Updated Census in USA of First Edition of Andreas Vesalius’ ‘De Humani Corporis Fabrica’ of 1543


  • Stephen N. Joffe Joffe Foundation
  • Veronica Buchanan University of Cincinnati Libraries Henry Winkler Center for the History of Health Professions




Anatomy, Bones, Census, Dissection, Human, Vesalius, Printing, Illustrations, Physicians


The purpose of this study was to confirm the locations and find previously unreported sites in the United States of America (USA) of the First Edition (1543) of the “De Humani Corporis Fabrica’ authored by Andreas Vesalius.


Contacts were made at institutions of higher learning, museums, libraries and an update of locations of the two previous studies by Cushing in 1943 and Horowitz and Collins in 1984.


A total of 64 copies of the 1543 Fabrica were recorded in 47 Universities and Institutional libraries in the USA.  Besides confirming their presence at the previously recorded sites, we have found 18 more copies in twelve additional facilities including further two copies with colored and tinted illustrations.


The majority of locations recorded by Cushing seventy years ago and subsequently reported thirty later by Horowitz and Collins are still in their original collections.


Location of first edition Vesalius in private collections were more difficult to locate and have reduced to six from at least ten since 1984 with mainly physician owners.


Cushing, Harvey: A Bio-bibliography of Andreas Vesalius 2nd edition. Hamden: Conn.

Archone Books; 1963:91-93. 218-9, XVI

Horowitz M, Collins J: ‘A Census of Copies of the First Edition of Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), with a note on the Recently Discovered Variant Issue’. J Hist Med Allied Sci 1984, 39: 198-221

Cockx-Indestege, Elly, Andreas Vesalius: A Belgian Census Brussels, Royal Library; 1994: 160.

Garrison, Daniel H., Hast, Malcom H.: Andreas Vesalius: The Fabric of the Human Body. Published S. Karger, Basel; 2014

a. Joffe, Stephen N.: A census of the edition of 1555 of Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica, International Archives of Medicine; 2009: 2:26

b. Joffe, Stephen N., Buchanan, Veronica, An Updated Census of the Edition of 1555 of Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica in the United States of America. International Archives of Medicine; 2015: 8:1

Steeno, Omen, Biesbroeck, Maurits: Stolen and Lost Copies of Vesalius’s Fabrica. Acta Med Hist Adriat; 2012: 10:213-234

Petty, M.E., Walters, D.L.: The Milestones of Science Collection: The Public Library and the Conservation of Buffalo’s Cultural Heritage. Libraries and Culture 34.3 (Summer 1995) page 262

University of Texas at Austin (University of Texas Press)

Osler, Sir William. Bibliotheca Osleriana – A catalogue of books illustrating the listing of medicine and science. Oxford University Press, Oxford; 1929, 58

Swan Galleries New York; Sale No. 1997 Lot 368, 19th Feb 2004

Gingerich, Owen: The Great Copernicus Chase and Other Adventures in Astronomical History Cambridge University Press; 1991:71.

Pozeg, Zlatko I, Flamm, Eugene S., Vesalius and the 1543 Epitome of his de Humani Coproris Fabrica Liborum. A uniquely illuminated copy. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (PBSA). 103.2 (2009): 199-220






Medical Humanities