Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1905. 8vo. [viii], 604 pp. FIRST EDITION. In the original printed wrappers, an uncut and unopened copy in the finest condition complete with frontispiece portrait of author. Item #2205
First edition of the collected writings of Semmelweis, one of the most important figures of nineteenth century medicine. "His discovery concerning the etiology and prevention of puerperal fever was a brilliant example of fact-finding, meaningful statistical analysis, and keen inductive reasoning. The highly successful prophylactic hand washing made him a pioneer in antisepsis during the pre-bacteriological era in spite of deliberate opposition and uninformed resistance" (D.S.B.) In addition, there are other gynecological papers and articles by Hebra and Skoda, among others.
Semmelweis (1818-1865) was professor of obstetrics at the university in Budapest. When he realized that puerperal fever was an infection passed on by doctors and midwives he wrote an open letter to all professors of obstetrics in defense of his epoch-making discovery of the importance of asepsis in childbirth. He was vehemently opposed by nearly every prominent physician of the day. He died of blood-poisoning while confined in a lunatic asylum in Vienna. It was Pasteur and Lister who provided a satisfactory explanation for Semmelweis's work.