Publisher Information: London: 1849.
Snow, John (1813-58). On the pathology and mode of communication of cholera. In London Medical Gazette, n.s., 9 (1849): 745-755; 923-929. Whole volume. , 1129pp. Text illustrations. 214 x 133 mm. 19th century half calf, cloth boards, hinges split, some wear. Internally very good. Library bookplates.
First Edition, journal issue. Snow first became interested in cholera at Newcastle-on-Tyne during the epidemic of 1831-1832, and recurrent outbreaks of the disease gave him the opportunity to investigate it in detail. His paper on cholera, published shortly after his (extremely rare) 31-page pamphlet On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, contained his first demonstration of the specific nature of the disease, which he defined correctly as an infection of the alimentary canal transmitted by ingesting fecal matter from cholera patients, in most cases via contaminated water. Snow proved his theory of cholera transmission by collecting data on a large number of outbreaks and correlating them to local water supplies. He argued, based on his data, that cholera was caused by “a specific living, waterborne, self-reproducing cell or germ” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography)—a conclusion all the more remarkable in that it predated the germ theory of disease by over a decade.
Snow may have been motivated to contribute his paper to the London Medical Gazette because a review of his separately published pamphlet published in that journal on pp. 466-470 of the 1849 volume stated that he had not proved the contagious nature of cholera. Snow’s theory of cholera transmission aroused much controversy among physicians, many of whom still held the ancient belief that cholera and all other infectious diseases were carried by atmospheric “miasmas” emanating from noxious sources. Snow was vindicated a few years later, however, when, during the great London cholera epidemic of 1854, he located the source of infection at the Bow Street pump and persuaded local authorities to remove the pump’s handle, causing a dramatic drop in the rate of infection. Snow’s work on cholera greatly influenced sanitary reformers such as Sir Edwin Chadwick and provided critical support for the work of Pasteur and Koch in the 1860s and 1870s.
Collectors of John Snow’s work on cholera have tended to focus on and drive up the prices of his 1849 pamphlet and his 1854 book, and to ignore the revolutionary conclusions that Snow drew in this paper of 1849. Garrison-Morton.com 5106. Shephard, John Snow, p. 303.Book Id: 45527