"A MAJOR INNOVATION… AN INSTITUTION IN ITS OWN RIGHT": SCARCE 1859 FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF GRAY'S LANDMARK ANATOMY, IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN SHEEP BINDING
GRAY, Henry. Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical. Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1859. Quarto, contemporary full tan sheep.
First American edition of this classic anatomical textbook by Henry Gray, richly illustrated with 363 wood-engravings after drawings by Henry Vandyke Carter, published on the eve of the American Civil War, which resulted in 620,000 killed in combat or by disease, with untold thousands grievously wounded—this edition of Gray's Anatomy would have been an indispensable tool for American doctors, surgeons, and medical students at this crucial period in our history, on and off the battlefield. "Remains today a standard work on the subject" (Garrison & Morton). An excellent and desirable copy in contemporary American sheep binding.
Gray was only 33 when he published this pivotal work that established a breakthrough in the art of teaching medical students, thereby producing "a major innovation" in the field. "No medical text has ever been so widely used by successive generations of medical students and doctors… It is a measure of Gray's single-minded devotion to anatomy and authorship that 'Gray's Anatomy' remains even today, not only an important book of reference but as virtually a household phrase" (DNB). "The first edition of 1858 was found to have a good many errors, most of which were corrected in the 1859 edition" (Heirs of Hippocrates 1915). This work was heavily used by American surgeons to cope with the massive casualties of the Civil War. According to a contemporary report of the Surgeon-General, the number of wounded treated in hospitals in the Civil War was 246,712. However, this figure included only records of engagements for which statistics were known; the figure also excluded the number of wounded soldiers who were not treated in hospitals. (See William Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War 1861-65, Albany, 1889.). With half title. Garrison & Morton 418. Lilly, 211. Norman 939. Contemporary owner signature of Howard W. Vickery, an Upstate New York physician. Evidence of bookplate removal.
Interior generally quite clean, front inner paper hinge split but stable, faint staining to fully intact contemporary binding, scrape to rear board. An exceptional unrestored copy.