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Aldrovandi’s Natural History of Monsters - The First Treatise on Teratology

Aldrovandi, Ulisse (1522-1605); Ambrosini, Bartolomeo (1588-1657)
Monstrorum historia

Bologna: Typis Nicolai Tebaldini, 1642


Large Folio: 35 x 23.5 cm. Two volumes in one: I. †4 (including engraved t.p.), A-Z6, Aa-Zz6, Aaa-Ppp6, Qqq8, Rrr6, Sss8; II. A-O6 (final signature O has 5 leaves, as in all copies examined. See note at end of description.)

Aldrovandi’s “Monstrorum historia” was the first treatise on teratology, the study of deformities, monstrosities, and prodigies. The subjects are drawn from across the spectrum of the natural world, from animals and plants to minerals and monstra (portents such as comets and atmospheric phenomena). Some of the specimens were physically kept in Aldrovandi’s renowned museum and gardens in Bologna, others were represented in his collections by paintings, engravings, and written accounts.


Garrison-Morton 534.53; Krivatsy 187; Wellcome I, 172; Goldschmid 43; Alden and Landis 642/2; Nissen, ZBI 74.R. As regards the 5-leaf final signature O in the “Paralipomena”, I have left the quire as “O6” in my collation since it is unclear if there was a cancelland leaf O5, or if final O6 was a blank. Either way, the final quire is consistent with all copies examined.

''The first attempt to show the connection between psychology and physiology'' (Garrison-Morton)

EUGENICS. Huarte y Navarro, Juan, (1529-1588); Carew, Richard (1555-1620), translator
Examen de ingenios. The examination of mens vvits. In whicch [sic], by discouering the varietie of natures, is shewed for what profession each one is apt, and how far he shall profit therein. By John Huarte. Translated out of the Spanish tongue by M. Camillo Camilli. Englished out of his Italian, by R.C. Esquire

London: Printed by Adam Islip, for C. Hunt of Excester, 1594


Quarto: 19 x 14 cm. [16], 333, [3] pp. A-Y8

“To Distinguish and discern these natural difference’s of man’s wit, and to apply to each by art that science wherein he may profit, is the intention of this my work.”

“This sentence concisely summarizes the ultimate purpose of one of the most successful and influential Spanish scientific books published in the early modern period, one with long-lasting influence upon the European intellectual world: the ‘Examen de Los Ingenios para Las Ciencias’ (1575), by the Spanish physician and philosopher Juan Huarte de San Juan (1529-1588)… Huarte is now hailed as the precursor of several branches of pedagogy and psychology, including differential pedagogy and differential psychology, and their practical applications, professional orientation, and selection.


STC (2nd ed.), 13892; Garrison-Morton 4964 (1575 Spanish edition); Durling 2498. Hunter & Macalpine, p. 46. Thorndike VI, pp. 413-14

Johnson’s Celebrated Edition of Gerard’s Herbal Describing Numerous American Plants

Gerard, John (1545-1612)
The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes. Gathered by John Gerarde of London Master in Chirvrgerie. Very much Enlarged and Amended by Thomas Johnson Citizen and Apothecarye of London.

London: A. Islip, Joice Norton, and R. Whitaker, 1633


Folio: 34.5 x 22.5 cm. ¶8, ¶¶-¶¶¶6, A-B8, C-Z6, Aa-Zz6, Aaa-Zzz6, Aaaa-Zzzz6, Aaaaa-Zzzzz6, Aaaaaa-Vvvvvv6, Xxxxxx4, Yyyyyy-Zzzzzz6, Aaaaaaa-Bbbbbbb6. (lacking the first and final blank leaves.)

"This is the first edition enlarged and edited by Thomas Johnson (1595-1644) who corrected many of Gerard’s more gullible errors, and improved the accuracy of the illustrations by using Plantin’s woodcuts." (Hunt)

John Gerard is to this day one of the best known of English herbalists. In 1586 the Royal College of Physicians established a garden of physic and appointed Gerard its curator.


STC 11751; Hunt 223; Nissen 698; Graesse Vol. III, p. 56; Henrey 155.


HOMEOPATHY. MEDICINE. Somolinos, Cesáreo Martín; Pizá Rosselló, Jaime
La Salud. Manual de homeopatia para uso de las familias.

Madrid: Se vende en la Farmacia Homeopática…. De la Señora Viuda del doctor Somolinos Real Academia Nacional de Medicina, 1873


Octavo: 13 x 8 cm. [i-v], vi-viii, 9-328 p.

