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    Hundreds of Woodcuts of Natural History and Medicine in the New World

    Francisco Hernandez. Rerum Medicarum Novæ Hispaniæ Thesaurus, seu Plantarum Animalium Mineralium Mexicanorum historia ex Francisci Hernandi Noui orbis medici Primarij relationibus in ipsa Mexicana vrbe conscriptis à Nardo Antonio Reccho. Rome: Vitalis Mascardi, 1651.

    Second edition. Small folio. [14], 950, [22], 90, [6] pages. Engraved title page. Lacking the letterpress title page. Illustrated with hundreds of woodcuts of flora and fauna of the New World. Text in Latin.

    Full calf. Rebacked. Leather title label to the spine. Marbled endpapers. Front hinge broken. Scuffing to the boards. Previous owner's bookplate to front pastedown. Some dampstaining throughout. Overall, a tight and internally sound copy in very good condition.

    In 1571 Hernandez accompanied a scientific expedition to the New World to study the region's medicinal plants and to collect specimens. After seven years he returned with copious notes. His manuscripts were eventually pared down considerably by Leonardo Recchi and published. Rerum Medicarum Novæ Hispaniæ Thesaurus first appeared in 1628. Sabin suggests that this second edition of 1651, because of similar collation, may actually be a remainder of the original edition with simply the addition of a new title page. However, Frasco-Spada and Jardine, in Books and the Sciences in History, maintain that the 1628 version was quite different, and that very few copies were bound. Eventually the loose printed sheets of the 1628 copies were augmented with new material and significantly restructured. An important addition to the understanding of natural history and medicine during the Renaissance.

    Frasco-Spada and Jardine, Books and the Sciences in History. Sabin 31516.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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