An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

15961 entries, 13944 authors and 1935 subjects. Updated: March 22, 2024

GESNER, Conrad [Konrad Gessner]

17 entries
  • 1807

Historia plantarum et vires ex Dioscoride, Paulo Aegineta, Theophrasto, Plinio, & recentioribus Graecis, iuxta elementorum ordinem, per Conradum Gesnerum Tigurinum. Vna cum rerum & verborum locupletissimo indice.

Paris: apud Ioannem Lodoicum Tiletanum, 1541.

A pocket dictionary of plants. Gesner, the “German Pliny”, produced the most encyclopedic bibliographies of his time. He attempted a Historia plantarum, which was unfinished at his death. See No. 1809.1. Digital facsimile of the 1541 edition from the Internet Archive at this link.

Subjects: BOTANY, Dictionaries, Biomedical › Lexicography, Biomedical
  • 13142

Libellus de lacte, et operibus lactariis, philologus pariter ac medicus; cum Epistola ad Iacobum Avienum de montium admiratione.

Zurich: Christoph Froschauer, 1541.

The first book on Alpinism and mountaineering. Digital facsimile from the Hathi Trust at this link. English translation by H. B. D. Soulé as Conrad Gesner: On the admiration of mountains; the prefatory letter addressed to Jacob Avienus, Physician, in Gesner's pamphlet "on milk and substances prepared from milk first printed at Zurich in 1543. A description of the Riven Mountain, commonly called aMount Pilatus, addressed to J. Chrysotome Huber, originally printed with another work of Gesner's at Zurich in 1555. San Francisco: The Grabhorn Press, 1937.

Subjects: BOTANY, PHYSICAL MEDICINE / REHABILITATION › Exercise / Training / Fitness
  • 1809

Enumeratio medicamentorum purgantium.

Basel: per H. Frobenium, 1543.

An index of purgatives.

Subjects: PHARMACOLOGY › Pharmacopeias › Dispensatories or Formularies
  • 6743

Bibliotheca universalis, sive catalogus omnium scriptorum locupletissimus, in tribus linguis. Latina, Graeca, and Hebraica. 3 vols. and appendix.

Zürich: apud C. Froschouerum, 15451555.

This was one of the first attempts at a universal bibliography. Unfortunately the section on medicine (liber xxi) was never published. William Osler used the Bibliotheca universalis as one of the models for his own Bibliotheca Osleriana. He placed Gesner in the most important section (“Bibliotheca prima”), and once remarked:”I am not sure that this fellow should go into ‘Prima’, but I love him so much that I must put him there. Besides, he is the Father of Bibliography”.

Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographical Classics
  • 280

Historia animalium. 5 vols.

Zürich: apud C. Froschouerum, 15511587.

Gesner's Historia animalium is considered one of the starting points of modern zoology; it contains 4,500 pages and nearly 1,000 woodcuts, some by Albrecht Dürer. The illustrations are the first original zoological illustrations, and the first naturalistic representations of animals to be published in print. His encyclopedic work includes the names of the known animals in ancient and modern languages, together with a mass of information regarding them. Vol. 1 on four-footed mammals was published in 1551; Vol. 2 on egg-laying quadrupeds (reptiles and amphibia) was issued in 1554; Vol. 3. on birds in 1555; Vol. 4 on fish and aquatic animals in 1558. Vol. 5 on snakes and scorpions was issued posthumously in 1587.

In this work Gesner attempted to build a connection between ancient knowledge of the animal world, and what was known at his time. He compiled it from ancient and medieval texts, including ancient naturalists like AristotlePliny the Elder, and Aelian, and even the medieval Physiologus. To this information he added his own observations, and those of his correspondents, in an attempt to formulate a comprehensive description of the natural history of animals, with detailed descriptions of their daily habits and movements, and their uses in medicine and nutrition.

The work was translated into German and published by Froschauer between 1557 and 1563. Portions were translated into English by Edward Topsell as The historie of four-footed beasts. London, 1607, and The historie of serpents (1608). These English translations were combined as The history of four-footed beasts and serpents (1658).

Subjects: BIOLOGY › Marine Biology, VETERINARY MEDICINE, ZOOLOGY, ZOOLOGY › Illustration
  • 5562

De chirurgia scriptores optimi quique veteres et recentiores, plerique in Germania antehac non editi.

Zürich: apud A. et J. Gesnerum, 1555.

A collection made by Gesner of various surgical works by ancient and recent authors including M. A. Blondus, A. Bolognini, G. Dondi, A. Ferri, Galen, C. Gesner, J.Langius, B. Maggi, Marianus Sanctus, Oribasius, and J. Tagault. The list of surgical writers and their works which Gesner appended to this book is one of the earliest bibliographies of surgery.

Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographical Classics, SURGERY: General
  • 13141

De raris et admirandis herbis, qvae sive qvod noctv luceant, siue alias ob causas, Lvnariae nominantur, Commentariolus : & obiter de alijs etiam rebus quae in tenebris lucent. Inseruntur & Icones quaedam herbarum nouae. Eivsdem descriptio Montis Fracti, siue Montis Pilati, iuxta Lucernam in Helvetia. His accedunt Io. Dv Chovl G. F. Lugdunensis, Pilati Montis in Gallia Descriptio. Io. Rhellicani Stockhornias, qua Stockhornus mons altissimus in Bernensium Helvetiorum agro, versibus Heroicis describitur.

Zurich: Apud Andream Gesnerum F. & Iacobvm Gesnerum, fratres , 1555.

Contains Gesner's second work on mountaineering, his description of the Riven Mountain, commonly called Mount Pilatus, Eivsdem descriptio Montis Fracti, siue Montis Pilati, iuxta Lucernam in Helvetia. Digital facsimile from at this link.
English translation by H.B.D. Soulé, San Francisco: The Grabhorn Press, 1937.

Subjects: BOTANY, PHYSICAL MEDICINE / REHABILITATION › Exercise / Training / Fitness
  • 7087

Claudii Aeliani... opera, quae extant omnia: Graece Latineque e regione, uti versa hac pagina commemorantur... Conradi Gesneri.

Zurich: Gesneros fratres, 1556.

First edition in print, edited by Conrad Gessner, of Aelianus's collected works, including On the nature of animals (On the characteristics of animals). Aelianus was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus. Aelian's anecdotes on animals rarely depended on direct observation: they were almost entirely taken from written sources, often from Pliny, but also other authors and works now lost, for whom he is a valuable witness. Aelianus was more attentive to marine life than might be expected, and this seems to reflect personal interest; he often quotes "fishermen". At times he strikes the reader as credulous, but at others he specifically states that he is reporting what was told by others, and that he does not believe them. Aelian's work was one of the sources of medieval natural history, including medieval beastiaries 

In the 1556 edition Gessner combined the text of Claudius Aelianus with his edition of Aelianus Tacticus On military arrangements of the Greeks even though the authors and subject matters were very different. Digital facsimile of the 1556 edition from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at this link. English translation by A. F. Scholfield in the Loeb Classical Library (3 vols., 1958-59). Digital facsimile of the 1958-59 translation from the Internet Archive at this link.

Subjects: NATURAL HISTORY › Late Antiquity, ZOOLOGY, ZOOLOGY › Ichthyology, Zoology, Natural History, Ancient Greek / Roman / Egyptian
  • 1814

In hoc volumine continentur Valerii Cordi ... Annotationes in Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbei De medica materia libros V : longè aliae quàm ante hac sunt evulgatae. Ejusdem Val. Cordi Historiae stirpium Lib. IIII. posthumi, nunc primùm in lucem editi, adjectis etiam stirpium iconibus, & brevissimus annotatiunculis. Sylva, qua rerum fossilium in Germania plurimarum, metallorum, lapidum & stirpium aliquot rariorum notitiam brevissimè persequitur, nunquam hactenus visa. De artificiosis extractionibus liber. Compositiones medicinales aliquot, non vulgares. His accedunt Stocc-Hornii et Nessi in Bernatium Helvetiorum ditione montium, & nascentium in eis stirpium, descriptio Benedicti Aretii ... Item Conradi Gesneri De hortus Germaniae, liber recens, unà cum descriptione tulipae turcarum, chamaecerasi montani, chamaemespili, chamaenerii, & conozoidis ... Omnia summa studio atque industria ... Conr. Gesneri ... collecta, & praefationibus illustrata.

Strasbourg, France: excud. I. Rihelius, 1561.

This work not only updated the species listed by Dioscorides, but also listed about 500 new species of plants. Published posthumously, the work was carefully edited by Conrad Gesner.  

Cordus was the inventor of phytography and the discoverer of ethyl (sulphuric) ether. Digital facsimile from the Biodiversity Heritage Library at this link.

Subjects: ANESTHESIA › Ether, BOTANY › Phytography, PHARMACOLOGY › PHARMACEUTICALS › Materia medica / Herbals / Herbal Medicines
  • 6814

Prologomena in Galenum, in tres partes divisa IN: volume one of Cl [audius]Galen Pergameni [Opera] Omnia quae extant, in Latinum sermonem convers.

Basel: Hieronymus Froben & Nicolaus Episcopius, 1562.

