the first comprehensive treatise on histology

Handbuch der Gewebelehre des Menschen für Aerzte und Studierende.

Leipzig, Wilhelm Engelmann, 1852.

8vo, pp. x, 637, [1], with 313 wood-engraved illustrations in the text; a trifle browned; a very good copy in contemporary half calf, extremities a little worn; ownership inscription of the noted British surgeon and ophthalmologist John Whitaker Hulke (1830-1895) on front paste-down.


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first edition, scarce. ‘A Swiss by birth, Kölliker received his medical education by attending Müller’s lectures in Berlin and studying at Heidelberg where he graduated. After serving as prosector for Henle in Zurich, Kölliker was called to Würzburg where he remained for half a century. A genius, possessing remarkable powers of observation, he made enormous strides in the understanding of human and animal tissue. He was the first to apply Schwann’s cell doctrine to embryology and to isolate smooth muscle fiber ... Handbuch der Gewebelehre des Menschen, one of Kölliker’s most important works, may be considered the first textbook of histology’ (Heirs of Hippocrates).

‘Kölliker wrote the first comprehensive treatise on histology (1852), and likewise the first on comparative embryology (1861). He was the first to state that hereditary characters are transmitted by the cell nucleus. In 1845 Kölliker showed that nerve-fibres are secondary to nerve-cells, and that at least some of them are processes of nerve-cells. He thus anticipated the neuron theory, which was definitely formulated in 1891 by Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried Waldeyer-Hartz (1836-1921), usually referred to as Waldeyer’ (Singer and Underwood).

Garrison-Morton 546; Heirs of Hippocrates 1848.

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