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Herman Boerhaave - bibliography

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Dutch physician, anatomist, botanist, chemist and humanist, born December 31, 1668, Voorhout, near Leiden; died September 23, 1738, Leiden.


  • Oratio academica, qua probatur, bene intellectam a Cicerone et confutatam esse sententiam Epicuri de summo bono. Public oration. 1689.
    Disputation at the University of Leiden, where he studied philosophy, mathematics, and theology. For this he won a gold medal.
  • De distinctione mentis a corpore.
    Dissertation for the doctorate in philosophy. Leiden, 1690.
  • De utilitate explorandorum in ageris excrementorum, ut signorum.
    Thesis for the medical doctorate, University of Harderwijk, July 15, 1693.
    On the usefulness of examining the patient's excrements for diagnostical purpose.
  • De commendando studio Hippocratico.
    Inaugural address as lecturer. Leiden, 1701.
  • De usu ratiocinii mechanici in medicina. Address, Leyden, 1703.
  • Institutiones medicae in usus annuae exercitationis domesticos digestae.
    Lugduni Batavorum, J. van der Linden, 1708. Appeared in 15 editions; translated into French.
    One of Boerhaave's best books. The first part deals with physiology, with important observations upon digestion. The second edition, 1710, was dedicated to his father- in-law.
  • Oratio, quo repurgatae medicinae facile asseritur simplicitas.
    Inaugural address as professor of medicine and botany. Leiden, 1709.
  • Aphorismi de cognoscendis et curandis morbis in usum doctrinae medicae.
    Lugduni Batavorum, J. van der Linden, 1709; appeared in 10 editions; one English (1715) and two French translations.
  • Index plantarum, quae in horto academico Lugduno-Batavo reperintur.
    Leiden, 1710.
  • Oratio de chemia suos errores expurgante. Leiden, 1718.
    Address on the occasion of his appointment as professor of chemistry.
  • De comparando certo in physics. Leiden, 1718.
  • De materia medica, et remediorum formulis liber. 1719. 2nd edition, 1727.
  • A method of studying physick. 1st. English edition, London 1719.
    Except for plagiarized work this is the first English translation of his famous course of lectures, Institutiones medicae, which was first published in 1708. As was true of most of Boerhaave's works, it was published in scores of editions and translations, many of them without his authority, many of them lecture notes taken by students who sold them for publication under a bewildering array of titles.
  • Libellus de materie medica et remediorum formulis : quae serviunt aphorismis de cognoscendis & curandis morbis.
    Lugduni Batavorum: Apud Isaacum Severinum, 1719.
    Francofurti ; Lipsiae, Apud J. Matth. Kaltenbrunn, 1720.
  • Tractatus de viribus medicamentorum. 1719.
    A spurious edition, enlarged from lecture notes, of Boerhaave's Libellus de materia medica (1719). He had not originally intended to publish his collection of prescriptions, fearing that indiscriminate readers would bring harm to themselves and others by improper use of them. He finally felt obliged to issue his materia medica in order to correct the inaccurate works which were being published in his name from student's lecture notes.
    French translation: Traité de la vertu des medicaments. Paris 1729.
    A latin edition was published in Paris in 1740: Parisiis, Guillelmum Cavelier.
    English translations as: Treatise of the materia medica. London, 1739. Posthumous publication:
  • Tractatus de viribus medicamentorum. Editio novissima alterâ vice dedit accuratius adhuc recensuit novisque annotationibus & additamentis locupletiorem fecit Benedictus Boudon. Venice, 1753. 48 + 564 pages.
  • Index alter plantarum, quae in horto Academico Lugduno-Batavo coluntur.
    2 volumes, Leyden, 1720. With copperplates and a history of the botanical garden.
  • Opusculum anatomicum de fabrica glandularum in corpore humano.
    With Frederik Ruysch (1638-1731). Leiden, 1722; Amsterdam 1733.
  • Atrocis, nec descripti prius, morbis historia: Secundum medicae artis leges conscripta. Boutesteniana. 1724.
  • Opera anatomica et chirurgica Andreæ Vesalii.
    1725. With the life of Andreas vesalius.
  • Methodus discendi artem medicam. Amsterdam? and London?, 1726.
