The D.M.S.C. was founded in London in 1973, with the blessing of the late Dr. K.F. Meyer, World Health Organization authority on plague, and editor of an incomplete pioneering work, Disinfected Mail, published in Kansas in 1962.

It was Dr. Meyer’s wish that research into the topic should continue, which led to the publication by D.M.S.C. of authoritative articles and monographs on the practice of disinfection and quarantine in all parts of the world. Many countries, like Portugal, Spain, Egypt, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand had not even been considered in his seminal work.

Since then, many specialists, including medical and social historians as well as postal history collectors, have been researching and publishing accounts of quarantine and the treatment of mail, from the 15th Century to date, in our journal, Pratique.

Almost every country in the world has been the topic of one or more articles; and for many of these, including Russia, Egypt, Gibraltar, Hawaii, New York, New Orleans, Australia, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Hannover, Mecklenburg and Serbia; the result has been the equivalent of a monograph. Pratique is now published two or three times a year. Each annual volume comprises around 100 pages, almost all original research. It has won several awards at International exhibitions.

The scope of the journal has been steadily extended to cover other related topics, including health passports, bills of health and ships’ documents of pratique, and public health proclamations restricting or restoring the freedom of trade with ports or regions considered to be a threat to public health.

We also occasionally cover maps, prints, post cards or descriptions of lazarettos ; and vaccination ephemera, including the rare Anti-compulsory Vaccination envelopes and postcards. More recently there have been short articles on measures to treat mail against anthrax and other diseases disseminated by terrorist organizations.

We have members in more than 25 countries, and arrange social get-togethers at an International Exhibition when there is a demand. Thanks to Study Circle successes, the disinfection of mail is recognized as a major topic within Postal History, and at least ten international F.I.P.Gold Medals have been won by displays in this class. Our topic is increasingly being acclaimed as important Social History also.

Denis Vandervelde