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Boerhaave, Herman (1668-1738)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0114
Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England
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Full title: Boerhaave, Herman (1668-1738)
Date(s): 1702-1738
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 5 volumes and 4 letters
Name of creator(s): Boerhaave | Herman | 1668-1738 | chemist and physician


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:

Papers of Herman Boerhaave, 1702-1738, comprising lecture notes, 1702-1738; and letters, 1733-1735.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

By written appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No photocopying permitted.

Finding aids:

Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (1928) by Victor G Plarr.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The provenance of this material is not known.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Aug 2008

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