Item #257 La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon. LYON.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.
An Important Social, Legal, and Public-Health Document, Informing the History of Early Modern Lyon.

La Police de l'Aulmosne de Lyon.

The Almshouse and Charity Hospital at Lyon, chartered in 1531, was, from the start, a  complicated and multifarious institution. A signal drought that affected most of France starting in 1529 created a paucity of wheat, and famine conditions began to emerge, which were especially harsh in Lyon. This was not helped by persistent rumors that local merchants were secretly exporting grain reserves to Italy (upon which Lyonnais relied for trade, especially for its silk industry). Demonstrations and riots followed, notably the Grand rebeyle, when, for three days, thousands invaded the homes of merchants in Les Cordeliers. By 1531, the population of starving people, especially orphaned children, had multiplied, and Lyon responded by chartering the formation of a general almshouse and hospital, which was formally opened in 1533. Our book, published by Sébastien Gryphe in 1539, is the earliest account of the formation, structure, function, and policies of the General Almhouse, and is illustrated with an arresting full-page woodcut of an interior crowded with destitute adults and children, all governed by four placid recteurs handing out money and food. The news of the beneficent organization spread quickly, and many thousands from the famine-ravaged countryside came flowing into Lyon, amplifying the problems the almshouse and hospital had been designed to address. The governors of the institution found that its functions were forced to both restrict and expand: it could handle the care and education of children ages 7-14, plus ill adults, but others were turned away—unless they were problematic in some way, or actively criminal; in this case the almshouse functioned as both a judicial center and a penal colony that processed the more desperate of Lyon's indigent population. There was even a private police force administed by four beadles, and a locked chamber for delinquent and ungovernable children. The almshouse was administered by a group of volunteer recteurs, usually landed gentry, who guaranteed to privately provide a portion of the money and bread that was doled out to residents. Our book is bound with what appears to be a unique copy of the earliest known edition of the list of recteurs from 1533 through 1665, printed in a very large fount. (Lists were published regularly through the 18th century; most were printed with similiar versions of this peculiar, outsized typeface.) The original administration had nine recteurs, led by a secretary of the treasury; this was expanded to 15 within a few years, and this number was maintained through the 19th century. Our composite volume is a most compelling witness to the legal, social, and medical responses to a public-health crisis in early modern Lyon. We can look to such early witnesses for possible answers to modern  legal and social issues concerning climate-induced famine. Two copies of the first work in American libraries (Harvard and UVa); the second work is unrecorded.


[LYON] La Police de l'Aulmosne | de Lyon. || ❦ || [Woodcut coat of arms Lyon next to a emblematic shield of Charité] || IMPRIME' CHEZ SEB. | GRYPHIVS, | 1539. | Auec Priuilege pour deux ans : comme | il appert à la fin du liure. 


        Bound with:


[LYON] CATALOGVE | DE MESSIEVRS | LES RECTEURS | NOMMEZ POVR | L'ADMINITRATION | DE L'AVMOSNE GENERALE | en la Ville de Lyon, depuis ſon Inſtitution. [S.l., s.n., s.d.] [Lyon?: c1665]

Lyon: Sebastian Gryphius, 1539.

Two works in quarto, 235 x 169 x 9 mm (binding), 232 x 166 x 6 mm (text block). I: A-G4; 55, [1] pp. II: A-Aa2 [last leaf, Aa2—probably blank—WANTING]; 94 pp. Later plain vellum, a bit rubbed and soiled. Interior: I: title and last leaves soiled; II: toning and foxing to leaves; last leaf Aa1 mended at tail fore corner.

Provenance:

19th-century bookplate of Étienne Récamier to upper pastedown. Acquired by W. S. Cotter Rare Books from Patrick Olson of Lowell, Mass.

I: USTC 81050; Pettegree 35596; Baudrier VIII, 128; Gültlingen V, 512 (erroneously reporting 52 pp.); not in Durling. II: Unrecorded.

Item #257

Price: $5,200.00

Status: On Hold