Prologomena in Galenum, in tres partes divisa written by physician, naturalist, and bibliographer, Conrad Gessner (Gesner), and issued in volume one of Cl [audius] Galeni Pergameni  [Opera] Omnia, quae extant, in Latinum sermonem convers published in Basel by Hieronymus Froben and Nicolaus Episcopius in 1562, was the first bio-bibliography. Gessner's study, which covered Greek editions, Latin editions, lost works, writers on Galen and a classified bibliography of Galen's writings, was also Gessner's most developed bibliography. The bio-bibliography occupies 37 unnumbered leaves, following the title to volume 1, and Gesner's two unnumbered leaves of dedication, dated February 1562. (α†4-6,β†6, γ†6, A†-C†6, D†4). To the extent that this is a bio-bibliography we might call it an early partial biography, in that it incorporates what little is known of Galen's life.

Besterman, Beginnings of Systematic Bibliography 2nd ed (1940) 19-20, no. XXIX.


Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographical Classics, BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographies of Individual Authors, BIOGRAPHY (Reference Works) › Biographies of Individuals
  • 11490

De omni rerum fossilium genere, gemmis, lapidibus, metallis, et huiusmodi, libri aliquote, plerique nunc primum editi.

Zurich: Jacob Gesner, 1565.

A collection of eight separate tracts, most with their own title page, by seven authors, all edited, and some with commentary by Gesner. The work is relevant for the history of "natural history" for containing Kentmann's Catalogus, the earliest printed catalogue of a mineral collection. This was probably also the earliest printed catalogue of any private collection in natural history. Though Kentmann's collection may have existed only in a cabinet, and was not formally a museum, because of the very early date, I think it is worthwhile to include his collection in this bibliography.

Supposedly Kentmann's catalogue was also published separately, but because no copies appear to exist with their own title page, I suspect that separate publication was doubtful. On the other hand, Kentmann's catalogue of calculi (No. 11489) was clearly issued with its own title page, and was thus probably available both in Gesner's collection and as a separate work.

Curtis Schuh's online Biobibliography of Minerology has this to say about Kentmann's minerology catalogue:

Catalogus rerum fossilium Io. Kentmani numerous folii puncto praeeunte, faciem priorem indcat:sequente, posteriorem. 

"This early catalog describes the "fossils" or "things dug from the earth" collected by Johannes Kentmann. Although some petrified remains of animal and plants are included in the descriptions, it is essentially a portrait of a fifteenth century mineral collection. This treatise is therefore the earliest work to catalog mineralogical items in their own right.

"The text gives a detailed inventory of 1,608 individual specimens, with an unusual feature for the period of providing accurate locality information for each sample described. As would be expected, over 1,100 of the specimens originated from the region around Saxony where Kentmann flourished. Yet a suprising aspect are the 472 specimens described as having come from foreign lands. This indicates the vigor and great expense Kentmann used to acquire material for his ever growing collection. Unfortunately, none of the specimens was illustrated. However, a major novelty of the work was a woodcut illustration of the actual mineral cabinet used to store the collection. The picture shows thirteen drawers that were used to segragate the specimens. This closely follows the method of classification outlined in the text.

"The system devised by the author is based principally on the work of Georg Agricola, but modified and enlarged upon Gesner's insistance. It consists of twenty-six major divisions with headings such as earths, stones, flourites, hard-bodied minerals, marbles, ores of gold, silver, copper and lead, pyrites, antimony, iron, etc. Each division was then subdivided according to the kind of species. For example, this separation included male and female loadstone, which respectively, attracted or repeled iron particles. A good modern translation and analysis of Kentmann's work is provided in Prescher, H., J. Helm and G. Fraustadt, "Johannes Kentmanns Mineralienkatalog, aus dem Jahre 1565," Abhandlungen des Staatlichen Museums für Mineralogie und Geologie zu Dresden30 (1980), 5-152."

Digital facsimile from the Internet Archive at this link.

 (Thanks to Arnaud Mignan,, for drawing my attention to this work.)




Subjects: MUSEUMS › Natural History Museums / Wunderkammern, Minerals and Medicine, NATURAL HISTORY
  • 6136

Moschionos Peri gynaikeion pathon, id est…De morbis muliebribus liber unus; cum CONARDI GESNERI… scholiis & emendationibus nun primum editus opera ac studio CASPARI WOLPHII.

Basel: Thomas Guarinus, 1566.

The earliest text specifically for midwives, based on the teachings of Soranus, the greatest obstetrical writer of antiquity. Muscio was a pupil of Soranus. His book, the earliest copy of which is a manuscript dating from circa 900 CE preserved in the Royal Library of Brussels (Brussels MS 3714), is arranged in catechism form; it was first published as above and in Caspar Wolff’s Gynaeciorum, 1566 (No. 6011). A Greek–Latin bilingual text was edited by F. O Dewez, Vienna, 1793. Until the 19th century Moschion was lauded as the greatest obstetrical writer of antiquity while Soranus’s works remained hidden. See V. Rose, Sorani Gynaeciorum vetus translatio latina, Leipzig, 1882, No. 12200.

