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Boerhaave, Hermann (1668-1738)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 MSS.1279-1285
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Boerhaave, Hermann (1668-1738)
Date(s): early 18th century - mid 18th century
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 7 volumes
Name of creator(s): Boerhaave | Herman | 1668-1738 | chemist and physician
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Hermann Boerhaave was born at Voorhout, near Leiden, in 1668. His father had wanted him to become a clergyman, and so it was not until he had studied theology that he began to study medicine. In 1690 he took up the study of medicine, chemistry and botany, supporting himself by teaching mathematics. He began to be more interested in medicine, with an ambition to be 'a doctor of both body and soul'. He began to read every available medical work, but hardly ever attended lectures in medicine, with the exception of a few in anatomy. He obtained a degree in medicine at the provincial university in Harderwijk, in 1693. He became a general practitioner in Leiden in 1793, where he spent his entire professional life. He was appointed lecturer of theoretical medicine at the University of Leiden in 1701. He was appointed Professor of Medicine and Botany in 1709; second Professor of Practical Medicine in 1714 (he became first Professor in 1720); and Professor of Chemistry in 1718. For the next ten years he simultaneously held three of the five chairs that constituted the whole of Leiden's Faculty of Medicine. His influence spread throughout Europe, and as far as China. His works were also translated into arabic. He was a Hippocratist who put the care of the patients above all considerations of theory; he strived to reorder the medical sciences on a sound basis of natural science. He was a member of the Medical College, a corresponding member of the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris, and he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1730. He was also chairman of the Surgeon's Guild at Leiden from 1714-1738. He died in 1738.


Scope and content/abstract:

Notes on Herman Boerhaave's lectures and material extracted from his publications, with some material by others, 18th century.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Latin, French and English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

Described in: S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973).

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased 1909, 1920, 1924, 1925, 1928, 1930.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Feb 2009

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