Paris: J.-B. Baillière et Fils, 1869. First edition. 8vo, viii, 184 pp, printed wrappers. With 8 pp. publisher's catalog laid in at rear. Inscribed by the author at the title page, with a faint, almost imperceptible rubberstamp beneath the signature. Text in French.
A rare inscribed copy of the first edition of one of the most influential 19th century scientific studies of tattoos and tattooing, which also had an influence on modern medicine and the study of infection by microorganisms. Berchon was a navy doctor, who based his research on the increasing numbers of tattooed sailors in the French navy. In 1861 Berchon observed the transmission of syphilis from one soldier to another, who claimed to be a virgin. Berchon decided that the disease had been transmitted through spit in the act of tattooing, and as a result the French navy begin to discourage or prohibit tattooing - one element in the driving of the art underground. It also helped to develop ideas of the transmission of disease through microorganisms.
An unavoidable book for any collection on the history of modern tattooing.
Rare. Not in Schiffmacher. OCLC locates only four holdings worldwide, none of which are in North America.
The wraps are nearly split at the spine, with much of the paper covering the spine lost, and with chipping to margins. The contents are almost completely uncut, with some light foxing throughout. A battered, fair only example, but rare in any condition, and especially so signed. Item #29241