    An introduction to medical literature. The edition of 1751, containing the additions of Haller, is the best.
  • Historia Plantarum: quae in Horto Academico Lugduni-Batavorum crescunt cum earum characteribus, & medicinalibus virtutibus.
    2 volumes. Romae: Apud Franciscum Gonzagam, 1727.
    This work describes the plants growing in the gardens at the University of Leiden, as well as marine plants, such as coral and sponges. Each entry contains three parts: the characteristics, the name, and the strength or medicinal properties, when relevant. There are no illustrations and the two volumes are bound together. Plants are arranged by general characteristics, such as marine plants, gymnosperms, and so forth.
  • De viribus medicamentorum. Paris, 1728.
  • Altera atrocis rarissimque morbi marchionis de Sancto Albano historia. Auctores de lue Aphrodisiaca, cum tractatu præfixo. 1728.
  • Aretæi Cappadocis nova editio. 1731.
  • Elementa chemiae.
    2 volumes. Lugduni Batavorum, Apud Isaacum Severinum, 1732.
    Ran into several editions. This textbook of chemistry – his greatest work - was translated into German, English, and French.
    Boerhaave was the first to separate out urea from urine, and to do so without adding chemical substances such as alcohol or nitric acid. He first published his method for isolating it in the above work. English translation, London, 1735.
  • Oratio de honore medici servitute. Leyden, 1731.
    Address on the occasion of his being re-elected rector of the university in 1730.
  • Observata de argento vivo, ad Reg. Soc. et Acad. Scient. 1734.
  • Praelectiones academicae in proprias institutiones rei medicae. Edditi et notas additit Albertus Haller. 6 volumes, Taurini, 1742-1745.
    Boerhaave's work edited and commented by Victor Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777).
  • Treatise on the Powers of Medicine. Translated from the most correct Latin Edition by John Martyn. London, printed for John Wilcox, 1740.
    The English translation of Tractatus de viribus medicamentorum.
    This title has also been given as: Treatise of the materia medica.
  • Opera omnia medica. Venetiis, apud L. Basilium, 1742.
  • Praelectiones publicae de morbis oculorum. Göttingen, 1747.
  • Herman Boerhaave's Materia medica: or, A series of prescriptions adapted to the sections of his practical Aphorisms concerning the knowledge and cure of diseases.
    London,, W. Innys etc. 1753.
  • Praelectiones academicae de morbis nervorum.
    Lugduni Batavorum, Apud Petrum van der Eyk, 1761.
    After Boerhaave's death several of his pupils published a number of his lectures, some of them taken down quite accurately in shorthand, particularly by Gerard van Swieten, one of the three contributors of Boerhaave's lectures to this work on nervous disease.
  • Samuel Johnson:
    Hermann Boerhaave.
    The Gentleman's Magazine, January, February, March, and April, 1739.
    Reprinted in The Works of Samuel Johnson, Troy, NY, Pafraets Company, 1903, volume 14, pages 154-184.
  • G. A. Lindeboom:
    Bibliographia Boerhaaviana. Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1959.
    Herman Boerhaave, the man and his work. London, Methuen, 1968.
  • G. Achiwa:
    Herman Boerhaave 1668-1738. His life, thought and influence upon Japanese medicine in the Period of Dutch Learning. Tokyo: Ogata Bookstore, 1969.
  • Albert Johan Boerman:
    Herman Boerhaave: Hele Europas medicinska läromästare – formade den klassiska fallbeskrivningen.
    Läkartidningen, Stockholm, 1992, 89 (10): 781-782.
    In the series: Mannen bakom syndromet [The Man Behind the Syndrome]. Carolus Linnaeus als middelaar tussen Zweden en Nederland.
    Utrecht, 1953. Thesis. Linnaeus becomes candidata medicinae at Harderwijk. A neglected Linnean document.
    Svenska Linnésällskapets Årsskrift 1956/57, 39/40: 33-47. Linnaeus and the scientific relations between Holland and Sweden.
    Svenska Linnésällskapets Årsskrift, 1978: Commemorative volume: 43-56.
  • R. Knoeff:
    Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738). Calvinist Chemist and Physician.
    2002. 237 pages.
    This book demonstrates Boerhaave's Calvinistic picture of the world.
We thank Rudolf Kleinert, Bad Reichenhall, Germany, for information submitted.

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