Strassburg: Martin Flach, 1513.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #2586
Strassburg: Martinus Flach, 6 March 1513. 4to (207 x 150 mm).  pp. Collation: A-N4 O6 (-O6), title with woodcut border of four blocks by Hans Baldung Grien, four full-page woodcuts comprised of two illustrations in duplicate and twenty smaller woodcuts. Colophon: "Argentine Martinus Flach iunior impressit ... Anno.Mcccccviij." Lacking final blank only. Leaves D2 misbound after D3, N1 after N2 and N3 after N4. Early 20th century full calf over thick wooden boards with single brass clasp, spine with three raised bands, boards ruled and decoated in gilt, binding in the style of Roesslin's dedication copy to Katherine (extremities little rubbed). Text little browned throughout, light soiling and spotting in places, light dampstaining to first three gatherings, old paper repairs to corners or blank margins of fourteen leaves (with browning of repair-paper), small wormtracks throughout (more frequent in first leaves) partially affecting text. Blank verso of title-page backed with thin paper, author's name and year added in contemporary hand, illegible old ownership inscription "Ex bibliotheca Stoles(?)". Provenance: from a French private medical library. Still a very good, wide-margined copy. ----
EXTREMELY RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE EARLIEST PRINTED TEXTBOOK ON MIDWIFERY, published by Martin Flach in Strassburg on March 6, 1513. The Hagenau edition, sometimes erroneously stated as the first edition is actually a reprint dated by Benzing ca. 1515. (see Benzing, Norman and Garrison-Morton online for correction). The Cologne edition - sometimes erroneously assigned as second Hagenau issue (which is nonexistent, see Benzing) - is dated ca. 1518. Roesslin's book is based on the manuscripts of Soranus of Ephesus who wrote in the second century AD and the c. sixth-century Moschion Codex in the Royal Library at Brussels. In all probability Roesslin got his inspiration for the illustrations of the fetus in utero from the Heidelberg Codex in the Vatican Library. Martin Flach had them cut in wood by the noted Formschneider Erhard Schön and they continued to be used by Roesslin's successors until the 18th century. The twenty woodcuts in the text present for the first time illustrations of positions of the fetus in utero, a birth chair, and twins, including Siamese twins. The figures of the fetus were derived from those found in the manuscripts by Soranus and Moschion. For almost 200 years, these woodcuts were reprinted in editions of Roesslin's work or copied in the works of later writers, including Jacques Guillemeau and Jacob Rueff. The full-page dedicatory woodcut depicts the author presenting his book to Katherine, Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg, who is thought to have encouraged Roesslin to produce the work and to whom he dedicated the volume. The binding and style of decoration of our copy is based on this presentation copy given to Katherine as depicted in the woodcut.
Eucharius Roesslin was an apothecary of Freiburg im Breisgau in 1493. In 1506 he became physician to the city of Frankfurt am Main, and in 1508 he entered service at the court of Katherine. When he published the first edition of his Rosengarten, Roesslin had become town physician and a supervisor of midwives in Worms. In 1517, he returned to Frankfurt holding the post of town physician until his death in 1526. His son Eucharius the jounger, who published the first Latin translation of the Rosengarten in 1532, succeeded him as town physician of Frankfurt. (Norman, p.51).
