London, South Kensington
30 April 2015
THE BLAIR CHARITABLE TRUST, REMOVED FROM BLAIR CASTLE, BLAIR ATHOLL, SCOTLAND
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. 4° (194 x 145mm). Woodcut headpieces and initials, folding 'Table of Casualties' and 'Number of burials and christenings in the seven parishes [1636-1659]'. (Leaves B2-3 loose and with very small marginal chip, 'Table of Casualties' with very short tear affecting just a few letters.) Contemporary sheep (extremities faintly rubbed). Provenance: John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl (1660-1724, bookplate dated 1711 on verso of title).
VERY RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE FOUNDATION OF DEMOGRAPHICS AND MEDICAL STATISTICS. 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 ecomomics, can be traced back to John Graunt's remarkable book' (PMM). NLM/Krivatsy 4951; Wing G-1599; Wellcome III, p.150; Norman 933.
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