1830s Autographed letter: Dr. Civiale, Marquis de Laplace and Dr. Biett

1830s Autographed letter: Dr. Civiale, Marquis de Laplace and Dr. Biett


Autographed letter: Dr. Civiale, Marquis de Laplace and Dr. Biett



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Category: Medicine


A handwritten letter, sent durig the 1830s,  by the French urologist Jean Civiale to  Laurent-Theodore Biett, an eminent dermatologist of the same era. Civiale invented the lithotrite and performed the first transurethral lithotripsy. This was the first successful minimally-invasive lithotripsy, in  that it avoided the opening of the abdomen. What he did, of course, was insert his instrument through the urethra to reduce and crush the stone. He also “founded the first urological service in the world at the Necker Hospital in Paris.” He clearly was among the most important urologists of the 19th century.  Biett “is chiefly remembered  for introducing into France an anatomical methodology for analyzing skin diseases.” In the letter ( see text below)  Civiale asks his friend Dr. Biette for his help in securing entry to the baths in St. Louis for a patient, the patient being a servant of the illustrious Marquis de Laplace. The Marquis, of course, was an important figure in  the French scientific world during the 19th century—see Wiki link that follows.

Monsieur le Dr Biett n° 5 rue du coq héron

Je présente mes amitiés à Monsieur Biett et le prie instamment de faciliter à la personne qui lui remettra le billet le moyen de prendre des bains à St Louis. Je compte sur votre obligeance et le remercie d’avance de ce qu’il voudra  bien faire pour mon protégé qui m’a été recommandé par Monsieur le Marquis de Laplace dont il est le domestique.

Je renouvelle mes amitiés à Monsieur Biett

Son tout dévoué   

8 aout




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M and R Gordon

Michael and Roberta Gordon have been dealing in medical and dental antiques for more than four decades. They have helped build a number of major private collections and have contributed to the holdings of many museums. They also deal in other scientific and technology related items, including calculating instruments, office machines, patent models and wine-related accessories such as corkscrews. ROBERTA GORDON IS A SKILLED RESTORER WHO CAN HELP YOU WITH ANY INSTRUMENTS AND CASES THAT NEED ATTENTION. Feel free to contact them for details at: [email protected] or 718-541-5974