Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, May 2013

ADDISON (1793-1860). On the constitutional and local effects of disease of the supra-renal capsules. London: S. Highley, 1855.

Possessed of rather rude demeanor, Addison nevertheless had a large practice. He was a brilliant lecturer and diagnostician and one of the most respected physicians at Guy’s Hospital, devoting himself almost wholly to his students and patients.

The present work is one of the truly remarkable medical books of the nineteenth century and has long been among the principal desiderata for medical book collectors. Addison describes here for the first time two chronic diseases of the adrenal gland: Addison’s disease and pernicious anemia (Addison’s anemia), the most important primary disease of the blood.

The work is supplemented by several fine hand-colored lithographs. Addison’s discoveries were never widely recognized by his contemporaries, yet today they are regarded as fundamentally significant in the study of the endocrine glands and the treatment of pleuriglandular diseases.