gonda .21 signed by Gonda in the photographs. 27 with descriptive text in Gonda's handwriting. All with the names of the patients in the upper blank. All text in Hungarian and very well legible. Some fading of the photorgaphs, but in very good / fine condition.
An impressive and rare collection of this Hungarian Psychiatrist at work with electricity to cure people. Early work by Gonda at the beginnings at his thirties. " It is possible that the first American application of ECT was conducted by Chicago psychiatrist Victor Gonda in 1938. Gonda, one of the American psychiatrist of Metrazol , had trained in Budapest. In the military hospital Rószahegy he had helped develloping techniques of treating combat-fatigue patients with mild dosis of peripheral electricty. In 1925, Gonda emigrated to Chicago. Where he had a staff way appointment at the Parkway Sanitorium and also worked as an attending physician at the Cook County Hospitaland as a Professor at Loyola University. His son recalls his procuring an ECT device from the Genovean firm of Zurli and De Regibus in midsummer 1939. The son also recollect that Gonda undertook a few animal trials . Experimented on his own leg ( Which jerked so convulsely that he injured it.) and then conformed the procedure on the first patient in the late January 1940 at the sanitarium. Although Gonda was a scientific figure he apparantly contributed to Chicago's reputation of administring enourmous amounts of ECT's in outpatient "shock shop's " ...........Shorter and Healy. ( Shock therapy : a history of electroconsulsive treatment in mental illness.)
"A third thread is provided by Pulver 1961. He writes that the first treatment inthe U.S.A. was administered in Chicago by Victor E. Gonda at the Parkway Sanitariurn just prior to January 20, 1940. using a machine built in Genoa, Italy.Gonda's son. Thomas A. Gonda, wrote to Pulver 1961: "In midsummer. 1939,Dad was in communication with Ccrletti. and in November of that year he received delivery of an Italian machine. ...For the first 2 months Dad did notbegin treatments, while in his cautious and methodological manner he tested outthe apparatus on experimental animals, producing convulsions. I recall vividly also, just before Christmas of 1939. his placing the electrodes on his own thigh,experiencing a violent contraction of his muscles and injuring his leg which hit the table. Subsequently, he was concerned about the possible pain patients might experience were they not immediately rendered unconscious. This delayed giving of the first treatment until late January of 1940 at the Parkway Sanitarium in Chicago."In Victor Gonda's first published paper on electroshock therapy he notes:"Since March 1940, 1 have treated 40 patients with a total of 612 electricallyinduced convulsions" Gonda, 1941. While Gonda never claimed priority, and because Gonda's first ECT publication refers to March, 1940, Renato 1. Almansiclaims priority in the USA for the first ECT that Dr. David J. Impastato and headministered on February 6. 1940 Personal Communication, December 6, 1986and December 26, 1986. "( The Origins of ElectroconvulsiveTherapy ECTNorman S. Endler,1988).
GONDA, Victor]. [ELECTRIC SHOCK TREATMENT FOR WAR NEUROSES]. UNIQUE COLLECTION
OF 29 ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY GONDA RECORDING THE TREATMENT OF
PATIENTS WITH LOCAL ELECTROTHERAPY. n.p but Hungary, seemingly taken at the Rószahegy
Military Hospital, n.d. but ca. 1916.
29 photographic postcards, all 90 x 140mm; all but one of the photographs with neat handwritten annotations in
Hungarian, presumably in Gonda’s hand, giving the patient’s name and details of treatment, 23 photographs with
Gonda’s signature; some light soiling and wear, with occasional fading to photographs, but otherwise in very
good condition; housed within custom-made blue cloth slipcase. $15,300
A unique collection of photographs recording the work of the noted Hungarian psychiatrist Victor Gonda (1884-
1974), and his treatment of a number of military patients - presumably for war neurosis or shell-shock - using
local electrotherapy, an early and highly visual record of his work in this field. Gonda was subsequently to play a
prominent and pioneering role in the spread of electroconvulsive therapy in the United States
Dating from around 1916, the photographs depict 14 patients, all but one showing an image of both before and
post treatment. Gonda was at the time based at the Rószahegy Military Hospital. All but one of the 29 images have
neat handwritten captions in Hungarian, and 23 are signed by Gonda. He can be seen in three of the images, two
of which show him about to administer electrotherapy. In one other photograph he is talking with a colleague,
with one further photograph showing a group of five men in military uniform (presumably recovered subjects),
and one further image of a patient in a wheelchair (the only dated image).
