GRAUNT, John. (1620-1674). Natural and political observations mentioned in a following index and made upon the bills of mortality...with reference to the government, religion, trade, growth, ayre, diseases, and the several changes of the said city. London: Tho: Roycroft, for John Martin, James Allestry, and Tho: Dicas, 1662.
4o (178 x 132 mm). Woodcut headpiece, folding "Table of Casualties" (362 x 323 mm, mounted on guard and with repaired tear), table of "Number of burials and christenings in the seven parishes [1636-1659]." (Title dust-soiled and with clean cut at center not affecting letters, a few headlines cropped.) Modern speckled calf antique.
VERY RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE FOUNDATION OF DEMOGRAPHICS AND MEDICAL STATISTICS: THE BEGINNING OF STUDIES ABOUT WHY PEOPLE DIE, AND THE BEGINNING OF DISEASE CONTROL.
Since the sixteenth century the parishes of London had compiled weekly Bills of Mortality, recording births and baptisms, and the age, sex, parish and apparent cause of death of all who died within the metropolis. Graunt, subjecting these records to careful study, created statistical tables and drew interesting deductions regarding demographics, epidemiology and social patterns. "He was the first to recognize the importance of vital statistics and the need for reducing them to order, which he found to be possible by mathematical calculation, leading to important conclusions on the social and economic conditions of the people....The application of critical scientific methods to medical and vital statistics, which underlies so much of modern government and economics, can be traced back to John Graunt's remarkable book" (PMM). NLM/Krivatsy 4951; Wing G-1599; Wellcome III, p.150; Norman 933.