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A cabinet of the ordinary: domesticating veterinary education, 1766–1799


In the late eighteenth century, the Ecole vétérinaire d'Alfort was renowned for its innovative veterinary education and for having one of the largest natural history and anatomy collections in France. Yet aside from a recent interest in the works of one particular anatomist, the school's history has been mostly ignored. I examine here the fame of the school in eighteenth-century travel literature, the historic connection between veterinary science and natural history, and the relationship between the school's hospital and its esteemed cabinet. Using the correspondence papers of veterinary administrators, state representatives and competing scientific institutions during the French Revolution, I argue that resource constraints and the management of anatomical and natural history specimens produced new disciplinary boundaries between natural history, veterinary medicine and human medicine, while reinforcing geographic divisions between the local and the foreign in the study of non-human animals. This paper reconstructs the Ancien Régime reasoning that veterinary students would benefit from a global perspective on animality, and the Revolutionary government's rejection of that premise. Under republicanism, veterinary medicine became domestic.

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I would like to thank the members of the Singer Prize selection committee and BJHS reviewers and staff for their helpful feedback in developing the article. This paper has benefited from thoughtful comments from my adviser, Janet Browne, and conference participants at the History of Education Society (2015) and the Göttingen Summer School organized by Dominik Hünniger (2016). Dani Inkpen, Yvan Prkachin, Avi Kelman and Carol De Rose have proven to be especially generous and rigorous readers. I am indebted to Lucas Mueller and Jolien de Vuyst for discussions about the nuances of German and Dutch. Research for this project was supported by SSHRC (Canada) and Chateaubriand (France).

This essay was awarded the Singer Prize by the British Society for the History of Science for 2016.

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1 Philibert Chabert to Commission d'agriculture, 19 fructidor an II, Archives nationales de France (subsequently AN) F/10/238.

2 Baumé, Antoine, Elémens de pharmacie theorique et pratique, Paris: Veuve Damonneville, 1762, pp. 325327.

3 Bourgelat, Claude, Matière médicale raisonnée à l'usage de l'Ecole royale vétérinaire, Lyon: Jean-Marie Bruyset, 1771, p. 168.

4 Degueurce, Christophe, Vo Dhui, Sung, Bleton, Jean, Hugon, Paulette, Cadot, Laure and Tchapla, Alain, ‘Un mystère: La technique de conservation mise en oeuvre par Honoré Fragonard pour créer ses fameaux écorchés’, Bulletin de la Société française d'histoire de la médecine et des sciences vétérinaires (2008) 8, pp. 4057, 40; Sue, Jean-Joseph, Anthropotomie, ou l'art d'injecter, de disséquer, d'embaumer et de conserver les parties du corps humains, &c, 2nd edn, Paris: P.G. Cavelier, 1765.

5 Hahn, Roger, The Anatomy of a Scientific Institution: The Paris Academy of Science, 1666–1803, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971; Spary, Emma C., Utopia's Garden: French Natural History from the Old Regime to the Revolution, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004.

6 Saurabh Mishra, ‘An introduction: veterinary history comes of age’, Social History of Medicine, virtual issue September 2014, at

7 Curth, Louise Hill, ‘The care of the brute beast: animals and the seventeenth-century medical market-place’, Social History of Medicine (2002) 15, pp. 375392; Kirk, Robert G.W. and Worboys, Michael, ‘Medicine and species: one medicine, one history?’, in Jackson, Mark, ed., The Oxford Handbook to the History of Medicine, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 561573; Jones, Susan D., Valuing Animals: Veterinarians and the Patients in Modern America, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003; Hubscher, Ronald, Les maîtres des bêtes: Les vétérinaires dans la société française (XVIIIe–XXe siècle), Paris: Editions Odile Jacob, 1999; Porter, Roy, ‘Man, animals and medicine at the time of the founding of the Royal Veterinary College’, in Michell, A.R. (ed.), The Advancement of Veterinary Science, 4 vols., Oxon: CAB, 1993, vol. 3, pp. 39; Woods, Abigail, Bresalier, Michael, Cassidy, Angela and Dentinger, Rachel Mason, Animals and the Shaping of Modern Medicine: One Health and Its Histories, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018.

8 For a discussion of nineteenth-century ‘veterinary arts’ in England and their relation to human medicine see Woods, Abigail, ‘From one medicine to two: the evolving relationship between human and veterinary medicine in England, 1791–1835’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2017) 91, pp. 494523.

