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PANDER, Heinrich Christian (1794–1865)

Beiträge zur Entwickelungsgeschichte des Hühnchens im Eye.
Würzburg, [H. L. Brönner], 1817.

The Foundation of Modern Embryology. First edition of one of the truly great works in the history of embryology. This is a large paper copy in the original boards. The book is of the greatest rarity as it was printed (by Henrich Ludwig Brönner in Frankfurt am Main) in a very limited edition at the author’s expence. The statement by Garrison-Morton and others that the book was simultaneously published in Latin and German is incorrect. Pander treated the subject first in his doctoral thesis earlier in 1817, a small pamphlet in Latin of 69 pages without illustrations. Later in the same year Pander published the present work in large format, with a German text and with superb illustrations designed by his collaborator, Edouard d’Alton, which added very much to its value. Pander’s splendid monograph is the first in which the development of the chick is represented so completely by excellent drawings. ”This book was issued in very few copies mostly in Latin. This is one of the few in German and is a bibliographical curiosty. Its full importance has never been adequately appreciated since so few have seen it” (Professor Charles Singer, whose copy, however, had the outline plates in photo copies). Pander discovered the trilaminar structure of the chick blastoderm – a term he coined from the Greek "blastos” (germ) and "derma” (skin). ”He described the three layers as the serous or outer, the vascular or middle, and the mucous or inner. In the twelfth hour of embryonic development he reported that the blastoderm consisted of two entirely separate layers: an inner layer, thick and opaque; and an outer layer, thin and smooth, and transparent. Between these two a third layer developed, in which blood vessels formed and from which ”events of the greatest importance subsequently occur”(DSB). When Karl Ernst von Baer, the discoverer of the mammalian ovum, in the beginning of 1818 received a copy of Pander’s work he began his own investigations, which ultimately revolutionized embryology. He says: "I received from Pander his Dissertatio . . . but it remained unintelligible to me, and soon after I also received his Beiträge . . . , which is provided with beautiful illustrations portraying various stages in excellent fashion, and which, if used in connection with the Dissertatio and some investigations of one’s own, can provide a complete understanding.” The detailed and accurate plates by Joseph Wilhelm Edouard d’Alton the elder (1772–1840), who took part in Pander’s investigations, contained the most complete representation to date of the chick’s embryological development.

Collation: Pp iv, 42, (2). With 20 engraved plates, consisting of 10 plates numbered I-X, outline key plates for the first 9 plates, and a "Taf. der Durchschnitte”. The outline plates are on thinner India paper.

Binding: Untrimmed in original grey-paper boards, printed title-label on the front cover.

Provenance: Early owner’s signature in the left lower corner of front cover, also at the top of the front paste down: Göbhardt.

References: Garrison-Morton 474; DSB, X, pp 286-288; Nordenskiöld, p. 368; Adelmann, Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology, IV, pp 1702 ff (by far the best discussion of Pander’s work); Hagelin, The Womans Booke, pp 138-139; Norman 1632; Christie’s Norman Sale 1233 ($ 8625). SLS 500 Waller 11925.

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