Thanks to the fact that two undated editions (Hagenau and Cologne) appeared around the time of the first dated Strassburg edition, the question of priority remained uncertain for long time. Benzing however has clearly shown that the two undated issues must have been of a later date. The earliest date for the first (Strassburg) edition is fixed by both, the granted imperial privilege to the author on 24. September 1512 and his dedication to the Duchess Catherine of Brunswick and Lüneburg of 20. February 1513. The woodcuts (dedication image and fetus representations) are completely identical impressions from the same originals in all the three editions. The dedication image (the author presents his book to Duchess Catherine) has the monogram "MC" (interwined) at the bottom left, according to K.W. Zülch a work of the Frankfurt-based painter Martin Kaldenbach, an assignment that appears to be correct based on its style. Rösslin - who knew Martin Kaldenbach from his first job as town physician in Frankfurt - may have mediated him with the woodcut making. The sketch then passed into the possession of Johann Knobloch of Strasbourg, who had it cut in wood and the other woodcuts manufactured by a different artist. Knobloch certainly had the first edition made by his stepson Martin Flach the Younger, to whom he had a good relationship and who had printed for him several times, however, without mentioning the publisher. Knobloch was undoubtedly a strenuous printer and publisher - the latter more as Benzing says - who not only occasionally printed for other parties, but more than this, had other printers working for him, both in Strasburg and abroad. At the time when the stock of the first (Flach's) edition was exhausted, Knobloch gave the woodcuts to Gran in Hagenau for a new edition. Benzing says that Gran did about 20 prints for Knobloch, including the Heldenbuch (book of heroes) of 1509 that appears as odd for Gran's press as Rösslins "Rosengarten" does. Further, the Heldenbuch is set in the same type (Type 13 according to Proctor) as Rösslins "Rosengarten", a type that certainly has a Strassburg character. Gran's edition of the "Rosengarten" can hardly be dated before 1515. When this edition sold out, Knobloch set up a third by Arnt von Aich in Cologne using the same woodcuts, but without mentioning publisher or printer. Based on the typography, the assignment to Arnt von Aich is without any doubt. For the same typographical presentation Benzing refers to Johannes de Sacrobosco's "Sphaera materialis" geteutscht 1519 (Weller 1270, Proctor 10577). Just the print year is questionable, as is the start of printer activity by Arnt von Aich in general. The first dated prints by Arnt von Aich are from 1519. (see Benzing 1956)
A book of extraordinary rarity. Three copies only have appeared at auction in the past 50 years of which only two were complete (the Bonhams sale of the Hellmann collection, Oct 11, 1979, lot 258 sold GBP 25,000 and Hartung & Hartung, Nov. 5, 1991, lot 172 sold DM 75,000). We can trace a total of fifteen institutional copies worldwide, with eight outside Germany only including two in the United States: 1. Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität; 2. Erlangen, Universitätsbibliothek; 3-4. Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August-Bibliothek (two copies, one incomplete); 5. Worms, Stadtbibliothek (incomplete); 6. Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum; 7. Tübingen, Universitätsbibliothek; 8. Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (incomplete); 9. London, British Library; 10. Strassburg, Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire; 11. Paris, Bibliotheque National de France; 12. Bethseda, MD, United States National Library of Medicine; 13. Syracuse University Library; 14. Montreal, McGill library; 15. Crawley, University of Western Australia.
Benzing, Zu den ersten Ausgaben des "Rosengarten" von Eucharius Rösslin. In: Das Antiquariat, vol. 12 (1956) p. 57-58;
Norman, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine. New York: The Grolier Club, 1995, no. 13, pp. 47-51;
VD16 R 2848; not in Adams; Wellcome or Norman Cat.; Bibliotheca Walleriana has only the second edition of 1513;
Garrison-Morton 6138 (incorrectly stating the first printing to be Hagenau in the printed 5th edition);
Garrison-Morton online by Jeremy Norman's historyofmedicine;
Choulant, History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration (1945) pp 73-75;
Klein G., Eucharius Rösslin's 'Rosengarten' gedruckt im Jahre 1513. Facsimile mit Begleit-Text von G.Klein (Munich 1910);
Klein G., Zur Bio- und Bibliographie Rösslins und seines Rosengartens. Sudhoffs Archiv, 1910, 3: pp. 304–34;
Stillwell, Awakening Interest in Science during the first century of printing, 507;
NLM/Durling, Sixteenth century printed books in the National Library of Medicine, 3893;
Green M. H., The Sources of Eucharius Rösslin's 'Rosegarden for Pregnant Women and Midwives' (1513). Med. Hist. 53(2), April 2009, pp. 167-192;
Radcliffe W., Milestones in midwifery. Bristol: John Wright and Sons, 1967, p.6;
Ballantyne J. W. The "Byth of Mankynde": its authors, editions and contents. London: Sherratt and Hughes, 1908;
Hellmann A. M. A Collection of Early Obstretical Books, New Haven: privately printed, 1952.
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