9 To French historians, this argument may seem close to Albert Mathiez's association of the Revolutionary Wars with a departure from Ancien Régime cosmopolitanism. It is not my intention here to reinforce a break in French history where modernity gave rise to xenophobia. Plenty of xenophobia can be found at the Ecole vétérinaire d'Alfort prior to 1793, and I hope that no one perceives any nostalgia within the examples of specimens acquired through networks forged from colonial trade. See Mathiez, Albert, La révolution et les étrangers: Cosmopolitisme et défense nationale, Paris: La Renaissance du livre, 1918. On foreignness in France see Sahlins, Peter, Unnaturally French: Foreign Citizens in the Old Regime and After, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004; Tozzi, Christophe J., Foreign, Black, and Jewish Troops in the French Military, 1715–1831, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.

10 Railliet, Alcide-Louis-Joseph and Moulé, Léon, Histoire de l'Ecole d'Alfort, Paris: Asselin et Houzeau, 1908; Dunlop, Robert H., ‘Bourgelat's vision for veterinary education and the remarkable spread of the veterinary “meme”’, Journal of Veterinary Medical Education (2004) 31, pp. 310314; Jones, Bruce Vivash, ‘Education: the keystone of the veterinary profession’, Veterinary Record (2011) 169, pp. 222225.

11 Landes, Joan B., ‘Revolutionary anatomies’, in Knoppers, Laura Lunger and Landes, Joan B. (eds.), Monstrous Bodies/Political Monstrosities in Early Modern Europe, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004, pp. 148176; Landes, The anatomy of artificial life: an eighteenth-century perspective’, in Riskin, Jessica (ed.), Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007, pp. 96118; Simon, Jonathan, ‘The theatre of anatomy: the anatomical preparations of Honoré Fragonard’, Eighteenth-Century Studies (2002) 36, pp. 6379; McTavish, Lianne, ‘Intestinal chaos: tapeworms, dead flesh, and reproduction during the eighteenth century’, in Stephanson, Raymond and Wagner, Darren N. (eds.), The Secrets of Generation: Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015 pp. 364385; Quinlan, Sean M., ‘Monstrous births and medical networks: debates over forensic evidence, generation theory and obstetrical authority in France, ca. 1780–1815’, Early Science and Medicine (2009) 14, pp. 599629; Degueurce, Christophe, ‘The celebrated écorchés of Honoré Fragonard, part 1: the classical techniques of preparation of dry anatomical specimens in the 18th century’ (trans. Philip Adds), Clinical Anatomy (2010) 23, pp. 249257.

12 The passage from Rudolphi to which these rumours are attributed is notably a nineteenth-century account, one that circulated after the Terror and after Fragonard's own death. His two-volume technical work on human and veterinary medicine provides much more of an account of the school's significance and contribution than it does of Fragonard. Landes, ‘Revolutionary anatomies’, op. cit. (11), pp. 173–174. Rudolphi, Karl Asmund, Bemerkungen aus dem Gebiet der Naturgeschichte, Medicin und Thierarzneykunde, 2 vols., Berlin: Gottlieb August Lange, 1804–1805, vol. 2, pp. 1434.

13 Sandifort, Eduard, Natuur- en Genees-kundige Bibliotheek, new edn, 9 vols., Gravenhage: Pieter van Cleef, 1765–1772, vol. 3, p. 856.

14 de Hesseln, Robert, Dictionnaire universel de la France, 6 vols., Paris: Desaint, 1771, vol. 5, pp. 175176; s.a., Etat de la médecine, chirurgie et pharmacie en Europe et principalement en France, Paris: Veuve Thiboust, 1777, p. 234; [Pierre-Thomas-Nicolas] Hurtaut and [Pierre] Magny, Dictionnaire historique de la ville de Paris et de ses environs, 4 vols., Paris: Moutard, 1779, vol. 2, p. 714; Journal de Paris (12 January 1781) 12, p. 49. [Luc-Vincent] Thiery, Le voyageur à Paris, part 1, Paris: Hardouin & Gattey, 1788, p. 124.

