Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room

The Gravid Uterus

William Hunter (1718-1783). Anatomia uteri humani gravidi tabulis illustrate. . . the anatomy of the human gravid uterus exhibited in figures. John Baskerville, Birmingham, 1774.

William Hunter (1718-1783). Anatomia uteri humani gravidi tabulis illustrate. . . the anatomy of the human gravid uterus exhibited in figures. John Baskerville, Birmingham, 1774.

William Hunter, born in Scotland, was a London physician and obstetrician whose principal interest was in anatomy. Upon becoming professor of anatomy of the Society of Navy Surgeons in 1746, Hunter initiated a series of lectures on anatomy, surgery, and obstetrics which became quite popular and well-attended. In 1768, he constructed an anatomical theater and museum on Great Windmill Street where many of the foremost surgeons and anatomists of the day, including his brother John, were trained. This stunning atlas, containing life-sized steel engravings of the gravid uterus is one of the most elegant and accurate anatomical works in existence. Hunter spent more than twenty-five years preparing the atlas, employed artists to prepare the engravings an enormous expense to himself, and entrusted the printing of the work to John Baskerville, the greatest English printer of the eighteenth century. Portions of the cadavers on which the dissection was made and upon which the engravings were based remain at the University of Glasgow Anatomy Museum where they may be viewed by the public. This important work may be viewed by visiting the John Martin Rare Book Room. In addition to the images displayed here, high resolution scans of all of the plates from this work can be found by consulting Historical Anatomies on the Web, from the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.

[Above summary adopted from Heirs of Hippocrates]

For more information about the John Martin Rare Book Room please visit the Web site at http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/rbr/ or contact Ed Holtum, Assistant Director for Administrative Services and Special Collections, at 319/335-9154 or edwin-holtum@uiowa.edu.