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W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library: Did You Know?

Did you know

Donné, Alfred, 1801-1878.  Cours de microscopie complémentaire des études médicales, anatomie microscopique et physiologie des fluides de l'économie: atlas exécuté d'après nature au microscope-daguerréotype.  Paris: J.-B. Baillière, 1845.

First Edition of a major landmark in the fields of hematology, oncology, bacteriology, medical microscopy and photomicrography.  Donné, a French public health physician, began teaching his pioneering course on medical microscopy in 1837, a time when the medical establishment remained largely unconvinced of the microscope’s usefulness as a diagnostic and investigative tool.  In July 1839 Louis Daguerre, one of the inventors

of photography, announced to the Académie des Sciences his “daguerreotype” process for creating finely detailed photographic images on specially prepared glass plates. Donné immediately embraced this new art and within a few months had created not only the first documented photographic portrait in Europe, but also the earliest method of preparing etched plates from daguerreotypes.  Donné resolved to incorporate photography into his microscopy course, and in February 1840 he presented to the Académie his first photographic pictures of natural objects as seen through the microscope.  “It was Alfred Donné who foresaw the helpful role that projections of microscopic pictures could play during lectures on micrography” (Dreyfus, p. 38).

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