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ROSÉN von ROSENSTEIN, Nils (1706-1773)

Underrättelser om Barn-Sjukdomar och deras Bote-Medel: tillförene styckewis utgifne uti de små Almanachorna, nu samlade, tilökte och förbättrade.
Stockholm, På Kongl. Wet. Acad. kostnad, Tryckte hos Lars Salvius, 1764.

First edition in book form of the first modern textbook on pediatrics. Rosén is often called “The Father of Pediatrics” which may be a too strong statement, “but certainly his book on the subject was the most progressive which had yet been written, and it gave an impetus to research which influenced the future course of pediatrics” (Still). It is by far the most influential work published by a Swedish physician. Rosén felt that many childhood illnesses were the result of improper care and feeding, and that an improvement in this area both by physicians and mothers would greatly affect the mortality rate and, by promoting population, serve the growing economic need for the workers in farming and industry which Sweden and other emerging modern societies required. In order to reach all those people who did not buy or read books, but who brought children into the world, and helplessly saw them die at a tender age, Rosén chose to publish his household remedies for various children’s diseases by instalments in the almanacs, issued by the Swedish Academy of Science, who since 1747 had a royal privilege to issue these lucrative publications. They achieved a wide circulation and it is obvious that they must have formed an excellent means of spreading new and useful information to large population groups. The first article by Rosén appeared in the almanac for the Stockholm horizon of 1753. Continuations followed in the Gothenburg and Lund almanacs of the same year. As time passed, new contributions appeared regularly every year, with few exceptions, up to the year 1771, when the last article appeared. A complete set comprises fifty almanacs between 1753 and 1771. The first book edition (1764) was issued in one thousand copies. The second edition (1771), considerably enlarged, is called the ”Third Edition” on the title-page, the almanac series being the first. The first translation, the German one, appeared in 1766. From then on for many years new translations and new editions were pouring out, and when the last Swedish edition was published in 1851, a total of at least twenty-five editions in eight different languages had passed through the printing presses. The English edition (London, 1766) was translated by Anders Sparrman on board the Resolution during Captain Cook’s expedition to the Antarctic regions and round the world, 1772-1775.

Collation: Pp. (2), 363, (11).

Binding: Contemporary half calf, richly gilt spine, red edges.

Provenance: Johan Salberg (1741–1810), with his annotations on front and back end-leaves.

References: Garrison & Morton 6323; Still, G.F. The History of Pediatrics, pp 434-38; Vahlquist, B. & Wallgren, A. (eds.) ’Nils Rosén von Rosenstein and his Textbook on Paediatrics’ Acta Pædiatrica Scandinavica. Suppl. 156 (1964); Norman 1849. Waller 8215.

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