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BERTEREAU, Martine de B. de B.

(1601? – 1640)

(Born: c1601; Died: 1640) French woman mineralogist.

Martine de Bertereau, an expert dowser, and her husband Jean de Chastelet, Baron de Beausoleil et d'Auffenbach, an expert in mineralogy and mining, made a name for themselves in 17th century Europe. Using a variety of hazel branches and metal rods, Martine reportedly located rich mineral and water deposits. But when the infamous French Cardinal Richelieu caught wind of exactly how Martine was prospecting, he pitched the couple into prison, along with two of their kids.

Biographical references: ABF: I 1052,243, 245-248. Feller, Biographie Universelle, 1851. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer): 5, cols. 696-7. WBI.

La Restitution de Pluton, 1640

1. French, 1640.
La | Restitvtion | De Pluton. | A Monseignevr | L'Eminentissime | Cardinal Dvc | De Richelieu. | Des Mines & Minieres de France, cachées & | detenuës jusques à present au ventre de la | terre, pare le moyen desgueiles les Finances | de la Majesté seront beaucoup plus grandes | que celles de tous les Prince Chrestiens, & | ses sujets plus heureux de tous les Peuples. | Ensemble la raison pourquoy les dites Mines & Minieres | ont esté iusques à present presque inutiles & sans pro- | fit à la souueraineté & Maiesté Royale. | Par Martine de Bertereav, Dame | & Barone de Beausoleil & d'Auffembach. | [rule] | A Paris, | Chez Herve' dv Mesnil, ruë S. Iacques, à la | Samaritaine. | [rule] | M. DC. XXXX. | Avec Privilege Dv Roi.

8°: a8 A-L8; 96l.; [16], [1]-171, [5] p., 7 woodcuts, and an engraved coat of arms. Pages [103]-[109] contain astrological charts. Cardinal Richelieu's coat of arms on plate before text. Head pieces, initials. Page size: 165 x 95 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs/=a1], Title page, verso privilegio.; [10 pgs/=a2r-a6v], Dedication to Cardinal Richeliev.; [2 pgs/=a7], "...Sonnet."-signed De Berterau.; [1 pg/=a8r], Blank.; [1 pg/=a8v], Richeliev's Coat-of-Arms.; [1]-171 (=A1-L6r), Text.; [4 pgs/=L6v-L8r], "Privilege | du Roy."; [1 pg/=L8v], Blank.

Very rare. Work on mining and mineralogy authored by the only documented woman mineralogist of her time. She married Jean Du Chatelet, Baron Beausoleil, inspector of mines of the German empire and together they visited the mines of South America, Hungary and Germany. When Beausoliel secured the authorization to survey the whole of the French territory for the discovery of mines and minerals, his wife accompanied him in his travels throughout France. This book is the outcome of their work. Written in the form of an appeal to Cardinal Richelieu to open and operate the French mines, it contains a long list of these mines, discusses all minerals found, speaks of different sciences to be studied by a mining expert. Ultimately, the author was imprisoned by order of Richelieu, because of suspicion of witchcraft in the use of divining rods. She died in prison.

French, 1751: This work was reprinted in A.A. Barba's Metallurgie, ou, l'Art de tirer et de purifier les Métaux, Paris, 1751, 2, 56-151 [which see entry under Barba].

Bibliographical references: BL [523.b.26.(5.)]. Brunet: 1, 816. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 53. Larousse: 2, 448. NUC: 50, 337 [NB 0375841]. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 1, 108. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 190.