(Basel: Ludwig König, 1615; 1607; Oppenheim: Hieronymus Galler for the Heirs of Johann Theodor de Bry, 1614;, 1616). 165 x 102 mm. (6 1/2 x 4"). 16 p.l., 674 (i.e. 676),  pp.,  leaves (blank) (lacking three preliminary leaves of text); 8 p.l., 107,  pp.,  leaves (blank); 77,  pp.,  leaf (blank); 22, , 157,  pp. Four works bound in one volume. Second Edition of the first work, FIRST EDITION of the second and third works; First Latin Edition of the fourth work.
18th century stiff vellum with blind-tooled fillets on covers, flat spine with faded ink title (older repairs to hinges). With a total of 25 full-page and 16 smaller illustrations within text; first work: 18 full-page, three in text; second work: three full-page, three in text; third work: two full-page, eight in text; fourth work: two full-page, two in text. Title page of first work printed in red and black. Front pastedown with bookplate of Dr. Kohlrausch; verso of title page with two ink stamps; third work with occasional ink annotations in a contemporary hand. First work: Garrison-Morton 2142; Krivatsy 3857; VD17 23:239593U; Second work: Garrison-Morton 2245; Krivatsy 3850; VD17 23:279196H; Third work: Norman 753; Krivatsy 3858; VD17 12:193224F; Fourth work: Krivatsy 3852; VD17 23:293027V. Joints starting to crack at head and tail, but still strong, vellum lightly soiled, front cover with single wormhole, rear with two wormholes, creases to spine and a tiny closed tear at tail, but the binding entirely sound and not without appeal. Five leaves of first work with small tears at outside margin (no text affected), occasional light browning or foxing throughout (due to poor paper quality), but a pleasing copy of a book often found in rough shape.
This is an important and fascinating collection of works from the man sometimes called the father of German surgery, Wilhelm Fabry von Hilden (1560-1634). Fabry was the first well-educated German surgeon and a prolific author, whose applied research (like that of his contemporary, Antoine Paré) transformed early modern medicine. Norman notes that "although he did not reject traditional humoral doctrine, Fabry was ahead of his time in his attempts to explain disease and injury in terms of localized physical causes." This volume begins with the second edition of the first published description of the contents (and their applications) of a medical field chest for military use. Although he never served in a military campaign, Fabry made numerous innovations in battlefield surgery, notably in amputation. He was the first to successfully amputate at the thigh as well as the first to recommend amputation significantly above the line of gangrene. The second item is the first work devoted to the study of burns; Fabry was the first to classify burn severity into three degrees, and to describe how different heat sources resulted in different types of burns. He also set forth the first reasonable treatments for burns that specified the regular cleaning and treating of blisters, loose bandaging, and how to deal with conglutination (a particular problem with severe burns to fingers). The third item, while not the first published work on gunshot wounds, sets out Fabry's revolutionary approach to treating such wounds. Unlike his contemporaries, Fabry correctly understood that the greatest threat from a bullet was severe bleeding and tissue trauma. The second priority was removal of foreign objects from the body (including bone splinters) without causing undue additional damage to the patient (many other surgeons advocated digging around until the bullet could be extracted). Fabry designed minimally invasive (and easily portable) tools to extract bullets and other objects as well as devices to allow wounds to heal from the inside out, so as not to trap infection deep inside the body. Finally, the fourth item is Fabry's important work on dysentery. A plague survivor himself, Fabry was a keen epidemiologist who witnessed several plague and dysentery outbreaks in Germany and Switzerland. Through observation and patient interviews, he realized that dysentery could have a variety of causes, requiring different treatments. He also recognized that many dysentery cases were transmittable and emphasized the need to keep patients isolated until symptoms abated. Considering the contents--medical chest, burns, gunshot wounds, dysentery--this collection could well have been assembled by or for a military field surgeon; it clearly anticipated the numerous editions of Fabry's collected works that started appearing in the mid-17th century and were reprinted and used as medical manuals until the end of the 18th century. The present works are all of considerable rarity in these first and early editions. (ST12768)
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PJP Catalog: RBMS16.017