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HISTORY OF VACCINATION: Պատմութիւն մարդկային պատուաստման.



[Patmutʻiwn mardkayin patuastman / History of Human Vaccination].


An exceedingly rare, detailed book on the history and importance of vaccines written by a prominent Ottoman Armenian doctor Dikran Paşa Peştemalciyan, published on the eve of the Sublime Porte’s decree on the mandatory application of the smallpox vaccine.


4°: [2 pp.], portrait, [16pp.], 237 pp., with interleaved plates on card (2 original photographs, one black and white xylographic print, with a dedication and signature by the author in Armenian), later marbled paper wrappers with mounted original illustrated cover (first pages brittle in margins with partly restored chips and tears and remounted in gutters, small worm holes, plates with so,me foxing, text pages  in good and clean condition with sporadic soft folds to corners).

1 in stock


This rare and important book in the Armenian language was written in Istanbul by the prominent medical doctor Dikran Paşa Peştemalciyan.  It describes the importance of vaccines, their history and includes images of historical inoculation campaigns of children, medical tools for vaccination and a drawing of skin reaction to a vaccine.

The book commences with a portrait of Edward Jenner (1749 – 1823), a British scientist who also pioneered the concept of vaccines, and notably created the smallpox vaccine.  It was issued in 1884, a year before the Ottoman Empire issued a decree on mandatory smallpox vaccination, the first such state legislation in world history.

The present example is dedicated in manuscript by the author.

Dikran Peştemalciyan was born to a prominent Armenian family in Hasköy, Istanbul. After graduating high school in his city, he science science, and later medicine, in Paris, where he completed his doctoral thesis in 1867.

Dikran returned to Istanbul two years later, where he became a member of the Imperial Medical Association (Cemiyet-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane, or Société Impériale de Médecine), of which he served as chairman between 1877 and 1878.  From 1880 and 1881, he was the director of the Yedikule Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital and in 1884 became the medical undersecretary of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.  That same year, he was elected a member of the Société Française d’Hygiéne.  Dikran also played a vital role in the connection between the Red Cross and Red Crescent.  In 1892, he was promoted to the rank of Paşa.

Dikran Paşa authored several important medical works, such as articles on colon cancer, vaccines, hygiene and prostitution, as well as three printed books; two pamphlets on hygiene and childcare and a book on the history of vaccines (the present work).

The present work is very rare.  Worldcat lists only 2 examples (British Library and the Library of Congress).

Our collation features a portrait and 6 plates, what is one more than the example held by the British Library.  The examples listed in Worldcat record only 3 plates.

References: OCLC 38485434. Cf. Kevork Pamukcuyan, Ölümünün Yüzüncü Yılında Hilal – i Ahmer Kurucusu Dr. Dikran Paşa, Tarih ve Toplum, 134, 1995.

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