1778 · Mexico
Just over a decade after the fall of the Aztec empire to the Spanish, Fray Pedro de Gante, with the help of other Franciscan missionaries, founded in 1532 the first or the second hospital exclusively for the treatment of Indians. (The exact dates of the establishment of this hospital and that founded by Vasco de Quiroga are still to be determined.) It operated as the only such hospital with royal sponsorship, and that from the very beginning, but without a formal, written constitution until 1778. This is the first printing of the thirteen treatises that compose the document. They address every phase of the hospital's operation — the roles of surgeons, doctors, chaplains, administrators, majordomo, porters, aides, and so on. There is also a very informative historical introduction.
One must question whether this was a blueprint or a document that was actually put into effect. In any case, reading it and reading between its lines offers great insight into the basic structure, personnel, and operation of the hospital.
The work is printed in large roman type and bears the engraved coat of arms of the king, signed by Benavides, on the title-page. The text contains two large historiated woodcut initials and one large woodcut headpiece.
Searches of NUC and WorldCat locate only three copies in the U.S.
Palau 60068; Medina, Mexico, 7091. Recased in old vellum; a few short tears to the edges of the title-leaf, repaired. Else very good. (Inventory #: 36393)