Archive Hermann Hubert Knaus

Hermann Hubert Knaus (born 1892 in St. Veit/Glan, died 1970 in Graz) was an Austrian gynecologist and scientist of international importance.

Prof. Knaus’ most significant contribution was the clarification of the fertilization of the female egg cell, the fertilization ability of the male sperm cell, and the constant period between the ovulation and the following menstruation. This way it became possible to more or less reliably calculate the ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ days of the female cycle. Knaus presented his new insights on fertile and infertile days in the female cycle at the Gynecology Congress in Leipzig in 1929. 1934 he published his menstruation calendar and advertised for its widespread use. The contraceptive method developed by Knaus – and simultaneously by the Japanese gynecologist Kyusaku Ogino – is the only one tolerated by the Catholic Church.

Description of the collection:
The collection Knaus is very comprehensive. Besides his books it covers some 170 scientific publications, work protocols, dossiers, photos, newspaper articles, transcripts, documents etc. It also includes objects like the calculation aid C.D. Indicator that he developed from several countries, as well as several aids to determine the safe and unsafe days.

The collection found its way to us through various channels: for one, we received a generous temporary loan collection by his family, and second, through long-time research and collecting from national and international archives, libraries, and databases as well as through correspondence with private and institutional informants.

Knaus’ life:
Hermann Hubert Knaus studied Medicine (with a longer break because of WW1) in Graz and Innsbruck. After the conferral of his doctorate in 1920 he began his academic career at Universitätsfrauenklinik in Graz and pursued studies abroad. He researched as a Rockefeller-Fellow at the Pharmacology Department of the University of London and University of Camebridge and in 1927 he completed his specialization in gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Graz. 1930 he spent research semesters in Berlin and Paris, became Associate Professor at the University Clinic Graz, 1931 Assistant at the Women’s Clinic in Graz. 1934 he became a board member of the gynecologic-obstetric clinic of the German Karl-Ferdinand University in Prague, where, from 1939 to 1941 he acted as dean of the university’s medical school. In 1945 Knaus returned to Austria; from 1950 to 1969 he was head of the gynecology department at the hospital Vienna-Lainz.

Our brochure ‘Hermann Knaus – Detective of the Fertile Days (1892-1970)’ can be downloaded here as a pdf.

Portrait: Hermann Knaus (1892–1970)