Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778)
[A set of Linnaeus' Dissertations]. Uppsala, Stockholm, Skara or Strängnäs: 1743-1776. 179 works bound in 9 volumes, small 4° (187 x 141mm). Contemporary half-calf (neatly rebacked to style). [With: stitched copies of four of the Dissertations]. Upsala: 1745-1775. 4 works in 4 volumes, small 4° (207 x 168mm. and smaller). Stitched. Together 183 works only (of 186) in 13 volumes. 48 (of 50) plates only (45 etched or engraved , 9 of these folding, 3 woodcuts, 1 folding), 2 folding letterpress tables, 2 full-page woodcuts. (Lacking two plates [from Soulsby nos. 1627 & 2008] and five dedication leaves, some margins shaved with occasional loss, two leaves loosely inserted from another copy in the volume titled "Medical Botany".)
A VERY RARE NEAR-COMPLETE SET OF LINNAEUS'S DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, SUBMITTED AT UPSALA UNIVERSITY. "As a teacher and supervisor Linnaeus was incomparable... [He] took an unselfish and devoted interest in his more mature students, supportinng and encouraging them. He persuaded an imposing number of them to obtain the doctorate, but he usually wrote their theses himself" (DSB VIII,p.375). "The authorship of the Linnean dissertations poses no problem: the author is Linnaeus, and names published in them must be attributed to him. It is clear, however, that the share the pupil had in preparing the thesis was variable. It might be a simple case of translating the given text into Latin and seeing it through the press (the system had an additional advantage for the praeses that the defendant paid the printing bill)... Krok (1925, p.460-461) lists 37 Linnean pupils of whom he assumes that their role in producing the dissertations was more than that of a mere defendant" (Stafleu. Linnaeus and the Linneans p.144).
The print-run of the individual dissertations was consistently low, they were generally published on or about the date when they were to be defended and they invariably give the name of the defendant (the student) and the name of the praeses (Linnaeus). They were later collected and reprinted in Linnaeus's Amoenitates Academicae when additional information was added and some alterations made: it is therefore now often necessary to consult both the original and the Amoenitates.. version especially in matters concerning nomenclature.
The dissertations are all listed by Soulsby and numbered 1-186 (for the final dissertation Carl Linnaeus the younger acted as praeses in place of his father who was ill). The rarity of sets can be gauged by the fact that even the British Museum set lacks eight and includes others that are incomplete. The present set lacks Soulsby nos. 1439, 2095 and 2124. In addition no.1627 lacks a plate (as with most copies), as does no.2008, it is not clear if the missing dedication leaves were ever published. The bound selection also includes three additional dissertations by Carl Linnaeus the younger (see Stafleu & Cowan 5107, 6620and 13.525). Cf. DSB VIII, pp.374-381; Hulth. Bibliographia Linneaana; Soulsby, A Catalogue of the Works of Linnaeus in the Britiah Museum; Stafleu & Cowan III, pp.82-110.