Embryology History - 17th and 18th Century Anatomies

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We have been studying human development for a very long time. This page is an introduction to historical references (Anatomies) in Embryology. Many of images are available as digital versions from the links to National Library of Medicine and other public sources.

History Links: Historic Embryology Papers | Historic Embryology Textbooks | Embryologists | Historic Vignette | Historic Periods | Historic Terminology | Human Embryo Collections | Carnegie Contributions | 17-18th C Anatomies | Embryology Models | Category:Historic Embryology
Historic Papers: 1800's | 1900's | 1910's | 1920's | 1930's | 1940's | 1950's | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's

Historic Disclaimer - information about historic embryology pages 
Mark Hill.jpg
Pages where the terms "Historic" (textbooks, papers, people, recommendations) appear on this site, and sections within pages where this disclaimer appears, indicate that the content and scientific understanding are specific to the time of publication. This means that while some scientific descriptions are still accurate, the terminology and interpretation of the developmental mechanisms reflect the understanding at the time of original publication and those of the preceding periods, these terms, interpretations and recommendations may not reflect our current scientific understanding.     (More? Embryology History | Historic Embryology Papers)

Spiegel and Casseri

Spiegel A. and Casseri G. De formato foetu liber singularis. (1626) Padua: Io. Bap. de Martinis & Livius Pasquatus. NLM

Adriaan van den Spiegel (1578-1625) and Giulio Casseri (ca. 1552–1616).

Published posthumously by Spigelius' son-in-law, the physician Liberalis L. Crema of Padua.

Regnier de Graaf

Regnier de Graaf.jpg

Regnier de Graaf (1641 - 1673), a Dutch physician and anatomist. Doctoral thesis on the pancreas, identified the function of the ovarian follicle (named Graafian follicle), the final mature antral follicle released by ovulation.

De Graaf R. De virorum organis generationi inservientibus, de clysteribus et de usu siphonis in anatomia. Ex officina Hackiana, Lugd. Batav. et Roterod. 1668.

De Graaf R. De mulierum organis generationi inservientibus tractatus novus. Ex officina Hackiana, Lugd. Batav. 1672.

R. De Graaf. Alle de wercken, Abraham Abrahamse, Amsterdam (1686).


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Paul Portal

Paul Portal: The Compleat Practice of Men and Women Midwives (1705)

"Paul Portal (1630-1703), French obstetrician, originally published this important treatise in Paris in 1696.  It includes his demonstration of turning a fetus during childbirth using one foot and contains his teaching that face presentation runs a normal course during the labor process."

Historical Medical Digital Library: http://www.collphyphil.org/HMDLSubweb/Pages/P/PortalP/compramenPgAccess.htm

Govard Bidloo

Bidloo, Govard (1649 - 1713) Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams, Amsterdam: By de weduwe van Joannes van Someren, de erfgenaamen van Joannes van Dyk, Hendrik en de weduwe van Dirk Boom, 1690.

Bidloo1690 table57.jpg Bidloo1690 table56.jpg
Fetal Growth Fetus and Uterus

William Smellie

William Smellie (1697-1763)

William Smellie (1697-1763) A sett of anatomical tables, with explanations, and an abridgment, of the practice of midwifery (1754) He also helped develop the delivery forceps which by the late eighteenth century were a well-known standard obstetrical instrument.

Smellie1754 table 10 twins.jpg

Table 10 showing a twin pregnancy, from A sett of anatomical tables, with explanations, and an abridgment, of the practice of midwifery (1754)

Links: Set of Anatomical Tables | William Smellie

William Hunter

William Hunter

William Hunter (1718-1783) Anatomia uteri humani gravidi tabulis illustrata = The anatomy of the human gravid uterus exhibited in figures (1774)

title page

About William Hunter

Links: William Hunter

Wilhelm Braune

Wilhelm Braune 1877 titlepage.jpg Wilhelm Braune 1872 titlepage.jpg

The Position of the Uterus and Fetus at Term (1872)

(Die Lage des Uterus und Foetus am Ende der Schwangerschaft.)

Braune, Wilhelm (1831-1892): Topographisch-anatomischer Atlas : nach Durchschnitten an gefrornen Cadavern, Leipzig: Verlag von Veit & Comp., 1867-1872. (Topographic-anatomical Atlas)

The Position of the Uterus and Fetus at Term (1872)


Braune Image Links: Uterus and Fetus Position at Term | Section through Uterus and Fetus | Uterus without Fetus | Uterus and Fetus Position at Birth | Section through Uterus and Fetus at Birth | Uterus without Fetus at Birth | 17-18 C Anatomies

Giuseppe Galletti

Giuseppe Galletti (? - 1819) these models are available for viewing at the Institute and Museum of the History of Science (Italy) "Specimens of obstetric models: the wax models are life-sized; the terracotta versions are reduced to a 1:3 scale. Together with the anatomical waxes in the Specola Museum in Florence, these models are among the most significant examples of the use of artistic techniques for teaching medicine and obstetrics to midwives and surgery students in Florentine hospitals at the end of the eighteenth century."

Links: Birth | IMSS Room XVIII. Surgery and obstetrics | IMSS - where we are | La Specola Museum (Italy)

External Links

External Links Notice - The dynamic nature of the internet may mean that some of these listed links may no longer function. If the link no longer works search the web with the link text or name. Links to any external commercial sites are provided for information purposes only and should never be considered an endorsement. UNSW Embryology is provided as an educational resource with no clinical information or commercial affiliation.

  • National Library of medicine (USA) Historical Anatomies on the Web "Historical Anatomies on the Web is a digital project designed to give Internet users access to high quality images from important anatomical atlases in the Library's collection."
  • Institute and Museum of the History of Science (Italy) Room XVIII. Surgery and obstetrics
  • National Library of medicine (USA) History of Medicine
  • National Museum of Health and Medicine (USA) History of Medicine
  • National Museum of Health and Medicine (USA) Human Developmental Anatomy Center (HDAC) "Maintains the largest collection of embryologic material in the United States. The Center is a primary source for centralized research in developmental anatomy."
  • Smithsonian Institution Whatever Happened to Polio? " This exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of the announcement that Dr. Jonas Salk had developed a vaccine to prevent polio, the most notorious disease of the 20th century until AIDS appeared."
  • College of Physicians of Philadelphia Historical Medical Digital Library Copyright for the books in the Historical Medical Digital Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is in the public domain.

Glossary Links

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 23) Embryology Embryology History - 17th and 18th Century Anatomies. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Embryology_History_-_17th_and_18th_Century_Anatomies

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G