Marie Françoise Bernard

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Marie Françoise "Fanny" Bernard
Marie Françoise Martin
Known forAnti-vivisection campaigner
Spouse(s)Claude Bernard
ChildrenTwo daughters, Jeanne-Henriette and Marie-Claude, and a son who died in infancy

Marie Françoise "Fanny" Bernard (née Martin) (16 September 1819 – 9 October 1901)[1] was known for having set up an anti-vivisection society as a result of opposing Claude Bernard's research methods.


A painting by Léon Augustin L'hermitte of Claude Barnard (center) in his laboratory in the College de France, Paris.

The couple married in Wednesday, 7 May 1845 (or 1843), and it was Marie Francoise's dowry from her father, a physician, that allowed Claude Bernard to pursue his studies under François Magendie at the Collège de France in Paris.[2] The couple had three children—Jeanne-Henriette, Marie-Claude, and a son who died in infancy [3].

Marie Françoise became opposed to the research methods of Claude Bernard. Magendie, Claude Bernard and his fellow physiologists—men such as Charles Richet in France and Michael Foster in England—were strongly criticized for the vivisection they carried out on animals, particularly dogs. Anti-vivisectionists infiltrated Magendie's lectures in Paris, where he was dissecting dogs without anaesthetic, allegedly shouting "Tais-toi, pauvre bête!" ("Shut up, you poor beast!") while he worked on them.[4]

She separated from him in 1870 [5], despite being a Roman Catholic, and set up an anti-vivisection society.[6].

Arthur de Bretagne[edit]

Claude Bernard wrote a play called Arthur de Bretagne, which was published after his death and was alleged by Marie Françoise and her daughters to contain a preface that purported to defame them. They are thought to have sued to have the copies of the play destroyed, however there was a radio production of it in 1936 and a second edition appeared in 1943.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^, p.32
  2. ^ Wolf, Stewart. "Introduction to the Transaction Edition," in Bernard, Claude. Experimental Medicine. Transaction Publishers, 1999, p. vii.
  3. ^ "Claude, Bernard," in Oakes, Elizabeth. Encyclopedia of World Scientists. Volume 1, Infobase Publishing, 2007, p. 57.
  4. ^ Gratzer, Walter. Eurekas and Euphorias: The Oxford Book of Scientific Anecdotes. Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 224.
  5. ^ Rudacille, Deborah The Scalpel and the Butterfly. University of California Press, 2000, p. 19
  6. ^ Rudacille 2000, p. 19
  7. ^ Gross 2009, p. 193.