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SAYRE, Lewis Albert (1820–1900)

Spinal Diseases and Spinal Curvature. Their Treatment by Suspension and the Use of the Plaster of Paris Bandage.
London, Smith, Elder, & Co., 1877.

First edition. – "Sayre’s monograph on his methods of treating tuberculosis of the spine and scoliosis is the first American surgical textbook to contain actual mounted photographs, some of which are remarkable for their artistic qualities. The book was first published in London while Sayre was a delegate to the British Medical Congress. The virtually identical American edition was published in Philadelphia by Lippincott, also in 1877" (Garrison-Morton). Sayre was the first to use plaster of Paris as a support for the spinal column in scoliosis and Pott’s disease. His name is eponymically linked with Sayre’s jacket, a plaster of Paris jacket applied while the patient is suspended by the head and axillae, and with Sayre’s suspension apparatus, a tripod derrick with rope and pulley for head traction during the application of plaster of Paris jacket. Many of the photographs were taken in New York, several of them at demonstrations of his technique of suspension and plaster of Paris application at the New York Academy of Medicine. The photographer for Dr Sayre at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York was O.G. Mason, who became a most noted medical photographer of his time. The photographer for some of the London photographs was the famous J. R. Mayall, the Philadelphian who emigrated to England.

Collation: Pp ix, (3), 121, (1) blank, (2) adverts. With 70 wood engravings in the text (from photographs) and 21 photographs (albumen prints) mounted on plates, some of which are foldouts.

Binding: Publisher’s brick-red cloth with gilt spine title, gilt title on front cover, brown endpapers.

References: Garrsion-Morton 4344.1; Stanley B. Burns ‘Early Medical Photography in America (1839-1933), VII. American medical publications with photographs’ pp 1234-36 in New York State Journal of Medicine, July 1981; Gernsheim, Alison ‘Medical Photography in the Nineteenth Century’ in Medical and Biological Illustration, vol. XI, 1961. p 148; Goldschmidt, Lucien & W. J. Naef, The Truthful Lens. A survey of the photographically illustrated book 1844-1914 (N.Y. Grolier Club, 1980), 144.

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