15 Volkmann, Johann Jacob, Neueste Reisen durch Frankreich: Vorzüglich in Absicht auf die Naturgeschichte, Oekonomie, Manufakturen und Werke der Kunst, 3 vols., Leipzig: Casper Fritsch, 1787–1788, vol. 1, p. 521; J[acques-]A[ntoine] Dulaure, Nouvelle description des environs de Paris, part 1, 2nd edn, Paris: Lejay, 1787, p. 202.

16 Sanders, Heinrich, Beschreibung seiner Reisen durch Frankreich, die Niederlande, Holland, Deutschland und Italien, part I, Leipzig: Friedrich Gotthold Jacobaer und Sohn, 1783, pp. 266268.

17 This is consistent with the late eighteenth-century shift in cabinet content described by Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston as the ‘Enlightenment and the Anti-marvelous’. Park, Katharine and Daston, Lorraine, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150–1750, New York: Zone Books, 1998, p. 329.

18 Dulaure, op. cit. (15), p. 203.

19 Inventoire de la collection de l'Ecole nationale vétérinaire, an III, AN F/10/1294.

20 All translations unless otherwise stated are my own. Thouret, Michel-Augustin, ‘Anatomie’, in Encyclopédie méthodique: Médecine, vol. 3, Paris, 1790, p. 648.

21 A careful examination of Alfort's financial records, AN F/10/1258–1264, reveals explicit reference to purchases for the collection. These include materials involved in preparation such as varnish or pins, as well as animal source material such as calf heads, cow eyes, human cadavers and various organs of local domestic species. Other donation records: 1ETP 300 Items 2534, 2535, 2536 Les Archives départementales du Val-de-Marne (hereafter ADVM). Gilbert, 4 February 1784, Dossier 1787 Projet des réglements, AN F/10/1200.

22 Bourgelat, Claude, Elemens de l'art vétérinaire, 4th edn, Paris: Librairie vétérinaire de M.R. Huzard, an V/1797, p. 329.

23 [Philibert] Chabert, [Pierre] Flandrin and [Jean-Baptiste] Huzard, Instructions et observations sur les maladies des animaux domestiques, Paris: Librairie vétérinaire de J.B. Huzard, 1793, pp. 1718.

24 One of Flandrin's trips to England appears to have taken place around September 1783. See Flandrin to Sundersberg, 11 September 1783, Wellcome Trust Ms. 4736; Philibert Chabert on Pierre Flandrin's death, 15 fructidor an IV, Item 1903, ADVM 1ETP 258.

25 Ausländischer Nekrolog: Pierre Flandrin, 1 May 1796’, Intelligenzblatt der Allgem. Literatur-Zeitung (28 September 1796) 132, pp. 11131115, 1114.

26 Daston, Lorraine and Vidal, Fernando, ‘Doing what comes naturally’, in Daston and Vidal (eds.), The Moral Authority of Nature, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004, pp. 124. Sahlins, op. cit. (9), pp. 57–63.

27 Osborne, Michael, ‘Acclimatizing the world: a history of the paradigmatic colonial science’, Osiris (2000) 15, pp. 135151, 137.

28 Dietz, Betinna, ‘Mobile objects: the space of shells in eighteenth-century France’, BJHS (2006) 39(3), pp. 363382, 376.

29 Gilbert, op. cit. (21).

30 Review of Vitet's Médecine vétérinaire, in Journal de médecine, chirurgie, pharmacie (October 1787) 73, pp. 322334, 328–329.

31 Leclerc, Georges-Louis, de Buffon, Comte, Oeuvres completes de M. le Comte de Buffon, vol. 10, Paris: Imprimerie royale, 1775, p. 371. Given that the body of the text makes reference to the llama in August of 1777, it would appear that the above date of 1775 was an error, intentional or accidental. On illicit printing see Darnton, Robert, The Literary Underground of the Old Regime, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982, pp. 192193. For another iteration after 1777 see Leclerc, Georges-Louis, de Buffon, Comte, Histoire naturelle générale et particulière: Supplément, 36 vols., Paris: Imprimerie royale, 1782, vol. 6, p. 204.

32 The name Le Moyne appears on dozens of receipts in the school's financial records for meat for the kitchen. Occasionally he also features in the ‘objet divers’ section with explicit reference to dissection and the cabinet. For specific examples see ‘Chapitre de divers objets du mois d'avril 1770’ and ‘Chapitre de divers objets du mois de janvier 1770’, in F/10/1260, cross-referenced against individual receipts located in the same files, AN F/10/1258–1261.

