söndag 1 juni 2014

Curing syphilis in the 19th century

I was investigating my great great grandmother's family when I found the information in the picture. It says that my great great grandmother's sister and her bastard son were bundled off in 1876 to a curing house in Vadstena to be treated for syphilis.

Turns out that the place where they did that is a very famous building; the monk's monestary in Vadstena.

The men's monestary was built in 1384 and was used as such until 1545. From the beginning of the 17th century to 1783 it houses military officers before it is turned into a curing house which treats people with venereal diseases. From 1819 to 1926 the building functions as the residence of the prison's comendant and administrative functions but it also remained a curing house. During the 19th century some rooms are turned into a hospital. From the early 1900's to 1960 it functioned as a youth hostel during the summer and a folk high-school during winter. In 1983 it is turned into a restaurant and in 1986 it gets its current name; Restaurant Munkklostret.

Syphilis was during this time treated with mercury. It was not until 1910 an effective cure was found and it would be several more years until the cure was really effective. It is probably a miracle that my relative survived, got married and had more children.


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