Louis Pasteur handwritten and signed letter

SKU: PT2071

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  • A handwritten, signed letter from Louis Pasteur
  • Written in 1885 – the same year Pasteur discovered the vaccine for rabies

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French microbiologist and chemist whose pioneering research has saved millions of lives.

Pasteur discovered:

  • That germs cause disease, which led to the introduction of sterilisation and hand washing in hospitals
  • Vaccines for rabies and anthrax. Pasteur found that exposing people to a weak form of a disease protected them from the full form. This revolutionary concept - known as attenuation - is one of the bedrocks of vaccine methodology today.
  • The process of pasteurization: enabling liquids to be drunk safely

Louis Pasteur writes this letter just four months before his pioneering first use of a rabies vaccine on a human being: the nine-year-old Joseph Meister. Meister’s subsequent recovery from several dog bites revealed to the world the potential of attenuated (or "live") vaccines. 

Pasteur writes to an unknown recipient in response to a letter that has called Pasteur a doctor of medicine.

Whatever I’ve been busy with over the past few years, from the investigation of the cause to the prevention of certain illnesses, I request to tell you that I am not a medical doctor and that it is by mistake that you call me so.

Dr Pasteur.

Louis Pasteur (signed)

18 March 1885

The 29.2 x 21 cm letter has been mounted on a cardboard mount that states: The Learned Pasteur, Academic.

Provenance: ex Stanley Gibbons.

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