The Vesalius ‘Epitome’ of ‘De Humani Corporis Fabrica’ of 1543 -A Worldwide Census with New Findings

Stephen Joffe, MD, Veronica Buchanan, MA


The purpose of this study was to confirm the locations of known copies, and find previously unreported copies in most countries of the world of the First Edition (1543) Epitome “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” authored by Andreas Vesalius in Latin and the German translation.

 The locations of the two previous studies have been updated, and contacts were made at numerous institutions of higher learning, museums, and libraries.

 A total of 125 copies of the 1543 Epitome were recorded. Of these copies, 109 were present in a total of 82 Universities and Institutional libraries in the world. Besides confirming the presence of the Epitome at the previously recorded sites, we have found 95 were in Latin and 30 published in German, all dated 1543 and one additional dated 1555.

 More difficult to locate were private copies of the Epitome and they are very few (4%). 



Full Text:


Cushing, Harvey: A Bio-bibliography of Andreas Vesalius 2nd Edition. Hamden: Conn. Archone Books; 1963:91-93. 218-9, XVI

Pozeg, Z. I., & Flamm, E. S. (2009). Vesalius and the 1543 Epitome of his De humani corporis fabrica librorum: a uniquely illuminated copy. Papers. Bibliographical Society of America, 103(2), 199-220.

Vesalius, A. (1543) Von des menschen coerpers Anatomey (A. Torinus, Trans.). Basel: Oporinus. (Original work published 1543), Retrieved from http://www.e-rara.ch/bau_1/content/titleinfo/691196.

Vesalius, A. (1543) De Humani Corporis Fabrica Librorum Epitome. Basel: Oporinus, Wellcome Library. Retrieved from http://film.wellcome.ac.uk:15151/MaryToft/6565_F.pdf

Treaty of Versailles, Ger.-U.S.-U.K.- Fr.-It.-Jap., June 28, 1919, Article 247

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18103/mra.v2i1.360