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: April 29, 2024

WILLIS, Thomas

10 entries
  • 2464
  • 5020

Diatribae duae medico-philosophicae, quarum prior agit de fermentatione sive de motu intestino particularum in quovis corpore, altera de febribus sive de motu earundum in sanguine animalium.

London: T. Roycroft, 1659.

Includes (De febribus, cap. X, XIV) first description of epidemic typhoid. English translation in his Practice of physick, 1684, Treatise II, 83-98, 1111-18.

Contains the earliest suggestion that fermentation is an intestinal or internal motion of particles; the analogy between putrefaction and fermentation is also noted.


Subjects: INFECTIOUS DISEASE › Salmonellosis › Typhoid Fever, MICROBIOLOGY, Zymology (Zymurgy) (Fermentation)
  • 1378

Cerebri anatome: cui accessit nervorum descriptio et usus.

London: typ. J. Flesher, imp. J. Martyn & J. Allestry, , 1664.

The most complete and accurate account of the nervous system which had hitherto appeared, and the work that coined the term, “neurology". In its preparation Willis was helped by his students Richard Lower and Thomas Millington, and its illustrations are by the architect, Sir Christopher Wren, making this one of the earliest scientific collaborations in England. Willis’s classification of the cerebral nerves held the field until the time of Soemmerring. The book includes (Cap. I and plates 1, 2) the description of the “circle of Willis”, and of the eleventh cranial nerve (“nerve of Willis”). Willis recognized the sympathetic system and accepted the brain as the organ of thought. English translation by S. Pordage, 1681. The anatomy of the brain and nerves. Tercententary edition, ed. by W. Feindel, 2 vols, Montreal, 1965, reprints this translation with a complete annotated bibliography of the work. Wepfer (No. 2703) and others preceded Willis in giving a detailed and complete description of the “circle of Willis”.

Subjects: ANATOMY › Anatomical Illustration, ANATOMY › Neuroanatomy, NEUROLOGY, NEUROSCIENCE › NERVOUS SYSTEM › Brain, including Medulla: Cerebrospinal Fluid
  • 4839

Affectionum quae dicuntur hystericae e hypochondriacae pathologia spasmodica vindicata…

London: Jacob Allestry, 1670.

In this treatise on hysteria and hypochondria, Willis showed that hysteria was a nervous disease and not a uterine disorder as had been traditionally believed. He compared hysteria in women to hypochondria in men. He considered the key feature of hysteria to be the “fit” or episodic disturbance of sensation short of “universal convulsions” and classified it under convulsive diseases. This caused hysteria to be linked with epilepsy as in Charcot’s hybrid, “hystero-epilepsy”.

Subjects: NEUROLOGY › Epilepsy, PSYCHIATRY › Hysteria, PSYCHIATRY › Neuroses & Psychoneuroses
  • 1544
  • 4513
  • 4730
  • 4793
  • 4919
  • 4966

De anima brutorum

Oxford: R. Davis, 1672.

Chap. XIV is devoted to the sense of hearing; in it Willis described the “paracusis of Willis” (p. 73). English translation, 1683.

A probable description of myasthenia gravis is given in Pars. 2, Cap. IX.

In Pars 2, Cap. III is an account of lethargy, and Cap. XIII gives an account of “stupidity or foolishness”. Part 2, Cap. 1, deals with headache.

Two Oxford editions were published in 1672; the first, in quarto, in which a description of general paralysis appears on pp. 392-432, and the second, in octavo, in which it appears on pp. 278-307. In his Practice of Physick (1684) the translation of this section appears on pp. 161-78.

Subjects: NEUROLOGY, NEUROLOGY › Chronic Pain › Headache, NEUROLOGY › Diseases of the Nervous System, NEUROLOGY › Myopathies, NEUROLOGY › Paralysis, OTOLOGY › Physiology of Hearing, PAIN / Pain Management, PSYCHOLOGY
  • 3926
  • 5086

Pharmaceutice rationalis sive diatriba de medicamentorum operationibus in humano corpore. 2 vols.

London: Robert Scott & Oxford: e theatro Sheldoniano, 16741675.

