Jourdain Anselme Brechillet
1734 - 1816
Anselme Brechillet-Jourdain was born in Paris, on December 16, 1734. He studied at the College d’Harcourt and later at a Jesuit school in Rouen. His initial interest drew him to surgery. For six years he worked under the guidance of Jean Nicolas Moreau, Master Surgeon at the Hotel Dieu. Finally, still as a teenager, he joined Henry de Lecluse, dentist to the King of Poland and of the Duke of Lorraine as an apprentice. Under Lecluse, Jourdain became a proficient practitioner and by age 20 he was sworn in as a member of the Order of Saint Come. He was elected member of the Royal Academy of Surgery and became a Master Surgeon at the height of his profession.
There are four French works and a German translation by Jourdain in our collection. In 1760 Jourdain published Traités des dépôts dans le sinus maxillaire, des fractures, et des caries de l'une et l'autre machoire (Treatise on Deposits in the Maxillary Sinus, Fractures and Caries of Both Jaws. Our copy is the second edition (1761). Jourdain was fascinated with the maxillary sinus, first described in details by Nathaniel Highmore exactly 100 years prior. Jourdain began this treatise by describing it in full detail. It is the first of several of his books that describe the maxillary sinus.
Essais Sur La Formation Des Dents (1766), (An Essay on the Formation of the Teeth) describes with great accuracy the formation of teeth from the moment of birth and following throughout its evolution. This volume provides the results of personal research and experience. Jourdain distinguished himself from other dentists of the time because of his extensive surgical/medical knowledge he gained under the guidance of Jean Nicolas Moreau.
Préceptes de santé, ou introduction au Dictionnaire de santé (1772) (The Rules of Health – or Introduction to the Dictionary of Health) is a 600-page study providing healthy lifestyle and dietary recommendations, a remarkable and unusual topic for a dentist-surgeon.
One of the most important books Jourdain published was Traité des maladies et des opérations réellement chirurgicales de la bouche, et des parties qui y correspondent (1778) (Treatise on Surgical Diseases of the Mouth). The book consists of two volumes, the first of 543 pages, and the second of 668 pages. The first volume describes the anatomy and diseases relating to the upper jaw, whereas the second volume is devoted to diseases of the mandible. The book is comprehensive and covers a range of conditions including abscesses, ulcers, tumors, traumas, diseases of the cheeks, the gums, tongue and salivary glands. The book was widely used and translations were published as far as Nuremberg (1784, a copy is in our library), Baltimore and Philadelphia and had seen editions well into the middle of the 19th century (1851).
At the time Fauchard's book was published in 1728, there was very little published on the subject of dentistry. Fauchard’s influence, in retrospect was quite remarkable. During the period of 1746 and 1781, between Fauchard's 2d and 3d editions, 15 different French authors published over two dozen books on dentistry. Our collection has 11 of these 15 authors represented with 18 different volumes.
Based in part on research done by Haley Leatherbarrow, class of 2021 as part of her assignment in Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry, 2017-2018. Edited by Andrew I Spielman.
- Traites des depots dans le sinus maxillaire (1767) >>>
- Essais Sur La Formation Des Dents (1766) >>>
- Préceptes de santé, ou introduction au Dictionnaire de santé (1772) >>>
- Traité des maladies et des opérations réellement chirurgicales de la bouche, et des parties qui y correspondent (1778) >>>