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De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem

Andreas Vesalius, 1555

Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), a name known to medical students and historians of science alike, published De humani corporis fabrica libri septem at age 28. Vesalius took care to ensure everything — paper, type, illustration, and production — was of the highest quality, and as a result his work was so accurate that anatomists used it for 300 years after publication. This revolutionary textbook is famous for full-scale skeletons, and for accurately presenting for the first time details of organs, blood vessels, and nerves designed and placed so as to clarify text. This second edition is more lavish than the first, with the unclothed man in the woodcut title page of the first edition now appearing clothed. The innovative woodblocks, designed by Jan Stephan Kalkar with landscape background had been preserved in the University of Munich but were destroyed in WWII.


Modern vellum binding, too tight, has split at front joint and then repaired with vellum inserted between board and spine. Vellum has pulled free of glue and spine is again loose at front joint. Recommendation: stitch vellum closed at split.

Adopted for $400 on January 16, 2014 by the Bay Area History of Medicine Society.