Nature, Medicine, Sciences

The Natural World and Natural Philosophy

While the roots of science and medicine extend back into the ancient and classical world, in the medieval era it became known as natural philosophy, due to Aristotle's heavy influence during that era. The Scientific Revolution began in 1543 with the publication of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus and Vesalius' On the Workings of the Human Body, with further advancements made in the coming centuries by Galileo, Robert Hooke, Brahe, Kepler, Pascal, Edmond Halley, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Thomas Browne, Rene Descartes, and Thomas Hobbes.The terms "scientist" and "science" didn't really develop until the nineteenth century, as many areas of study became professionalized and split into various branches, such as zoology, biology, physics, etc.

Return to home page

Author: unknown

Hortus sanitatis [maior]

Other title: The Garden of Health

Argentorati: per Mathiam Apiarium, 1536

Note: In box, bound in full gold-tooled calf by Thomas Berthelet (d.1555)

Adoption Price: $100


Author: Konrad Gesner (1516-1565)

A new book of distillation of waters : called the Treasure of Euonymus, …

Other Title: Treasure of Euonymus

London : by John Day ..., [the fyrst of June, 1565]

Note: title page inscribed "Thomas Garrard, gentleman" [Sheriff of Lancashire, b. c.1511, d. c.1560/71; or his son Sir Thomas Gerard, b.1530; or Thomas Garrard of London (d.1632) who was Sheriff] and other inscriptions; p. [16] (3rd grouping) inscribed "Dr Thomas Fanshaw"

Adoption Price: $100

Author: Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654)

Pharmacopœia Londinensis, or, The London dispensatory: further adorned by the studies and collections of the Fellows now living, of the said College ...

London : Printed by John Streater, 1667

Note: Culpeper was a famous herbalist, botanist, and physician in 17th century England, and he published his work in an effort to educate lay persons better about health. His work had a significant impact on medicine in the English colonies, even extending into modern medicine.

Adoption Price: $100


Author: John Parkinson (1567-1650)

Theatrum botanicum: the theater of plants, Or, An herball of a large extent.

London, Printed by T. Cotes, 1640.

Adoption Price: $100

Author: Galen

On the therapeutic method. Book 3-6. English.

Other Title: Certain works of Galens, called Methodus medendi

London: Printed by Thomas East ..., 1586.

Note: Leaves 136-138 missing; leavings [1], [3]-[4] (1st grouping) and 134 repaired; marginalia in pencil or brown ink on title page and numerous pages of text

Adoption Price: $100

Author: Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594)

Atlas minor

Amsterdam: Ioannis Ianssoni, 1634

Adoption Price: $250

Photo of Gardiner's Labyrinth
The title page of Hill's The Gardener's Labyrinth. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

Author: Thomas Hill (born c. 1528)

The gardeners labyrinth

London: Printed by John Wolfe , 1586.

Note: first book printed in English on gardening.

Adoption Price: $100


Author: Gervase Markham (1568?-1637)

The English Husbandman, drawn into two books, and each book into two parts

London, Printed for Henry Taunton, 1635.

Description: Gervase Markham was the third son of Robert Markham from Nottinghamshire, of the country gentry class. He was educated, and associated with the radical Protestant nobility, especially Essex, for whom he wrote propaganda poems. He probably served in the army in Ireland for a while. He is best known as a prolific writer, who wrote for money and sometimes recycled what he had written. When Essex fell, Markham retreated to the countryside and occupied himself in farming for a period. Markham wrote what are regarded as mediocre poems, and also guides to all kinds of practical skills. He was especially passionate about equestrianism, and wrote so many books on this subject with so much recycled text that he was forced to sign a unique agreement with his publishers never again to write about horses. This is a remarkable textbook on how to be a farmer in early seventeenth century England. It is a very rich trove of material culture lore. This book is about 7 1/2” x 5 1/2” x 1 1/4” thick, and bound in brown leather. It’s spine is divided into six sections by ruling, with no ridges. There is double groove square framing on the front and back cover, but no stamp marks inside this. The inside cover and separating leaf are covered with an olive green paper. There is only one blank separating leaf rather than two as in three of the other books. It has a University of Nebraska Library sticker inside the front cover. The printer’s notice is: “London. Printed for Henry Tounton, and are to be sold at his shop in Saint Dunstan’s Church-yard in Fleetstreet. 1635”. There is a title page, and a dedication to James Stuart, followed by a preface “To the general reader”, and a Table of Contents. The book is divided into two Parts. The first part covers “Husbandly duties, the nature of soils in this kingdom, tillage, ploughs, etc.” The second continues with “Art of planting, grafting and gardening, use of the vine, the hopsgarden, preservation of fruits, the draught of all sorts of knots, mazes & other Ornaments”. At the top of the text are italicized page headers identifying the book. The part number, as “Part I”, appears on the inside upper corner, and the page number on the outside upper corner. At the lower right is the leading word of the next page. At the bottom center is a capital letter and a number. It contains marginal references, and proper names in italics. It includes many fine line drawings and diagrams. -- Rory Larson

