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ALS to the Chief Rabbi of France, Zadoc Kahn

Item: 22592
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PASTEUR, LOUIS. (1822-1895). French chemist and microbiologist; discovered the process, named pasteurization in his honor, through which bacteria in liquids are destroyed by heating. ALS. (“L. Pasteur”). 3/4p. 8vo. Paris, February 24, 1892. Written on Institut Pasteur stationery to the “Chief Rabbi” (ZADOC KAHN, 1839-1905; chief rabbi of France beginning in 1889 and the last official chief rabbi prior to the separation of church and state). In French with translation.

“Dear Chief Rabbi, I am taking the liberty, in my capacity as Honorary President of the Foreign Students Committee, to ask you to receive and listen for a few moments to the Dr. from Geneva, Mr. A. M. Archavski, who wishes to obtain certain grade equivalencies and some financial sponsorship. The letters of introduction that he carries prove that he is a most commendable doctor and really deserves to be helped. Please accept, Sir, the assurance of my highest consideration…”

Portrait of Pasteur

Louis Pasteur

Pasteur was appointed professor at the Sorbonne in 1867 and remained in this position for several decades. While there he applied the pasteurization process to beer and began his investigation into animal diseases. After successfully vaccinating animals against anthrax and chicken cholera, Pasteur, who had witnessed a horrifying fatal outbreak of rabies as a boy, chose, in 1882, to focus his research on discovering a rabies vaccine. After several years of experimentation, he used a weakened form of the virus to save the life of a nine-year-old boy who had been attacked by a rabid dog. The success of his vaccine, his most celebrated achievement, was recognized with the 1888 opening of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the mission of which was the ongoing research into the treatment and prevention of rabies. Pasteur is seeking support for Our letter was written in his capacity of honorary president of the Committee of the Foreign Students at the Sorbonne and asks for support for Dr. A.M. Archavski who published many research articles, including one in an 1891 issue of Le progrès médical: journal de médecine, de chirurgie et de pharmacie, and another article entitled “le siphon avec la Pleurotomie dans le traitment du Pyothorax.”

Pasteur numbered several important French Jews among his supporters and there is evidence that Pasteur’s approach to treating rabies had Talmudic origins (see: Saul Jay Singer’s article in At the time of our letter the position of chief rabbi of France was held by Kahn, remembered for his oratorical skills and philanthropic endeavors, including providing aid for the massive wave of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe. Although Kahn was involved in matters related to the settlement of Palestine, he rejected the notion of a Jewish state and urged French Jews to remain faithful to France.

Folded with scattered staining and wear. In very good condition and an unusual association.

ALS to the Chief Rabbi of France, Zadoc Kahn

$2800 • item #22592

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