London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
DAVY, Sir Humphry (1778-1829). Researches, Chemical and Philosophical chiefly concerning Nitrous Oxide or Dephlogisticated Nitrous Air, and its Respiration. London: J. Johnson, 1800. 8° (210 x 131mm). Engraved plate (some browning and foxing, plate offset onto facing page of text). Modern half calf. Provenance: John R. Coxe (signature at head of title) -- Mercantile Library Philadelphia (red library stamp on title and scattered in the text).
FIRST EDITION. THE AUTHOR'S FIRST IMPORTANT WORK. 'Davy, apprenticed as a surgeon-apothecary, published the above at age 22. Two years earlier, he experimented with various gases at the Medical Pneumatic Institution in Bristol, to determine their medical properties. He discovered that pure nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was respirable and himself breathed large quantities of it with exhilarating effect. He observed that 2it may probably be used with advantage in surgical operations."' (Dibner).
After studying medicine in England, John Redman Coxe (1773-1864) returned to America to study under Benjamin Rush, receiving his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. From his experiences he published his Practical Observations on Vaccination, in which he championed inoculation, seeking to dispel ignorance and prejudice against the new practice and inoculating himself and his son Edward Jenner Coxe, the first inoculations to be performed in Philadelphia. Dibner 128; Garrison-Morton 5646; Gedeon pp.156-57; Waller 11113; Wellcome II, p. 436; Norman 607.
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