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AUCTION 20

116. [SMALLPOX]. SPAIN. KING (Carlos IV). Estatutos, que la Real Junta Central Filantrópica General de Vacunación Pública de San Carlos de la Ciudad de la Puebla, ha dictado para el establecimiento y gobierno de las foráneas que han de erigirse en toda la diócesis y provincia, en cumplimiento de las soberanas determinaciones en que S. M. (Dios le guê.) lo tiene prevenido á beneficio de sus amados vasallos de Reyno. Puebla de los Angeles: Impresa en la Oficina de D. Pedro de la Rosa, 1805. [2], 10 pp. Folio, original plain paper wrapper, stitched. Regrettably, this rare Mexican medical imprint has significant worm damage costing numerous letters and a few words throughout. Despite its condition, a medical rarity of importance.

     First Puebla edition. Not in Garrison-Morton (5th edition), Medina (Puebla de los Angeles), Palau, Sabin, etc. Within five years of the publication of Jenner's Inquiry, King Carlos IV, after his daughter survived a bout of smallpox, determined to undertake the first massive smallpox inoculation in modern history. Desiring to spread the benefits of the procedure to his overseas possessions, he had his Royal Physician, Francisco Javier de Balmis (1753-1819), work out a way by which live cowpox virus could be transported across the Atlantic. Balmis used orphaned boys which he infected seriatim until he reached America, where a campaign of mass vaccinations began. The present imprint is the effort in Puebla de los Angeles to establish a bureaucratic framework to administer and monitor the vaccination program. It is interesting that although Spain was considered by many to be a backward European nation, Carlos IV’s Balmis Expedition was the first instance of widespread inoculation and probably saved tens of thousands of lives. ($500-1,000)

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