1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #001987
[Works, in Latin]. I. Arcana naturae detecta. Leiden: Henrik van Kroonevelt, 1695. , 568,  pages, including engraved additional title, 27 engraved plates of which 15 are folding and several engraved illustrations in text. Paper only very little browned, very minor spotting, plate to p.548 shaved some mm into the plate mark, ownership signature to title page.
II. Arcana naturae, ope & beneficio exquisitissimorum microscopiorum. ... una cum discursu & ulteriori dilucidatione; epistolis suis ad ... philosophorum collegium ... editio altera. Leiden: Cornelius Boutestein, 1696. , 3-58 (i.e. 64), 258 (i.e. 260) pp., including etched additional title by Romeyn de Hooghe, 11 engraved plates of which 5 are folding and several engraved illustrations in text. Title page soiled and with ownership inscription.
[bound with] III. Continuatio epistolarum... editio altera. Leiden: Cornelius Boutestein, 1696. , 124 pp., 10 engraved plates of which 2 are folding.
[bound with] IV. Continuatio arcanorum naturae detectorum. Leiden: Henrik van Kroonevelt, 1697. , 192,  pp., 7 engraved plates, one folding.
Four works bound in two volumes. 4to (195x153 mm). Contemporary mottled calf with 5 raised bands richly gilt in compartments (boards rubbed, extremities worn, corners bumped, Vol. 1 front joint cracked at top), light toning of paper (IV a bit heavier), scattered very minor spotting and stains. Provenance: Signature of Thomas Molyneux in both volumes (p.1 of I, p.3 of II) and marginalia in his hand to p.564 of I, p.1 and final fly leaf verso of IV. Kenneth Rapoport, ex-libris to front paste downs of both vols. The four works constitute the complete set of Leeuwenhoek's letters 28 to 107 in Latin. The remaining letters in Latin were not published before 1719.
I. Dobell 25; Norman 1319; PMM 166; Sparrow 128; NLM/Krivatsy 6785; Waller 10877. - FIRST EDITION OF LETTERS 84-92 and first Latin edition of letters 32-33, 37, 39-41, and 61-83.
II. Dobell 22 (first edition only); Waller 10878; Norman 1320 (3rd edition). - Dobell, Antony van Leeuwenhoek and his "little animals" London, 1932 (Dobell 25a), confusingly states that this is the second edition of Arcana naturae detecta (1695), whereas it is in fact the second edition of Anatomia seu interiora rerum (1687) containing letters 28-31, 34-36, 38, and 42-52.
III. Dobell 24(a); Waller 10883. - Second Latin edition (first published in 1689). Contains letters 53-60, in order, with continous pagination but unnumbered.
IV. Dobell 26; Eimas Heirs 590; Norman 1321; Waller 10880; Wellcome III, p.477. - First Latin edition. A continuation of the Arcana naturae detecta (1695). Contains letters 93-107, all numbered and with continous pagination.
Leeuwenhoek was one of the first and greatest microbiologists. He discovered protozoa and bacteria and was the first to describe spermatozoa and red blood corpuscles. The first independent part of this celebrated collection of letters addressed to the Royal Society.These letters incorporate his epoch-making experiments with the MICROSCOPE, and his researches and discoveries opened up a new era of scientific investigation and earned him the title "Father of Protozoology and Bacteriology". Many of the letters are of outstanding importance and include his account of the animalcula.
The personal copy of Thomas Molyneux (1661-1733), Irish physician, professor of Physic at Trinity College and fellow of the Royal Society of London. The visit of Molyneux to Leeuwenhoek's home in 1685 on behalf of the Royal Society to inspect his microscopes is well documented in the literature. Molyneux gave a report of his visit in a letter dated February 13, to the secretary of the Royal Society, Francis Aston. It was read at a February meeting:
"I have hitherto delayed, answering your last, because I could not give you an account of Mynheer LEEWENHOECK; but last week I was to wait upon him in your name: he shewed me several things through his microscopes, which 'tis in vain to mention here, since he himself has sent you all their descriptions at large. As to his microscopes themselves, those, which he shewed me, in number at least a dozen, were all of one sort, consisting only of one small glass, ground, (this I mention because 'tis generally thought his microfcopes are blown at a lamp, those I saw, I am sure, are not) placed between two thin flat plates of brafs, about an inch broad, and an inch and a half long. In these two plates there were two apertures, one before, the other behind the glass, which were larger or smaller, as the glass was more or less convex, or as it magnified. Just opposite to these apertures on one side was placed sometimes a needle, sometimes a slender flat body of glass or opaque matter, as the occasion required, upon which, or to its apex, he fixes whatever object he has to look upon; then holding it up against the light, by help of two small screws, he places it just in the focus of his glass, and then makes his observations. Such were the microscopes, which I saw, and these are they he shews to the curious that come and visit him; but besides these, he told me he had another sort, which no man living had looked through setting aside himself; these he reserves for his own private observations wholly, and he assured me they performed far beyond any, that he had shewed me yet; but would not allow me a sight of them, so all I can do is barely to believe, for I can plead no experience in the matter. As for the microscopes I looked through, they do not magnify much, if anything, more than several glasses I have seen, both in England, and Ireland: but in one particular, I must needs say, they far surpass them all, that is in their extreme clearness, and their representing all objects so extrordinary distinctly, for I remember we were in a dark room with only one window, and the sun too, was then off of that, yet the objects appeared more fair and clear, then any I have seen through microscopes, though the sun shone full upon them, or though they received more then ordinary light by help of reflective specula or otherwise: So that I imagine 'tis chiefly, if not alone in this particular, that his glasses exceeds all others, which generally the more they magnify the more obscure they represent the object; and his only secret I believe, is making clearer glasses, and giving them a better polish then others can do. I found him a very civil complaisant man, and doubtless of great natural abilities; but, contrary to my expectations, quite a stranger to letters, master neither of Latin, French or English, or any other of the modern tongues besides his own, which is a great hindrance to him in his reasonings uppon his observations, for being ignorant of all other mens thoughts, he is wholly trusting to his own, which, I observe, now and then lead him into extravagancies, and suggest very odd accounts of things, nay, sometimes such, as are wholy irreconsileable with all truth. You see, Sir, how freely I give you my thoughts of him, because you desired it." (Dobell, p.57).
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