12 June 2008
BARTHOLINUS, Thomas, editor (1616-1680). Acta medica & philosophica hafneinsia. Copenhagen: Peter Haubold, 1673-1680.
5 volumes bound in 3, 4o (192 x 150 mm). Title pages printed in red and black. 59 engraved plates, 2 folding, woodcuts in text. (Some browning and foxing throughout.) Varying contemporary calf (rebacked preserving original spines, a bit rubbed and worn). Provenance: D.A.H. Moses (bookplate in vol. I); Wellcome Library (withdraw inkstamp on title verso); Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland Library (inkstamps on title and dedication); some ink marginalia in the third volume.
RARE FIRST EDITION--A COMPLETE RUN OF ONE OF THE FIRST MEDICAL JOURNALS. While Garrison lists 3 previous journals, 2 of these were published for 1 issue only ("Medical and scientific periodicals of the 17th and 18th centuries," in Bull. Inst. Hist. Med., Johns Hopkins II, 285-343). Only the "Giornale dei letterati" (Parma, 1668-88) predates this.
Among the many significant contributions, including more than 100 by Bartholin himself, are the last published scientific works of Niels Stensen. Stensen returned from Italy to Denmark in 1672 to accept an appointment at the University of Copenhagen under Bartholin. During his stay he carried out a number of experiments, two of which are published in vol. I: Embryo monstro as finis Parisiis dissectus (pp.200-3) and Uterus Leporis proprius, foetum resolventis (pp.203-7). During his stay in Italy, however, Stensen converted to Catholicism and found himself the target of attack from orthodox Protestants. He became more interested in theological debates that scientific research and in 1674 he returned to Florence and in 1685 took Holy Orders.
Copies of this journal contain varying numbers of plates. The Wellcome set contains 61 (versus 59 here), though that set lacks several plates which are here included. The presentation set in the Waller Collection appears to have only 39 plates. Waller 712; Wellcome II, p.108. (3)
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