Lot 54
Litteljohn on Meat - author's copy with additions

Estimate: $600 - $900

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About this Lot

Arthur Rieussett LITTELOHN (1881 -1919).

Meat and its Inspection. A practical guide for meat inspectors, students, and medical officers of health. London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox, 1911. Octavo (8 3/8 x 5 3/8 inches; 213 x 137 mm). Pp. [i-]v-xii; 1-399[-400]; [1-]4. Plates, illustrations, extra-illustrated 4 RPPC images of meat, 9 photographs of meat, 4 folded leaves of original drawings, some inserted sheets of manuscript additions/ corrections to the text, the text and illustrations with numerous corrections, deletions, and additions, all by the author. Original cloth (affected by damp, almost disbound). Provenance: Dr. J. Spencer Low (signature dated 1919 and crossed through); ‘A.R.’ Litteljohn (died 8 Dec. 1919, numerous notes, corrections, additions, etc).  

A 1st edition marked and amended for a never-realised 2nd edition of an important work by one of the unsung heroes of the Allied war effort in WW I - including photos and RPPCs which are (unsurprisingly) quite bizarre. 

With: a number of items relating to the author’s life and career: one portrait photograph and 16 certificates relating to the author’s academic/professional  progress (a lot).

‘A.R.’ Litteljohn worked at the intersection between veterinary science and medicine. The present work on the safe preparation of meat for human consumption was important when it was published in 1911, but became vital during the war: keeping the fighting men as fit and healthy as possible was a basic tenet of military planning. ‘An army marches on its stomach’ was a maxim attributed to bioth Napoleon and Frederick the Great.

‘A.R.’ travelled to the Americas and Australia on tours of inspection of the locations where meat was produced for the British army – the work was very demanding and his health broke at the end of his Australian tour.

The present work, with a 1919 earlier ownership inscription, would seem to have been one of the last things ‘A.R.’ undertook. He was ill when he returned from Australia in July 1919, so the present work was probably one of the few tasks he could still do and still contribute to the field where he made his mark.   

His death in 1919 was marked with an obituary in the British Medical Journal in January 1920: ‘We regret to have to record the death of Arthur Rieusselt Litteljohn, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.P.H., M.R.C.V.S., Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, which took place at nursing home in London on December 8th at the early age of 38. He was a son of the late Dr. Saltern George Litteljohn and was educated at St. Paul's School and at the Royal Veterinary College and St. Mary's Hospital. He was for some time tutor in veterinary medicine at the Royal Veterinary College and made a number of contributions to scientific journals on veterinary matters of special medical interest. He was the author of a well arranged and very useful handbook on meat and its inspection [the present work]. In 1911, when Dr. Litteljohn was appointed to the medical staff of the Local Government Board, he had already made a close study of the many important points at which veterinary and human medicine touch in their bearing on public health. He had added to those a sound knowledge and practical experience of public health administration gained in the course of several municipal appointments which he had held, and with this somewhat rare and valuable equipment he speedily found scope in the Food Department of the Local Government Board for the practical application of his knowledge and fine judgement. The war interrupted progress in the special work in which he was engaged and the Food Department immediately became immersed in the task which it undertook for the War Office, of organizing and controlling arrangements for securing that the army's food supplies were manufactured and prepared under proper sanitary conditions.

With those of his colleague to whom military service was denied, he threw himself with characteristic zeal into this work. Early in 1915 the Local Government Board was asked by the War Office to provide inspectors to undertake supervision of the preparation and packing of the vast quantities of food materials which were being manufactured in North and South America for our armies.  Litteljohn was entrusted with this mission in the United States and Canada, and laboured without a break in this extremely arduous and responsible task from the spring of 1915 till the autumn of 1918, when he returned to England much impaired in health, but with the satisfaction of knowing that his work in America, had contributed in no small degree to the welfare and efficiency of our troops in the field. His correspondence during this time shows how capable he was of dealing with a big problem in a big way In spite of the great distances which he had to cover in the United States and Canada, his arrangements enabled him to maintain effective control in all the packing houses engaged on British contracts. The reputation which he had gained at home for sound knowledge of his subject reliable judgment, and prompt and fair decision[s] was quickly established amongst the American and Canadian packing firms. Many representatives of these firms have since testified their respect and admiration for his gifts in this direction, and the helpful and stimulating spirit which he invariably dealt with the many difficult problems with which they were faced. It is no exaggeration to say that one of the chief factors which went towards securing the extraordinarily uniform and consistently good quality of the food supplied to our troops during the unprecedented war was the high character of Litteljohn work, and the respect which his courage and ability inspired in those with whom he had to deal.

After a brief rest in England, during which his health seemed to improve somewhat, he undertook a mission of a similar kind for the War Office in Australia, where he remained for a few months. He had barely completed his work there when his health broke down and he returned to England in July [1919]… Since then he gradually became worse, but his fortitude never deserted him throughout his long and painful illness. For his services and sacrifices during these strenuous years he was mentioned in War Office dispatches.

“A.R.” Litteljohn was well known generally as a fine athlete and first-class right-hand slow bowler. He played cricket for Middlesex for a number of years, and he and his brother “E.S.”, also a medical man, on many occasions did brilliant things for the county eleven. His loss will be keenly felt by all his numerous friends both in the Ministry of Health, where his ability and high character were fully recognized, and in the world of sport where he was so well known and loved. ‘ (British Medical Journal, obituary 10th January 1920)

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