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Anomalies in both humans and animals, finely illustrated with seven impressive plates



Wouter (Gualtherus) van DOEVEREN. Specimen observationum academicarum, ad monstrorum historiam [...] et artem obstetriciam, præcipue spectantium. Groningen, Jacob Bolt; Leiden, Samuel en Johannes Luchtmans, 1765 (colophon: ex typographia Boltiana). 4to (27,3 x 21 cm). [12], 298, [2] pp. With 7 numbered engravings on 5 folding leaves. Modern calf. Uncut and largely unopened. Title-page browned and spotted, with three stamps ("Ex Bibliotheca Academicae Rostochiensis"), spotting throughout, overall in good condition. First and only edition of Van Doeveren’s masterpiece describing and depicting anomalies in both humans and animals, finely illustrated with seven impressive plates. Wouter van Doeveren (1730-1783) studied medicine at Leiden University. In 1754 he was appointed professor of anatomy, surgery and obstetrics in Groningen and subsequently became professor of medicine in Groningen in 1770. He had a keen interest in teratology and owned a large collection of teratological specimens, several of which are now held at Leiden University. Van Doeveren "was one of the first who attempted to build a systematic collection of teratological specimens, moving them from the ‘sphere of wonder and curiosity’ into the world of naturalization; as such, teratology became part of natural classifications and taxonomy. Additionally, this systematic approach led to a paradigm shift that placed the 'monstrous births' from a negative into a positive point of view" (Boer et al.). Plate V shows a child with a severely malformed head with a cleft of the soft and hard palate, a case of so-called "faciocranioschisis". The engraving was made after a specimen in Van Doeveren’s collection, now part of the collection of the Anatomical Museum of Leiden University Medical Center. Blake, p. 128; Waller 2512; Cf. Boer et al. 'History and highlights of the teratological collection in the Museum Anatomicum of Leiden University, The Netherlands', in: American journal of medical genetics. Part A vol. 176,3 (2018), pp. 618-637.

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