Publisher Information: Geneva: J. G. Fick, 1863.
Dunant, Jean Henri (1828-1910). Un souvenir de Solferino. , 115pp. Double-page map. Geneva: Imprimerie Jules-Guillaume Fick, 1862. 267 x 173 mm. 19th century half cloth, marbled boards, almost invisibly rebacked, light edgewear; boxed. Internally very good. Presentation Copy, inscribed by the author to Sven Erik Sköldberg (1806-84) on a slightly trimmed leaf bound before the half-title: “Monsieur le Docteur Sven Erik Skoeld[berg]/Conseiller au Collège de Médecine de Stockho[lm]/Intendant de matériel medical de l’Armée/Suédoise &c. &c. &c./Souvenir de la Conférence Internatio[nale]/de Genève/Hommage respectueux/de l’Auteur/J. Henry Dunant/Genève le 29 Octobre 1863.”
First Edition of the work that led to the foundation of the International Red Cross, inscribed by the author to one of the future organizers of the Swedish Red Cross. Dunant’s ten-line presentation inscription, which fills the entire page, compares favorably to his three-line presentation in the copy cited in the Grolier Club’s One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine.
According to En français dans le texte, 1,600 copies of Un souvenir de Solferino were printed in November 1862 for private distribution. Of these only 400 were actually sent out; these copies, constituting the original issue, have a title-page stating “Ne se vend pas” over the imprint. The positive reception of the few copies sent out encouraged Dunant to publish a second edition of 1,000 copies just one month later.
On 24 June 1859 the Battle of Solferino—one of the bloodiest of the nineteenth century—was fought between the Austrians and the French-Piedmontese alliance. Dunant, a Swiss philanthropist, witnessed the battle and its dreadful aftermath, in which the nearly 40,000 casualties were left to die with no medical treatment except what he and the local inhabitants could provide them. Upon returning to Geneva Dunant published Un souvenir de Solferino, an account of the horrors he had seen coupled with an appeal for “some international principle, with the sanction of an inviolable convention, which . . . might constitute a basis for Societies for the relief of the wounded in the various countries of Europe.” The wide interest generated by Dunant’s book led to an international conference in Geneva in October 1863, which led to the foundation of the International Red Cross and to the establishment of the Geneva Convention. Dunant shared with Frédéric Passy the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.
The dedication in the present copy is written in connection with the 1863 Geneva conference, which Sven Eric Sköldberg attended as a representative for Sweden. Sköldberg was a physician and a gynecologist, and counselor in medical matters to the Swedish government. In 1864 he published a book, Sårades vård i fält. Internationella konferensen i Genève oktober 1863 och dess resultater, in which he supported Dunant’s ideas. Sköldberg took part in the foundation of the Swedish Red Cross, but had diverging thoughts on how it should be organized, and therefore received no position in the Swedish organization. En français dans le texte 284. Garrison-Morton.com 2166. Printing and the Mind of Man 350. Norman 670.Book Id: 44335