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HEISTER, Lorenz (1683-1758)

Institutiones chirurgicae, in quibus quidquid ad rem chirurgicam pertinet, optima et novissima ratione pertractatur, atque in tabulis multis aeneis praestantissima ac maxime necessaria instrumenta itemque artificia, sive encheirises praecipuae & vincturae chirurgicae representantur. Opus quadraginta fere annorum, nunc demum, post aliquot editiones germanica lingua evulgatas, in exterorum gratiam latine altera vice publicatum. Pars Prima - Secunda.
Amstelaedami, apud Janssonio-Waesbergios, 1750.

Heister was the outstanding German surgeon of the first half of the eighteenth century and one of the most prominent in Europe. His books on anatomy, surgery and medicine dominated the field for several generations, serving to educate physicians throughout western Europe. His main work, the Chirurgie, was one of the early systematic treatises on the subject, summarizing virtually all that had been written before, both ancient and recent. The book is richly illustrated with 40 fold-out copper plates depicting operative techniques, instruments, braces and bandages, which are prototypes of those still in use. Garrison says the book is of unusual historic interest on account of its instructive illustrations. The importance of the work is apparent from the numerous editions issued. First published in German (Nuremberg, 1718) it became one of the most translated, most used, and most respected texts ever written, and was still in use as a standard text as late as 1838. Part of the work was translated into Japanese (from the Dutch edition) and it was most successful in introducing Western methods to Japanese surgeons. Thanks to sponsorship of professor Ruysch, Heister was appointed chief surgeon to the army of the Netherlands. In 1711 he was appointed professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of Altdorf. Shortly after the publication of his Chirurgie Heister was in 1719 called to the University of Helmstedt. Some time later the professorship in botany was added to his duties, in which capacity he established a famous botanical garden. He remained in Helmstedt for thirty-eight years.

Collation: Vol. I: Pp (2), viii (preface), 56, (bibliography), (8) (list of contents) 8 (bibliography of Heister’s works), 1-599, with 18 folding engraved plates numbered I-XVIII; Vol. II: Pp (4) title & privilege leaf, (601) -1187, (45) index, (8) to the bookbinder, errata and appendix, with 22 folding engraved plates numbered XIX-XXXX. Titles printed in red and black with engraved vignette.

Binding: Two volumes. Contemporary mottled calf with five raised bands, gilt decorated spines with a fleuron in each compartment, red spine label.

Provenance: Interesting association copy which has belonged to Roland Martin (1726-1788) with his signature in both volumes. Martin became the first professor of anatomy in Stockholm, the first step to what came to be the Karolinska Institute. He was succeeded by Anders Johan Hagströmer (1753–1830), whose signature is placed under Martin’s with a note ”evigt vördad af A. Joh. Hagströmer såsom dess Lärare i anat. och chir.” (eternally revered by A. Joh. Hagströmer as his teacher in anatomy and surgery).

References: Garrison-Morton 5576 (German edition, 1718); DSB, VI, pp 231-32; Zimmerman & Veith, pp 313-19; Rutkow, Surgery. An Illustrated History (1993), pp 289-91. Waller 4263.

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