Vol. 8 (2023)
Periodicals and Health in the 18th Century

Entrer en contact avec sa clientèle: la rubrique médicale du «Journal de Genève» (1787-1791)

Philip Rieder
Université de Genève

Published 2023-07-01


  • popularisation,
  • public health,
  • medical publicity,
  • medical journalism,
  • medical practice

How to Cite

Rieder, P. (2023). Entrer en contact avec sa clientèle: la rubrique médicale du «Journal de Genève» (1787-1791). Diciottesimo Secolo, 8, 43–54. https://doi.org/10.36253/ds-14156


In summer 1787, the physician Louis Odier accepted to write articles for the weekly newspaper, The Journal de Genève, published by a learned society of which he was a member. Writing every week for the first six months and regularly afterwards, he invited his readers to consider the main diseases present at that moment, offering plenty of theoretical information and some practical advice. He used his column to advertise a personal campaign for free inoculations for poor people, but also to promote the consultation of doctors and downplay other healers. The analysis of the contents of his articles reveals how he sought to convince new clients to use his services and that he also used the newspaper to address issues he would have been embarrassed to discuss in private with his patients. The exchanges between the physician-journalist and readers were complex, fuelled by letters written to the newspaper about the medical content. One thing is certain: Louis Odier himself rapidly realised that writing in the newspaper was a successful way of enhancing his practice as a local physician.


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