Library and Archives Canada is happy announce the acquisition of what is considered to be the first medical book published in Canada, Direction pour la guérison du mal de la Baie St. Paul, a very rare pre-Confederation publication. Only four known copies reside in Canada. This copy was acquired with the help of the Friends of Library and Archives Canada.
This medical work is generally attributed to Philippe-Louis-François Badelard. He came to Canada in 1757 as a surgeon-major in the French army, then was appointed to the military hospital in Quebec after the British conquest of New France.
Mal de la Baie St. Paul (illness of Baie St. Paul) is believed to have been syphilis. It was common throughout the St. Lawrence valley during the late 18th century and had reached epidemic proportions by the 1780s. Army doctors were sent periodically to settlements to treat those afflicted by the disease. Badelard, one of those doctors, studied the disease and wrote this manual outlining his treatment method.
This book is an important addition to LAC’s collection and Canada’s national heritage. Find out more about our Rare Book Collection, how to access a rare book in AMICUS and what’s new in the collection.
Photo of the cover of the book, Direction pour la guérison du mal de la Baie St. Paul