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Autograph letter signed, 4pp., concerning hospital sanitation by  Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau - 1808 - from Jeremy Norman & Co., Inc. (SKU: 22254)

Autograph letter signed, 4pp., concerning hospital sanitation

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Autograph letter signed, 4pp., concerning hospital sanitation

by Guyton de Morveau, Louis Bernard

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About This Item

Paris, 1808.

Guyton de Morveau, Louis Bernard (1737-1816). Autograph letter signed to an unidentified correspondent. Paris, 13 May 1808. 4pp. 185 x 117 mm. Fine.

Excellent letter from French chemist Guyton de Morveau on hospital fumigation, a practice that he pioneered. In 1773 Guyton de Morveau began using chemical fumigation to control "putrid emanations" in hospitals and other unhealthy environments, believing that epidemic diseases were carried by the foul airs emitted from decaying flesh. He later introduced the practice of chlorine disinfection, which he described in his Traité des moyens de désinfecter l'air (1801). He was one of the original editors of the Annales de chimie, and worked with Lavoisier, Berthollet and Fourcroy in creating the first systematic method of chemical nomenclature.

Guyton de Morveau's letter, written to someone who had corresponded with him on hospital sanitation, reads in part as follows:

"J'aurais [...] manquer à un devoir d'humanité de garder pour moi seul vos précieuses observations sur les moyens d'entretenir la salubrité des hôpitaux. Je les ai fait insérer dans les Annales de chimie, et sur ce que me dit une des Membres du Directoire central qu'en effet les moyens préservatifs étaient trop souvent négligés je crois faire une chose utile que d'appeler à ce sujet la sollicitude du Ministre en lui adressant un exemplaire de l'article des Annales que j'avais fait tirer séparément.

"Je vous envoie cy joint un de ces exemplaires où vous retrouverez votre lettre, qui a été imprimée sur l'original sans aucun changement. En la relisant, je n'ai pu imaginer ce que vous pourriez regretter d'y avoir écrit, et vous ne regretterez surement pas non plus l'approbation que vous avez la bonté de donner à l'image que j'en ai fait. M. Parmentier mon confrère à l'Institut et de la Société des Annales de chimie, m'a aussi parlé de cette lettre, ce qui me fait penser que le Ministre a bien pu exciter le zèle des inspecteurs de santé à cette occasion, mais il n'y a pas de mal à cela . . .

[I would have violated a duty to humanity in keeping your precious observations on maintaining hospital sanitation to myself. I had them inserted into the Annales de chimie, and since one of the members of the Directoire central tells me that preventive methods are too often overlooked I believe I have done a useful thing in calling this subject to the attention of the Minister by sending him a copy of the article from the Annales which I had printed separately.

I send you enclosed one of these copies where you will find your letter printed from the original without any changes. In reading it over, I cannot imagine what you might regret having written there, and you will surely not regret the approval that you kindly grant to the picture I have drawn. M. Parmentier my associate at the Institute and in the Society of the Annales de chimie, has also talked to me about this letter, which makes me think that the Minister can very well stir up the health inspectors' enthusiasm on this occasion, but there is no harm in this . . .]

"Parmentier" refers to Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (1737-1813), the famous nutritional chemist and promoter of potatoes as food for humans. Dictionary of Scientific Biography.



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Jeremy Norman & Co., Inc. US (US)
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Autograph letter signed, 4pp., concerning hospital sanitation
Guyton de Morveau, Louis Bernard
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AUTOGRAPHS AND MANUSCRIPTS CHEMISTRY PUBLIC HEALTH ; ; chemistry ; public health ; hospitals ; French science

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Novato, California
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