33 On Alfort's predatory relationship with the Ecole royale vétérinaire de Lyon see Arloing, M.S., Le berceau de l'enseignement vétérinaire: Création et évolution de l'Ecole nationale vétérinaire de Lyon, 1761–1889, Lyon: Imprimerie Pitrat ainé, 1889.

34 The former guard to the Polish king and sous-equestrian to the Royal Academy of Nancy, Jean Léonard Larché, advertised that he would be opening a horse hospital in a northern Paris suburb, Villette, in 1763, and by 1767 he had advertised that it had opened, but it seems to have left little mark. See Avis donné au publique par M. Larché’, Gazette du commerce de l'agriculture et des finances (12 May 1767) 38, p. 371. ‘De la gourme des chevaux’, Journal oeconomique, ou memoires, notes et avis (1763), pp. 311–312.

35 There is an undated advertisement for a veterinary hospital created by the intendant in Saint-Emilion, Saint-Sulpice, quite possibly in response to a devastating epizootic outbreak in the provinces of Guyenne and Gascony in the 1770s. See also s.d., ‘Avis sur la maladies des bestiaux’, Archives départementales de la Haute-Vienne, C24. Passing references to a hospital in that region occur in Archives départementales de la Gironde, C3300.

36 These numbers come from the first veterinary school, which had opened in Lyon. See Affiches de Lyon (25 February 1762) 8, p. 31. Once Alfort was opened the advertising changed to thirty sols a day per animal. See L'Avantcoureur (19 August 1767) 32, pp. 499500.

37 [Philbert Chabert, Pierre Flandrin and Jean-Baptiste Huzard], Almanach vétérinaire, ou abrégé de l'histoire des progrès de la médecine des animaux depuis l’établissement des écoles royales vétérinaires, Paris: Veuve Vallat-la-Chapelle, 1782, p. 13.

38 ‘Demandes faite par Monseigneur Iamber à Chabert’ and ‘Produit des hopitaux, de la Pharmacie et des Forges de l'Ecole Royale Vétérinaire de Paris en 1779, 1780, et 1781’, dossier 1787, AN F/10/1200.

39 ‘Observations sur les changemens qu'il a paru convenable d'apporter au Règlement de 1780’, dossier 63, AN F/10/1200.

40 Medical registers, 1767–1771: ADVM 1ETP 400, 401. Financial registers, 1788–1790: AN F/10/96, 97. Though these are asymmetrical sources, both provide a great deal of comparable knowledge about entry duration and mortality.

41 All comments on the hospital from this period of time come from having reconstructed their hospital records out of two separate manuscript registers of 583 and 663 pages respectively. ADVM 1ETP 400 & 401.

42 Not all horses staying approximately a year or longer needed constant medical attention, and some were moved out to the fields to graze as a part of their convalescence. Fols. 141–144, ADVM 1ETP 401; fols. 301–308, 597–601, ADVM, 1ETP 400.

43 There are at least two cases in the register that would indicate that cheval, though linguistically gendered masculine, did not always denote a male horse, including one case of pregnancy. Fol. 345, ADVM 1ETP 401. It appears as though sex-specific notation stopped being prioritized in the records after 1769, where the first two-thirds of the records contain 90 percent of the female notations. See also Dubois, Jean, ‘Le genre dans les noms d'animaux’, Linx (1989) 21, pp. 8791.

44 Erxleben, Johann Christian, Theoretischer Unterricht in der Vieharzneykunst, Göttingen: Johann Christian Dietrich, 1798, p. 27.

45 In the eighteenth century, there were two common diagnoses for different manifestations of what is presently understood to be the same disease. When it manifested on the skin it was called farcin (farcy), and when it manifested in the lungs it was called morve (glanders). Patients diagnosed with morve had the highest mortality rate. Both farcy (farcin) and glanders (morve) have been combined here. On the difference between them and the difficulties of studying glanders in the pre-germ-theories context see Wilkinson, Lise, ‘Glanders: medicine and veterinary medicine in common pursuit of a contagious disease’, Medical History (1981) 25, pp. 363384.

46 Jones, Colin and Sonenscher, Michael, ‘The social functions of the hospital in eighteenth-century France: the case of the Hôtel-Dieu of Nîmes’, French Historical Studies (1983) 13, pp. 172214, 175.