Gonda 'was one of the best known and most passionate believers in the value of electrotherapy. His methods
and activities had been noticed by the military and medical authorities throughout the Dual Monarchy, and by the
wider public as well … Gonda, born in Ungvar in 1889, had graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the
University of Budapest in 1911, then worked as a physician in a sanatorium. In 1916, he joined the hospital of the
Hungarian Royal Disability Department in Rozsahegy (now Ruzomberok in Slovakia) as a neurologist. He had
been transferred from there to Ujpest in 1917. After the war he worked in Romania for a while and at the end of the
1920s he emigrated to the United States, where he later became a professor of neurology in Chicago ... In 1916,
during his time at the clinic in Rozsahegy, Gonda published an article, "Rasche Heilung der Symptome der im
Kriege entstandenen 'traumatischen neurose'" (A quick cure of symptoms of war-related 'traumatic neuroses'), in
which he presented his method in detail. It basically consisted of administering painful electric shocks of growing
intensity with alternating current applied to the patient's foot. The administration of the shocks was
complemented by verbal suggestion. This procedure was repeated eight to ten times, and finally the patient was
forced to stand up, move about, walk, and run’ (Schwartz, Gender and Modernity in Central Europe: The Austro-
Hungarian Monarchy pp. 193). Gonda subsequently claimed to have cured up to 4000 patients.
Schwartz goes on to note that according to documents located at the Kriegsarchiv in Vienna, his methods were
deemed successful by many, with one Dr Ignac Keméeny, a neurologist at the Budapest garrison hospital,
asserting that out of forty cases, thirty-nine had been immediately cured after only one or a maximum of two
treatments. However Gonda's therapeutic methods were challenged by many others colleagues, who believed
them to be unduly harsh. Professor Karoly Hoor, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Budapest
sent a letter to the Imperial and Royal Military Health Committee in 1917, in which he severely criticised Gonda's
methods, Hoor pointing out that there was nothing new in his therapy, for similar but less brutal methods had
been applied for a long time in the neurological department of the Budapest faculty of Medicine, where many
thousands of war neurotics had been effectively cured since the beginning of the war.
"It is possible that the first American application of ECT was conducted by Chicago psychiatrist Victor Gonda in
1938. Gonda, one of the American pioneers of Metrazol, had trained in Budapest; in the military hospital
Rószahegy he had helped develop techniques of treating combat-fatigue patients with mild doses of peripheral
electricity. In 1925, Gonda emigrated to Chicago, where he had a staff appointment at the Parkway Sanatorium
and also worked as an attending physician at the Cook County Hospital and as a Professor at Loyola University.
His son recalls his procuring an ECT device from the Genovean firm of Zurli and DeRegibus in midsummer 1939.
The son also recollect that Gonda undertook a few animal trials, experimented on his own leg (which jerked so
convulsively that he injured it.) and then performed the procedure on the first patient in late January 1940 at the
sanatorium. Although Gonda was a scientific figure he apparently contributed to Chicago's reputation of
administering enormous amounts of ECT's in outpatient ‘shock shop's’" (Shorter and Healy, Shock therapy: a
history of electroconvulsive treatment in mental illness. p. 75).
Endler, in his essay The origins of Electroconvulsive therapy, cites a letter written by Gonda’s son Thomas, in
1961. ‘Gonda's son. Thomas A. Gonda, wrote to Pulver (1961): "In midsummer. 1939, Dad was in communication
with Cerletti. and in November of that year he received delivery of an Italian machine. ...For the first 2 months Dad
did not begin treatments, while in his cautious and methodological manner he tested out the apparatus (on
experimental animals, producing convulsions). I recall vividly also, just before Christmas of 1939, his placing the
electrodes on his own thigh, experiencing a violent contraction of his muscles and injuring his leg which hit the
table. Subsequently, he was concerned about the possible pain patients might experience were they not
immediately rendered unconscious. This delayed giving of the first treatment until late January of 1940 at the
Parkway Sanatorium in Chicago. In Victor Gonda's first published paper on electroshock therapy he notes: "Since
March 1940, 1 have treated 40 patients with a total of 612 electrically induced convulsions" Gonda, 1941. While
Gonda never claimed priority, and because Gonda's first ECT publication refers to March, 1940, Renato J Almansi
claims priority in the USA for the first ECT that Dr. David J. Impastato and he administered on February 6. 1940
(Personal Communication, December 6, 1986 and December 26, 1986)" (Endler, p. 19).
For a detailed discussion of his work see László Kiss, ‘From Rózsahegy to Chicago: Viktor Gonda (1889-1959)--a forgotten
Price in euro (€). Extra : A. Shipping ( at costs ) B. 6 % BTW/VAT will be added (only in the European Community)