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JAMA 100 Years Ago
December 20, 2006

THE FIRST FRENCH PUBLICIST—A BIT OF MEDICAL HISTORY.

Author Affiliations
 

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(23):2866. doi:10.1001/jama.296.23.2866

The first newspaper in France appeared in Paris in 1631. Unlike similar enterprises begun a little earlier in Germany and England by stationers in the ordinary course of their trade, this newspaper was but one of the many busy schemes of an energetic member of the medical profession, Théophraste Renaudot, of whose activities both within and beyond the limits of his chosen calling much of interest might be written.

Théophraste Renaudot was born at Loudun in 1584 and studied medicine in Paris and Montpellier. In 1612 he established himself in Paris, where he had reason to hope his acquaintance with Cardinal Richelieu would stand him in good stead. In this he was not mistaken. Having turned Catholic, he became the physician to the king (Louis XIII) and was able to conquer all the difficulties put in his way by the Paris faculty, which would allow no other physicians to practice in Paris except those promoted by itself. But Renaudot was not satisfied with mere practice. He established an agency or office, “Bureau d’Addresses et de Rencontre,” where could be learned the addresses of persons; to this he soon added an employment agency and a chemical laboratory where he gave instruction as well as manufactured certain preparations of antimony, introduced by Paracelsus, with the therapeutic action of which he had become familiar in Montpellier. The use of these preparations, however, was prohibited by the Paris faculty of medicine. To us of the present day, enterprises like these naturally suggest at once the great advantage of publicity and advertisement.

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