24 June 2009
LINNAEUS, Carolus. Materia Medica, Liber I. de Plantis. Stockholm: Laurentius Salvius, 1749.
8o (189 x 120 mm). Engraved folding frontispiece and one folding plate (small tear repaired). (Some minor dampstaining.) Contemporary sheep (extremities just touched). Provenance: Carl Magnus Blom (1737-1815), student of Linnaeus in Uppsala 1755-1763 (signature dated Upsal 1758 on front free endpaper, initials at the foot of the title-page, and annotations throughout); Leuwnstrom(?) (19th century signature front free endpaper).
FIRST EDITION, heavily annotated throughout in Latin and occasionally in Swedish by one of Linnaeus's students, Carl Magnus Blom, who has marked each entry in the pharmacopoeia with the current classificiation number from Linnaeus's Systema Naturae, which was in its tenth edtion by 1758. He has added the new Linnaeun species name and numerous other scientific and often lengthy notes. Linnaeus was appointed professor of practical medicine at the University of Uppsala in 1741 "as a teacher and supervisor Linnaeus was incomparable. Students flocked to his lectures, which were characterized by humor and the presentation of unusual ideas, and which included the whole of botany and natural history... Linnaeus took an unselfish and devoted interest in his more mature students, supporting them and encouraging them to obtain their doctorate, but he usually wrote their theses himself" (DSB). There were 186 academic dissertations defended by students of Linnaeus during the period 1743-1776. Blom defended his Lignum Quassiae on May 28 1763: an account of Surinam quassia wood (Quassia amara L.) of the Simaroubaceae, whose bitter root was used medicinally to treat numerous illnesses, including malaria, and which is the last entry in the Materia..., at number 535.
Although two further volumes of Materia Medica (one of animals and one of minerals) these were probably compiled by J.C.D. Schrebero from Linnaeus's dissertations. EXCEPTIONALLY RARE: according to American Book Prices Current only one other copy has appeared at auction in the last 30 years, the Plesch copy in 1975. Soulsby 442; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 4751; Wellcome II. p.526. A FINE ASSOCIATION COPY.
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