[SIBERIAN PLAGUE] Kratkoye opisaniye Sibirskoy Yazvy, soderzhashcheye predokhranitelnye i vrachevatelnye sredstva, v polzy prostogo naroda, vybrannoye iz osnovatelnykh primechaniy i opytov v meditsinskuyu kollegiyu prislannykh [i.e. Concise Description of the Siberian Plague, Containing Prevention and Treatment Means, for the Benefit of the Common People, Extracted from the Comprehensive Notes and Experiments Sent to the Medical Collegium]
St. Petersburg: Typ. of the State Medical Collegium, 1796. Item #327
, 104 pp. Small Octavo. Contemporary pinkish stiff card covers with an ink written title on the spine. 19th century ink library number on the title page, cover rubbed and soiled, spine with some chipping on top and bottom, overall a very good copy.
Extremely rare. First and only edition of the first Russian work on the diagnosis and treatment of anthrax, written by a prominent Russian 18th century doctor Stepan Andreyevsky (1760-1818). In 1786-89 he worked as the head of the medical expedition to the area around Chelyabinsk (southern Urals) where an outbreak of a previously unknown disease took place in 1786. Appointed as the head of the expedition by the Medical Collegium of the Imperial Senate, Andreyevsky studied the symptoms and development of the disease, and performed over 200 autopsies of human and animal corpses. On July 18, 1788 in presence of a Chelyabinsk city chief, for the first time in the world medical history he infected himself with the liquid from a deceased victim of the illness in order to prove its infectious nature. He survived and named the disease ‘Siberian plague’; on return to Saint Petersburg Andreyevsky and his assistant Zhukovsky were awarded with orders. Andreyevsky became a member of the Medical Collegium (1792), was the initiator of the establishment and the first director of Saint Petersburg Medical Academy (1804-1808). Since 1807 he served in the Ministry of Finance, later in Grodno and Kiev, since 1811 – as a civil governor of Astrakhan.
The book contains three chapters, describing the symptoms, causes and treatment of the disease. The last part has ten recipes of ‘home-made medicines’ recommended for the treatment (the ingredients include sourdough, chalk, curd, yeast, flour, mint and various herbs, vinegar, salt, onion, egg yolk and other easily accessible household items). The six-page Supplement contains the report by a doctor from the Kolyvan-Voskresensky copper- and silver-melting plant (Altai Mountains) about the successful use of poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) and cowbane (Cicuta virosa) for the treatment of horses infected with Siberian plague. Overall a very good copy of this rare Russian book. The bacterium causing anthrax was discovered by Robert Koch only in 1875.
Svodny Katalog 3265.
No paper copies in Worldcat (only microforms in Harvard University and University of British Columbia).