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Friday, November 14, 2003

Antiquarian Books

I was recently able to view some wonderful and rare antiquarian books at the rare book room of the University of Iowa Medical Library. This is the front cover and two pictures from Ulyssis Aldrovandi's 1599 "The Histroy of Monsters". Aldrovandi (1522-1605) was a first class scholar of the reniassance and collector of curiosities. He published 13 volumes based on his collections, reading, and information he picked up from others. I think this copy was from 1642 and shows mr. fancy long ears (fanesius auritus) and mr. four eyes (quatuor oculis).

The front cover says in part:

Ulyssis Aldrovandi
Native (patrician) of Bologna (Bononeinsis)

Monstorum Historia (The History of Monsters)

with Paralipomenis's(?) History of all animals

Bartholomeus Ambrosinus
(and then some stuff about this guy I think like his titles, he may have been Aldorvandi's successor in Bologna who edited this volume)

To the fair (sereniss) and unconquerable (invictum)
Ferdinand II
Great and manly(?) leader

With an exceedingly large index (I love that part)

This is the only illustration in the first edition 1628 book "An anatomical disquisition concerning the motion of the heart and blood" by William Harvey (1578-1627). In this little 68 page book Harvey was the first to publish the idea of the circulation of the blood and so this book is sometimes said to be the most important book in the history of medicine. Harvey's book is very rare and exceedingly valuable since it was printed on bad paper.

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