Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2013 Issue

Medical Antiquities from James Tait Goodrich Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts


Medical antiquities and books.

This month we have our first catalogue from James Tait Goodrich Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts. Its title is Catalogue S-74 MMXIII A.D., or Fine Collection of Historical Artifacts, Medical Antiquities and Books. This catalogue is both broad and highly specific. The great majority of the items are books and pamphlets, though related items completely outside the world of works on paper can be found. For example, there are some Roman coins, depicting people or symbols of medicine of the day, and ancient figurines celebrating childbirth to be found. Within the works on paper, science and medicine is the focus, but it is primarily medicine, and within medicine, a notable concentration within the field of neurology and diseases affecting the brain. While some works date as late as the 20th century, the focus is older, often much older, to times when medicine had not yet advanced far beyond what was known by the Greeks and Romans several millennia earlier. We have come a long way. This catalogue is designed for those with an interest in the steps that took us on that journey. These are a few examples.

Charles Bell is noted for his medical research, particularly in the field of neurology, but anatomy as well. He was active during the first four decades of the 19th century. He is credited with distinguishing between sensory and motor nerves, and studied illnesses of the nervous system. It is his name that was used to describe a condition where facial nerves become paralyzed – Bell's Palsy. Item 26 is a first American edition (1833) of a group of his essays that covers most of his observations on the nervous system, including the discovery of Bell's Palsy: The Nervous System of the Human Body. Priced at $795.

Item 27 is a broader based, illustrated work by Charles Bell: Illustrations of the Great Operations of Surgery, Trepan, Hernia, Amputation, Aneurism, and Lithotomy, published in 1821. This book has been described as “one of the most remarkable illustrated books in the history of surgery,” and “one of the most dramatically and beautifully illustrated works in the entire literature of surgery.” It includes 20 surgical plates, 17 of which are hand colored. The plates were made by Thomas Landseer from drawings Bell had made of operations over the preceding 20 years. $5,500.

Sigmund Freud is known for treatment of psychological ailments, treatment noted more for the use of words than knives. However, his interest in treatment of mental issues arose from his study of the physical parts, the neurological system and the brain. Here we have a look at Freud before he turned entirely to psychoanalysis. Item 121 is Die Infantile Cerebrallahmung, published in 1897, the first and only edition (it was not translated to English until 1968). It provides what is described as “an excellent description of the various forms of cerebral palsy, with precise classification of the different spastic symptoms.” $2,500.

This next work is atypical of this catalogue as it concerns plants, not people: The Anatomy of Plants. With an Idea of a Philosophical History of Plants. Author Nehemiah Grew was an early devotee of the microscope, which he used to examine his philosophical plants. He did study some human anatomy as well. Grew used his microscope to find internal organs in plants, something that most in his generation did not believe plants possessed. He then compared these with the function of organs in animals. As a result, Grew is looked on as one of the pioneers in the field of comparative anatomy, a term which Goodrich informs us is one he introduced. Offered is the uncommon large paper copy of Grew's work. Item 138. $2,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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