Alexander Russell, The natural history of Aleppo, London, printed for A Millar, 1756, Rare Books collection, State Library Victoria
Scottish brothers Patrick and Alexander Russell lived in Aleppo, in modern-day Syria, in the 1700s. As physicians specialising in infectious diseases such as smallpox and the plague, they had rare access to houses and harems. Their publications introduced European readers to Arabic medical practices such as vaccination – unknown in the West at the time – and provided insight into Ottoman customs, clothing, food and lifestyle.
This work is displayed in the 'Exploring the world' section of the World of the book exhibition.