  • 288

Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum: Olim ab Edoardo Wottono, Conrado Gesnero, Thomaque Pennio inchoatum: Tandem Tho. Movfeti Londinâtis operâ sumptibusque maximis concinnatum, auctum, perfectum: Et ad vivum expressis iconibus suprà quingentis illustratum.

London: ex. off. typ. Thorn. Cotes, 1634.

Edited for publication, and with an introduction by Théodore de Mayerne. Moffet, or Muffet, travelled extensively in Europe and kept copious notes of his observations on insects. He "first studied silkworms while working in Italy, beginning his continued fascination with arthropods in general, particularly spiders.[4] He is most well known for editing and expanding the work Insectorum sive Minimorum Animalium Theatrum (Theatre of Insects), an illustrated guide to the classification and lives of insects.[1] Although he is popularly believed to have authored it, he merely inherited and furthered its progress toward publication, which would not occur until thirty years after his death. The book contained significant contributions by other scientists, notably the Swiss scientist Conrad Gesner (1516–65).[1] The prime reason it was published posthumously was that the English market for books on natural science was weak at the time. It appears that it was ready for the press in 1589 or 1590. The original title page (unused) is dated 1589. His negotiations with printers in The Hague failed in 1590. The original illustrations were given up as too expensive and replaced with the wood cuts that appear in the 1634 edition." (Wikipedia article on Thomas Muffet, accessed 04-2017). To date, this was the best work of its kind and it set a new standard of accuracy in the study of the invertebrates. An English translation, Theater of Insects, appeared in 1658. Digital facsimile of the 1634 edition from the Internet Archive at this link.

Subjects: ZOOLOGY › Arthropoda › Entomology, ZOOLOGY › Illustration
  • 1809.1

Opera botanica per duo saecula desiderata vitam auctoris et operis historiam cordi librum quintum cum adnotationibus Gesneri in totum opus ut et Wolphii fragmentum historiae plantarum Gesnerianae adiunctis indicibus iconum tam olim editarum... ex bibliotheca C.J. Trew. Nunc primum in lucem edidit et praefatus est Casimirus Christophorus Schmiedel. 2 vols.

Nuremberg: J. M. Seligmann, 17541759.

Stricken with the plague at the age of 49, Gesner was unable to complete his Historia plantarum (See No. 1807.) His collection of botanical watercolors changed hands several times until they were acquired by the physician-scholar, Cristoph Jakob Trew who arranged to have them published as woodcuts and engravings in 1754-59. A second edition appeared in 1771. The watercolors then disappeared from view until they were “rediscovered” at the University of Erlangen in 1929. More recently 187 of the 700 watercolors were published in color facsimile with extensive commentary, and transcription of the manuscript notes as: Conradi Gesneri historia plantarum. Faksimileausgabe, hg. von H. Zoller, M. Steimann & K. Schmid. 8 vols., Dietikon-Zürich, Urs Graf, 1972-80. The same publishers also issued the complete series of 700 watercolors in facsimile as Historia plantarum: Gesamtausgabe herausgegeben von Heinrich Zoller und Martin Steinmann. 2 vols., 1987-1991. Digital facsimile from Google Books at this link.

Subjects: BOTANY, BOTANY › Botanical Illustration
  • 11216

Conrad Gessner: A bio-bibliogaphy. By Hans Wellisch.

J. Soc. Bibliography nat. Hist., 7, 151-247, 1975.

Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographies of Individual Authors, NATURAL HISTORY › History of Natural History
  • 9739

Conrad Gessner's "Historia animalium": An inventory of Renaissance zoology.

Meppel, Netherland: Krips Repro B.V., 1977.

Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographies of Individual Authors, NATURAL HISTORY › History of Natural History, ZOOLOGY › History of Zoology
  • 6948

Conrad Gessner's Private Library by Urs B. Leu, Raffael Keller and Sandra Weidmann.

Leiden: Brill, 2008.

Includes a study of Gessner's library in the context of libraries in 16th-century Zurich, and a catalogue of the library, with listings of lost books and lost manuscripts, known from Gessner's correspondence or from annotations in other books. The catalogue of 395 items describes the detailed annotations that Gessner wrote in many of the volumes. As Gessner's library was eventually dispersed after his death, this catalogue is the result of the scholars' many years' of efforts at its reconstruction by identifying surviving volumes.

Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Catalogues of Physicians' / Scientists' Libraries