47 Weiner, Dora B., The Citizen-Patient in Revolutionary and Imperial Paris, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993, pp. 114.

48 Dulaure, op. cit. (15), p. 205.

49 [Chabert, Flandrin and Huzard], Almanach vétérinaire, op. cit. (37), pp. 12–13.

50 Bourgelat, Claude, Elémens de l'art vétérinaire: Zootomie ou anatomie comparée, a l'usage des Elèves des Ecoles Vétérinaires, Paris: Vallat-la-Chapelle, 1766, p. 92.

51 Cothenius, Christian Andreas, ‘Pensées sur la nécessité d'une Ecole Vétérinaire, avec des projets sur la maniere de l’établir’, Histoire de l'Academie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres, Année MDCCLXVIII, Berlin: Haude et Spener, 1770, pp. 4269, 49, 59.

52 Cothenius, op. cit. (51), p. 52.

53 See records for property owner Victor Sellé: November 1789 and 1 January 1790, AN F/10/97. Cases that bridged two calendar years were often recorded twice.

54 Chaussart, Le moniteur universel, 9 February 1790, p. 32.

55 Pierre Flandrin, ‘Description Pathologique et anatomique d'un sarcocèle monstrueux dans un cheval’, Journal de médecine, chirurgie, pharmacie, &c., April 1789, pp. 71–89.

56 Ritvo, Harriet, The Platypus and the Mermaid and Other Figments of the Classifying Imagination, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.

57 Bredin, Louis, ‘Description d'une production monstrueuse’, Journal encyclopédique (June 1773) 4(2), pp. 333336, 336.

58 [François] Rozier (ed.), Cour complet d'agriculture: Théorique, pratique, économique, et de médecine rurale et vétérinaire, vol. 6, Paris: Rue et Hôtel Serpente, 1785, p. 106.

59 A jumart is a hybrid species from the combination of a mare and a bull, a jack and a cow, or a bull and a jennet. The question whether or not it existed was highly controversial, with many well-established scholars of the Enlightenment disagreeing. Inventoire de la collection de l'Ecole nationale vétérinaire, op. cit. (19), item 1155. Hartmann, Johann Georg, Traité des haras avec un traité de mulets, trans. Huzard, Jean-Baptiste, 2nd edn, Paris: Théophile Barrois, 1788, pp. 289292; [Johann] Hartmann, Georg, Anleitung zur Verbesserung der Pferdezucht ganzer Länder und einzeler Privatwirthe, Tübingen: Johann Georg Cotta, 1786.

60 Erxleben, op. cit. (44), p. 26.

61 Richard, Etat des travaux de la section de Zoologie, 26 messidor an II, AN F/17/1237.

62 Inventoire de la collection de l'Ecole nationale vétérinaire, op. cit. (19), items 2035–2414.

63 Railliet and Moulé, op. cit. (10), p. 42.

64 Procès-verbaux de Commission temporaire des arts, vol. 1, pub. and annotated by Louis Tuetey, Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1912, p. xxxv.

65 Honoré Fragonard, ‘Rapport: L’École Vétérinaire Nationale’, 25 floréal an II, Archives Départementales de Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 6AZ 274.

66 Félix Vicq d'Azyr and Honoré Fragonard, ‘Rapport: Cabinet d'Anatomie de l'Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort’, 5 prairial an II, AN F/17/1237.

67 Chaussart, op. cit. (54); Le point du jour, 17 August 1790, pp. 129–134; Philippe-Etienne Lafosse, Mémoire sur l'Ecole royale vétérinaire d'Alfort: Raisons de l'inutilité de cet etablissement, & moyens de le remplacer avec beaucoup d’économie pour l'Etat, 1789; Journal des décrets de l'Assemblée Nationale, pour les habitans des campagnes, 15 August 1790, pp. 23–24; Journal des Etats généraux, convoqués par Louis XVI, le 27 avril 1789, vol. 14, pp. 466467; de Saint-Pierre, Jacques-Bernardin, Mémoire sur la nécessité de joindre une ménagerie au jardin des plantes de Paris, Paris, 1792.

68 Dietz, Bettina and Nutz, Thomas, ‘Collections curieuses: the aesthetics of curiosity and elite lifestyle in eighteenth-century Paris’, Eighteenth-Century Life (2005) 29, pp. 4475, 46.

