Théophraste Renaudot (1586 – 25 October 1653) was a French physician, philanthropist, and journalist. Mark Tungate has termed him the "first French journalist" and the "inventor of the personal ad".
Born in Loudun, Renaudot received a doctorate of medicine from the University of Montpellier in 1606. He returned to Loudon where he met Cardinal Richelieu and Père Joseph. In the 1610s, Richelieu became more powerful and Renaudot followed him to Paris. Renaudot, born a Protestant, converted to Catholicism. He became the physician of Louis XIII of France.
In 1630, Renaudot opened the bureau d'adresse et de rencontre, where prospective employers and employees could find each other. With the support of Richelieu, he established the first weekly newspaper in France, La Gazette, in 1631. Starting in 1633, he organized weekly public conferences on subjects of interest and published the proceedings; the conferences were discontinued in 1642, when Richelieu died. About 240 conference proceedings were translated into English and published in London in 1664 and 1665.
Renaudot opened the mont-de-piété, the first pawnshop in Paris, in 1637. Appointed "General Overseer of the Poor" by Richelieu, he initiated a system of free medical consultations for the poor (1640). In 1642 he published a self-diagnostic handbook, the first treatise on diagnosis in France.
After the deaths of his benefactors, Richelieu and Louis XIII, Renaudot lost his permission to practice medicine in Paris, due to the opposition of Guy Patin and other academic physicians. Cardinal Mazarin made Renaudot historiographer to the new king, Louis XIV (Latin: Historiographus Regius) in 1646.
Renaudot died in Paris, in 1653.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article Théophraste Renaudot.|
Howard M. Solomon, Public Welfare, science, and propaganda in seventeenth-century France; the innovations of Théophraste Renaudot (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972)