Mead, A Short Discourse concerning the Pestilential Contagion, 1722

One of the most important works in the history of public health

Richard Mead. A Short Discourse concerning the Pestilential Contagion, and the Methods to be used to prevent it.


London, Sam. Buckley, 1722. Royal 8vo (23,3 x 13,6 cm). [8], XXXVI, 150 pp.


Lovely contemporary calf, spine elaborately gold-tooled with floral ornaments, covers with triple gilt-ruled lines and an intricate pattern of floral handtools and rolls, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Joints tender, upper joint splitting, lower joint starting, head and tail of spine damaged, corners bumped. First blanks with two catalogue clippings, old owner's entry ("George Marshall"), and a bookseller's ticket ("J. Mongenet", Geneva).


The eighth edition of Mead's epochal treatise on infectious diseases.


"The present treatise is one of the most important works in the history of public health because of its impact on the theory of contagion. Here Mead states quite clearly that the disease is contagious—"Contagion is propagated by three Causes, the Air, Diseased Persons; and Goods transported from infected Places" (p. 2).


In 1719 an outbreak of plague in Marseilles caused great concern in England and Mead was asked to submit a report on the matter. As a result of his recommendations, quarantine was imposed for a time but later relaxed because of political opposition and abatement of the plague in France. In the book Mead discusses the origin, nature, and spread of the plague and places special emphasis on preventive measures that may be taken against the plague and therapeutic remedies that may be employed. The book met with tremendous success and went through six editions in 1720 and had reached a ninth edition by 1744. It was also translated into Latin, Italian, and Dutch" (Heirs of Hippocrates).


This well-designed edition was actually printed by William Bowyer, who printed 1500 copies in demy 8vo and 300 in royal 8vo.


ESTC T55661; Heirs of Hippocrates 769 (third edition); Maslen & Lancaster, Bowyer ledgers, 825.

    € 375,00Price