69 Dietz and Nutz, op. cit. (68).

70 For example, in June 1746, the room where the Académie des sciences held its meetings was appraised to hold almost eighty cabinets with rotting wood turning to worm food. The natural history specimens, mostly stones and minerals, were to be subsumed under the Cabinet d'histoire naturelle de sa majesté, to be properly cared for and studied. Buffon, ‘Etat des Cabinets et Tables’, 25 April 1748, Item 492, AN AJ/15/512.

71 Chabert to Commission d'Agriculture, 6 brumaire an III, AN F/10/238.

72 On the importance of esprit de vin see Baumé, op. cit. (2), pp. 325–327; Cullen, Louis M., The Brandy Trade under the Ancien Régime: Regional Specialisation in the Charente, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 257259; Spary, Emma C., Eating Enlightenment: Food and the Sciences in Paris, 1670–1760, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.

73 Kafka, Ben, The Demon of Writing: The Powers and Failures of Paperwork, New York: Zone Books, 2012.

74 Commission d'agriculture to Commission du commerce, 6 brumaire an III, AN F/10/238; Commission to Philibert Chabert, 19 frimaire an III, AN F/10/238.

75 Augustin Thouret to Commission d'instruction publique, 27 floréal an III, AN F/17/2280; Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (Muséum nationale d'histoire naturelle) to Commission d'agriculture, 15 fructidor an III, AN F/10/238.

76 Nota, 8 pluviôse an III, AN F/17/2281. Dossier ‘Animaux du Raincy 1794’ and ‘Notes relatives a l’établissement d'une menagerie’ AN AJ/15/844. The Commission temporaire's meeting descriptions contain repeated reference to the museum's acquisition of specimens, base materials, books and living creatures from individuals’ homes and larger collections. In Procès-verbaux, op. cit. (64).

77 Lamarck and Jussieu, op. cit. (75). On the significance of familial metaphors in the French Revolution see Hunt, Lynn, The Family Romance of the French Revolution, Oxon: Routledge, 1992; Desan, Suzanne, The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004; Heuer, Jennifer Ngaire, The Family and the Nation: Gender and Citizenship in Revolutionary France, 1789–1830, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.

78 Lamarck and Jussieu, op. cit. (75).

79 Bourgelat, op. cit. (3).

80 Bourgelat, op. cit. (50), p. 284.

81 [Philibert] Chabert, Traité de la gale et des dartres des animaux, Paris: Imprimerie royale, 1787, p. 13; Chabert, Extrait d'un mémoire sur la morve, inseré dans le volume de la Société royale de médecine, pour l'année 1779’, Observations et memoires sur la physique, sur l'histoire naturelle et sur les arts (1783) 23, pp. 208217, 208.

82 The only reference that I have located describing the space as a veterinary cabinet is Sanders's travelogue, op. cit. (16). All other sources move between ‘anatomy’ and ‘natural history’.

83 Gustaf Lenboms's lecture notes (c.1763), D 1356b, fol. 502, Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek.

84 The shift by which multiple administrators come to describe Alfort's cabinet through the qualifier of ‘natural history’ hit its peak in 1796, when the museum was finally in the process of acquiring the objects to which they'd held claim for more than a year. See Ministère de l’intérieur to Ministère de la guerre, 21 pluviose an IV; Milet-Mureau to Ministère de l’intérieur, 3 ventôse an IV; Chabert to Ministère de l’intérieur, 2 germinal an IV; Petiet to Ministère de l’intérieur, 27 germinal an IV; Petiet to Ministère de l’intérieur, 13 floréal an IV; Ministère de l’intérieur to Dubois, 15 floréal an IV; Ministère de l’intérieur to Ministère de la guerre, 19 floréal an IV; Ministère de l’intérieur to Chabert, 3 prairial an IV. From AN F/10/1203.

85 Responding to Richard Burkhardt, Jessica Riskin has argued that this systematic approach was conflated with the charlatanism of empiricism in the Ancien Régime. She argues that the ‘spirit of system’ was an epithet under the monarchial government. Burkhardt, Richard W., The Spirit of the System: Lamarck and Evolutionary Biology, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977; Riskin, Jessica, Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002.

86 Augustin Thouret to Pleichard, 10 prairial an III, AN F/17/2281; Extrait du Registre des délibérations de la Commission temporaire des arts, 25 Germinal an III, fol. 36, Carton 123, AN AF/II/17.

