Army medical statistics: a 19th century mine of information
We use statistics to build up our knowledge about society. This is an age-old idea of what statistics are for. In the words of Jan Ackersdyck, professor of statistics in Utrecht in the mid-19th century, statistics is the knowledge of true facts of great importance which should serve as a basis for measures which affect the welfare of citizens. He already recognised the role that statistics would later officially play: collecting facts as a basis for legislation and policymaking.