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KÖLLIKER, Albert von (1817–1905)

Mikroskopische Anatomie oder Gewebelehre des Menschen. Zweiter Band: Specielle Gewebelehre. Erste & zweite Hälfte.
Leipzig, Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1850–1854.

First edition of the first formal textbook on histology, much rarer than Kölliker’s Handbuch der Gewebelehre des Menschen (1852), which Garrison-Morton 546 calls the first textbook of histology. All published. The first volume, projected as a general treatment, was never issued. A genius, possessing remarkable powers of observation, Kölliker made enormous strides in the understanding of human and animal tissue. He was the first to apply Schwann’s cell doctrine to embryology and to isolate smooth muscle fiber. He “knew more by direct personal observation of the miscroscopic structure of animals than anyone else who ever lived.” (Charles Sedgwick Minot in Garrison’s An Introduction to the History of Medicine, 4th ed. p. 462). Kölliker is regarded as the founder of systematic histology. “It may indeed be said that there is no fragment of the body of man and of the higher animals on which he did not leave his mark, and in more places than one his mark was a mark of fundamental importance.” (Sir Michael Foster in Encyclopaedia Britanica, 11th ed.) – Kölliker wrote the first systematic treatise on histology and likewise the first on comparative embryology. He was the first to state that hereditary characters are transmitted by the cell nucleus. He showed that nerve-fibres are secondary to nerve-cells, and that at least some of them are processes of nerve-cells. He thus anticipated the neuron theory, which was definitely formulated in 1891 by Waldeyer (Singer & Underwood).

Collation: Zweiter Band. Erste Hälfte (1850): pp x, (2), 554, (2). With 4 plates (partly coloured by hand) and 168 wood engraved figures in the text, (1-13A, 13B-167); Zweite Hälfte: pp xii, 784. With 270 wood engraved figures in the text, (168-438).

Binding: Bound in two volumes. Contemporary half calf, gilt decorated spine with blue spine label, marbled boards and edges.

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