A fascinating witness to the diffusion and implementation of Hahnemann's theories. Inside the front board there is a carrier for 23 glass vials. A separate, related box (also issued by the Somolinos pharmacy) with a wooden carrier for 45 additional vials is included. Almost all of the small glass vials still contain homeopathic substances.


See Alfonso Galán, "Cesáreo Martín Somolinos: homeopathic pharmacist: his activities in the Hahnemann Society of Madrid", in Boletin de la Sociedad Espanola de Historia de la Farmacia 39 (154-155)

Kircher Revived: The Great Plague of 1740

Kircher, Athanasius (1602-1680)
Scrutinium Pestis Physico-Medicum publico commodo recusum. dum per reverend. patrem Urbanum Madcho ... in ejusdem Universitatis aula academica, de re litteraria philosophica benemeriti, supremâ philosophiae laureâ donarentur

Graz: Typis Haeredum Widmanstadii, 1740


Octavo: 15.5 x 9.5 cm. 240 p. Collation: )(6, A-P8, Q2

Originally published in 1658, 7 years before Hooke's "Micrographia" appeared in print, Kircher's work on the plague and its causes was a landmark work on the subject. In 1740, in response to the Great Plague that was ravaging Eastern Europe, the Jesuit faculty at the University of Graz republished the work "for the public good." The plague began in 1738 and killed at least 50,000 people in areas of (modern-day) Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, and Austria.


For the first edition, see: Brunet III, 668; Caillet II, 365.5792; Clendening 7.8; De Backer I, 426.16; VII, 286.13; Garrison /Morton 589.5118; Grassse IV, 22; Sommervogel IV, 1057-58.16

The Most Influential 17th c. Text on Monsters and Deformities

Liceti, Fortunio (1577-1657)
De Monstrorum Natura, Caussis, et differentiis Libri duo. Aeneis iconibus ornate et aucti.

Padua: Apud Paulum Frambottum, 1634


Quarto: 20.5 x 15.2 cm. [16], 262, [26] pp. π4, †4, A-Z4, Aa-Nn4

“One of the earliest classifications of deformities, Liceti’s work was still under review in works on malformation in the 19th century. The work includes both real and imaginary cases and accurate descriptions of cases observed in the years following the first edition.”(Garrison-Morton)

“The composite beasts and monsters described in the text draw from a long tradition of written accounts of monsters and prodigies.


Krivatsky 6958; Wellcome 3786; Garrison and Morton 534.52 (the 1616 ed.); Caillet II. 498

Astrological Medicine & A Theory of Tides

MEDICINE. ASTROLOGY. PHYSICS. Grisogono, Federico [Federik Grisogono Bartolačić](b. Zadar, Dalmatia, Yugoslavia, 1472; d. Zadar, 2 January 1538)
De modo collegiandi: pronosticandi: & curandi febres: necnon de humana felicitate: ac denique de fluxu & refluxu maris: lucubrationes nuperrime in lucem edite.

Venice: Impressum a Joan. Anto. de Sabbio & fratribus, 1528


Folio: 30 x 21 cm. [56] p. Collation: A-G4

First editions of three works by the Dalmatian physician-scientist Federico Grisogono of Zara, who became professor of mathematics and astrology at Padua in 1499. The works concern: 1. Determining a treatment course for curing fevers with the aid of astrological prognostication. 2. A philosophical treatise on human happiness. 3. An influential theory of tides. The first work includes a full-page iatromathematical instrument, outfitted with three functioning volvelles, for making astrological (and other celestial) observations, medical forecasting, and creating horoscopes.


Edit16 21833; Sander 1946; Thorndike, History of magic, 5:314-316; USTC 834694

Death: The End of All Earthly Things

Sachs, Hans (1494-1576)
Der Todt ein Endt, aller yrdischen ding.

Nürnberg, Georg Merckel, around 1554


Quarto: [24] pp.

A humorous poem by the "Meistersinger" Hans Sachs in which a man dreams that Death, in the form of a skeleton, has come to take him. Frightened and too weak to resist, the man calls upon some helpers: Youth, Beauty, Health, Strength, Bravery, Skill, Medicine, and Wealth. But these fail him. The virtues (Nobility, Honor, etc.) all spurn him; the vices (Audacity, Lust, Violence, Anger, Indolence, etc.


VD16, S-560; Weller 205(2); Keller/Goetze Enr. 190a; BM STC German, p. 77, Pegg, Bibliotheca, 1868; Kuczynski 2348