Adoption Price: $25


Author: Robert Burton (1577-1640)

The Anatomy of Melancholy: what it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptoms, prognostics, and several cures of it : in three main partitions, with their several sections, members, and subsections / philosophically, medicinally, historically, opened and cut up by Democritus Junior; with a satirical preface, conducing to the following discourse

Oxford : Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, ao. Dom. 1624

Description: Robert Burton was an English scholar at Oxford, as well as the church holder of St. Thomas the Martyr in Oxford and Seagrave in Leicestershire. Burton’s study looked at a large scope of ideas, but almost all of them led back to his concept of melancholy. He is supposed to have dabbled in astrology at various points in his life, as well as mathematics. Some say that he hanged himself in his chamber at Christ Church in 1640 to fulfill his own predictions, but it is more likely that he lost his battle with depression.

The English style of the book is seemly transitional. It is half way between the modern vernacular and early modern script. There are some of s’s that look like f’s. The work itself is supposed to be a medical textbook covering the subject of melancholy, done in an academic manner. The key word being “supposed,” as the book reads more like literature than science. Furthermore, the text covers more than the subject of melancholy, with topics coming up like the geography of America and such. The book does show signs of ownership. Several different names are signed into the back of the book. There are several indications of marginalia present throughout the book. The previous owners indicated certain important passages by either writing in the margins, making hands pointing with a finger, or making dashes in-between lines. At first glance, the fingers look like numbers, but the consistent image of them points to being a symbol of indication. Several fingerprints made by ink are also seeable at various pages.

The 573-page folio is made with very light parchment, bound in a well-kept fashion. There is little evidence of wear and tear in this book nor is there lots of moisture damage. The book is relatively 8 by 15 inches, making it around the standard size of what a book is considered.

-- Andrew Singleton

Adoption Price: $25


Author: Francis Bacon (1561-1628)

Novum Organum Scientiarum

Amsterdam: Johannes van Ravesteyn, 1660

Adoption Price: $250

Author: Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

Of the Advancement and Proficiency of Learning, or, The partitions of sciences, IX books, written in Latin by Lord Francis Bacon; interpreted by Gilbert Wats

Oxford : Printed by Leon. Lichfield for Rob. Young & Ed. Forrest, 1640

Adoption Price: $100

Author: William Gibson (1680?-1750)

The farrier's new guide. Containing, first, the anatomy of a horse, being an exact and compendious description of all his parts, with their actions and uses; illustrated with figures curiously engraved on copperplates. Secondly, an account of all the diseases incident to horses, with their signs, causes, and method of cure ... The whole interspersed with many curious and useful observations concerning feeding and exercise ..

London, Printed for J. Osborn and T. Longman, 1727

Adoption Price: $25


Author: Mr. Pierre Dionis (d.1718)

The anatomy of humane bodies : improved, according to the circulation of the blood, and all the modern discoveries : publicly demonstrated at the theater in the Royal Garden at Paris / by Monsieur Dionis, Chief Surgeon to the late Dauphiness and to the present Duchess of Burgundy ; translated from the third edition, corrected and enlarged by the author

London : Printed for R. Bonwicke [and 9 others], 1716

Adoption Price: $25


Photo of Alfrigani astronomorum
The title page of Farghani'sAlfragnai Astronomorum. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

Author: Farghānī (active 861)

Alfragani astronomorum peritissimi compendium, id omne quod ad Astronomica rudimenta spectat cõplectens, Joanne Hispalensi interprete, Nunc primùm peruetusto exemplari consulto, multis locis castigatius redditum

Other title: Astronomer's Learned Compendium

Paris: Ex officina Christiani wecheli, M. D. XLVI (1546)

Adoption Price: $50


Author: Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Optice: sive, de reflexionibus, refractionibus, inflexionibus & coloribus lucis : libri tres [book 3]

Other title: Opticks: Or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light

This is the scholarly Latin edition by Samuel Clarke after the first 1704 edition in English

London: Impensis Sam. Smith & Benj. Walford, [1706]

Adoption Price: $250

Photo of Principia Mathematica
The title page of Newton'sPrincipia Mathematica. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

Author: Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica

Other Title: Principia

London: apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, 1726

Note: Autograph of G. M. Baker on fly leaf

Adoption Price: $250

Author: Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Renati Descartes Meditationes de prima philosophia, : in quibus Dei exsistentia, & animæ humanæ a corpore distinctio, demonstrantur

Other title: Meditations on First Philosophy

Amsterdam: Apud Iohannem Blaev, 1644

Adoption Price: $250

Photo of Francis Bacon's works
The title page of Bacon's two books of works. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

Author: Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

The two bookes of Sr. Francis Bacon : of the proficience and aduancement of learning, divine and hvmane

London : Printed for William Washington, and are to be sold at his shop ..., 1629

Note: Limp-bound in vellum; remnant of tie on front cover; bookplate of John Harvey on front paste-down endpaper; spine title, inscribed in ink: "Learning - Bacon". Also on the title page, there is inscribed: "E[x] libris Joh Brown" along with marginalia in pencil on many pages.

Adoption Price: $500