Willis’s last work deals with the anatomy and physiology of the thoracic and abdominal organs, and contains the first description of the superficial lymphatics of the lungs, the first clinical and pathological account of emphysema, and a clear and accurate description of pertussis (whooping-cough). The book also contains the first distinction between diabetes mellitus, characterized by glycosuria, from diabetes insipidus, in which sugar is not present in the urine. Willis noted that psychogenic factors, such as grief or sadness, could bring on diabetes. The second volume, published posthumously, includes a life of the author.

Three versions of Willis’s book were published simultaneously: A quarto version with the imprint of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, another quarto version with the London imprint of Robert Scott added, and a duodecimo edition

"Epidemiorum et ephemeridum libri duo, pars secunda" in vol. 2 contains (p. 99) a description of “puerorum tussis convulsiva, chincough dicta” – a clear account of whooping cough (Treatise IX, pt. 2, p. 38 of his Practice of physick, 1684).


Subjects: INFECTIOUS DISEASE › Whooping Cough, Metabolism & Metabolic Disorders › Diabetes
  • 62

Opera omnia. 2 vols.

Geneva: Samuel de Tournes, 16761680.

Willis was remarkable for his careful clinical observation. He was second only to Sydenham in his day. To him we owe the original descriptions of several conditions. Digital facsimile of the Lyon, 1681 edition from the Hathi Trust at this link.

Subjects: ANATOMY › Neuroanatomy, Collected Works: Opera Omnia, NEUROLOGY
  • 1311
  • 3165
  • 4673
  • 8104

Dr. Willis's practice of physick.

London: T. Dring, C. Harper & J. Leigh, 1684.

The only complete edition of Willis's works in English, translated by the poet Samuel Pordage. It contains the translations of all his works except his Affectionum quae dicuntur hystericae (1671). The collection includes the First Edition in English of Willis's De anima brutorum. The volume is divided into six separately paginated sections, each with its own title-leaf. Included are English versions of Willis's three great works on the brain--Cerebri anatome, Pathologiae cerebri and De anima brutorum--as well as his clinical and pharmaceutical treatises. In Treatise III, pp. 128-158 Willis’s described the intercostal and spinal nerves. He described the ganglion chain as the “intercostal nerve” and thought it came from the head.

In addition to his invaluable work in the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, Willis was the first to distinguish true diabetes mellitus, and showed that the polyuria was not due to any disease of the kidneys. He anticipated the recognition of hormones in the circulation of his suggestion that the phenomena of puberty were due to a ferment distributed through the body from the genitals. He discovered the superficial lymphatics of the lungs, distinguished acute tuberculosis from the chronic fibroid type and gave the first clinical and pathological account of emphysema.  The modern treatment of asthma really begins with Willis, who considered it to be of nervous origin. ("Of the convulsive cough and asthma," Treatise VIII, pp. 92-96; No. 3165). Willis was probably the first to report an epidemic of cerebrospinal fever" ("A description of an epidemical feaver, Treatise VIII, pp. 46-54; No. 4673). Transcription of the complete text from Early English Books Online at this link.

Subjects: ANATOMY › Neuroanatomy, Collected Works: Opera Omnia, EPIDEMIOLOGY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE › Tuberculosis, Metabolism & Metabolic Disorders › Diabetes, NEUROLOGY, NEUROSCIENCE › NERVOUS SYSTEM › Peripheral Autonomic Nervous System, PHARMACOLOGY › PHARMACEUTICALS
  • 11736

Thomas Willis's Oxford lectures. Edited by Kenneth Dewhurst.

Oxford: Sandford Publications, 1980.

A biographical introduction proceeds Dewhurst's edition of John Locke's transcripts of Willis's lectures from 1663-64 (Bodleian MS Locke f19) and Richard Lower's notes from the 1661-62 lectures in the Robert Boyle papers in the Royal Society.

  • 11735

Willis's Oxford casebook (1650-52) edited by Kenneth Dewhurst.

Oxford: Sanford Publications, 1981.

  • 13916

"All manner of ingenuity and industry." A bio-bibliography of Dr. Thomas Willis 1621-1675 by Alastair Compston.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.

Subjects: BIBLIOGRAPHY › Bibliographies of Individual Authors, NEUROLOGY › History of Neurology