87 [Hilaire-François] Gilbert and [Jean-Baptiste] Huzard, ‘Rapport fait au Comité d’Agriculture et des Arts de la Convention Nationale, le 28 Nivose an III’, in [Philibert] Chabert, [Pierre] Flandrin and [Jean-Baptiste] Huzard, Instructions et observations sur les maladies des animaux domestiques, Paris: Librairie vétérinaire de M.R. Huzard, 1795, pp. 765, 21. Reprinted in full in Instructions et observations sur les maladies des animaux domestiques, 2nd edn., vol. 6, Paris, 1806, pp. 2122. The veracity of such a claim seems extremely unlikely. The school's competitive exams did come under attack during the French Revolution, but having read dozens of exam descriptions for both Lyon and Alfort, I have found no evidence to suggest that detailed anatomical descriptions of foreign species were a deciding factor in certification.

88 Dufot, ‘Lettre’, in Journal de médecine, chirurgie, pharmacie, &c., November 1767, pp. 507–511, 509, reprinted in Mercure de France, January 1769, p. 157. Diderot, Denis, ‘Supplément du voyage de Bougainville, ou dialogue entre A et B’, in Oeuvres complètes de Diderot, vol. 2, Paris: Garner frères, 1875, pp. 193250, 236–237.

89 Jean-Baptiste-Jacques Thillaye to Commissaires pour l'organisation de l'Ecole de santé, 26 ventôse an III, AN F/17/2811.

90 Commission d'agriculture to Commission temporaire, 28 ventôse an III, AN F/10/238.

91 Philibert Chabert to Muséum nationale d'histoire naturelle, 26 messidor an II, transcribed in Lamarck and Jussieu, op. cit. (75).

92 Commission d'agriculture to Muséum nationale d'histoire naturelle, 5 jour complémentaire an III, AN F/10/238.

93 Jussieu and Geoffrey to Ministère de l’intérieur, 6 ventôse an IV, AN F/10/1203.

94 Borschberg, Peter, ‘The Euro-Asian trade in bezoar stones (approx. 1500 to 1700)’, in North, Michael (ed.), Artistic and Cultural Exchanges between Europe and Asia, 1400–1900: Rethinking Markets, Workshops and Collections, Burlington: Ashgate, 2010, pp. 29–4; Chabert, Flandrin and Huzard, Instructions et observations, op. cit. (87), pp. 79–98; Egagropiles’, in Encyclopédie méthodique: Agriculture, vol. 4, Paris: H. Agasse, 1796, pp. 161166; Sigaut, François, ‘Combattre les préjugés sur l'empoisonnement du bétail à la fin du XVIIIe siècle’, Histoire & sociétés rurales (2003) 19, pp. 241251.

95 Gilbert and Huzard, op. cit. (87), p. 32.

96 Gilbert and Huzard, op. cit. (87), p. 33.

97 van der Willigen, Adriaan, Parijs in den Aanvang van de Negentiende Eeuw, 3 vols., Haarlem: A. Loosjes, 1814, vol. 3, pp. 129130.

98 de Neufchâteau, François, ‘Discours prononcé par le Ministre de l'Intérieur à l'Ecole vétérinaire d'Alfort, le 10 Germinal an 7’, in Recueil des lettres circulaires, instructions, programmes, discours, et autres actes publics, 20 vols., Paris: Imprimerie de la république, an VII, vol. 2, pp. 312317.

99 On animals and the monarchy see also Sahlins, Peter, 1668: The Year of the Animal in France, New York: Zone Books, 2017.

This essay was awarded the Singer Prize by the British Society for the History of Science for 2016.

I would like to thank the members of the Singer Prize selection committee and BJHS reviewers and staff for their helpful feedback in developing the article. This paper has benefited from thoughtful comments from my adviser, Janet Browne, and conference participants at the History of Education Society (2015) and the Göttingen Summer School organized by Dominik Hünniger (2016). Dani Inkpen, Yvan Prkachin, Avi Kelman and Carol De Rose have proven to be especially generous and rigorous readers. I am indebted to Lucas Mueller and Jolien de Vuyst for discussions about the nuances of German and Dutch. Research for this project was supported by SSHRC (Canada) and Chateaubriand (France).

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