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Sabra Matbaasi, Beyrut [Beirut], 1918.

Original wrappers. 12mo. (16 x 11 cm). In Ottoman Turkish (with Arabic script). 32 p., a photographic plate of Pasteur’s portrait.

First and only edition of this first Turkish biography of Pasteur in book form celebrating the famous scientist Pasteur’s works saving millions of lives through the development of vaccines for rabies and anthrax. This Beirut imprint is very rare in both institutional holdings and the market.

The first biography of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) in Ottoman Turkish, published in Beirut, apparently in the Sabra region. Pasteur, a French chemist, has been honoured as the 'father of bacteriology and microbiology,' renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation, and pasteurization, which was named after him.

The book is written by Ali Vehbi [Türküstün], a zoologist, paleontologist, and the first Turkish mountaineer. While studying medicine in Paris in 1906, Ali Vehbi Türküstün was the first Turkish mountaineer to climb Mont Blanc, the highest point of the Alps with his four French friends. The book includes in addition to the life of the famous scientist Pasteur, also an interesting account of the events like that Abdulhamid II, the Ottoman sultan of the period, sent a significant amount of money, despite the difficult conditions of the state, to Paris with a delegation he appointed in 1886 and donated it to the Pasteur Institute that was opened there. 

On July 6, 1885, Pasteur successfully applied the rabies vaccine to humans for the first time, and scientists from all over the world started to run to Paris. Before the Ottoman delegation visited the city, Louis Pasteur, who administered the rabies vaccine to humans for the first time on 6 July 1885, was invited to Turkey. The Ottoman delegation was sent to France after no positive response was received to this invitation (Unat, 1970).

Then, three valuable people from Istanbul, Military Medical Faculty Internal Medicine Teacher Zoeros Pasha and Military Medicine Animal Teacher Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Hüseyin Remzi Bey (1839-1894) and Veterinary Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Bey, one of the Istanbul Sanitary Inspectors, were also sent to Paris to learn about this vaccine and meet with Pasteur. The delegation was also honoured by Sultan Abdülhamid II. The Sultan was also presenting 10000 Francs to Pasteur, which was donated to help the Pasteur Institute be established with a Mejidi Order of the 1st Rank. Zoeros Pasha and his friends arrived in Paris on 8 June 1886. Turkish Ambassador Esat Pasha personally made an appointment with Pasteur. The Turkish delegation was received by Pasteur in his laboratory. The gifts were greatly appreciated by both Pasteur and the French Government. Because this money was the biggest aid made by foreigners. The delegation was given special attention during the six-month stay in Paris. The delegation observed and conducted extensive studies on bacteriology, as well as the rabies vaccine, and returned home in December of the same year (Sehsuvaroglu, 1967). After the delegation returned, the Dâülkelp Treatment Centre for Rabies and Bacteriology was established in Istanbul in January 1887 under the administration of Alexander Zoeros Pascha (1842-1917).

Alexander Zoeros, also known as “Aleksan Çaliki Efendi”, who lived in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, is one of the famous teachers at the Military Medical School, the administrators of the state health organization, and the pioneer of bacteriology and rabies vaccine in Turkey. Zoeros Pasha was born in Beirut in 1842, while his father was on duty in Syria.

Özege 11762; TBTK 4086; As of March 2024, OCLC shows only one copy in the Bogaziçi University Library of Turkey, not in any American and other libraries worldwide (949522337).