Send-Brieven, zoo aan de hoog-edele Heeren van de Koninklyke Societeit te Londen, Als aan andere aansienelyke en geleerde lieden, over verscheyde Verborgentheden der Natuure,Namentlyk over het Wonderlyk Gestel van de Veselen der Spieren in veelderley Gedierte; De Pesen en derselver Werking; Verscheyde Zaden; 't Oog van een Walvis; 't Hair; De Dierkens aan het Eende-Kroost; ... &c.

Eur 5,500 / USD 5,700
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Delft, Adriaan Beman, 1718. Small-4to (203 x 155mm). pp. (14), 460, (28), with 1 engraved frontispiece and 31 (12 folded) engraved plates. Contemporary red morocco, richly gilt spine and covers, gilt edges (tiny worming at foot of spine).

the first to see and describe Bacteria, Red Blood Corpuscles, Spermatozoa

A beautifully bound copy of the first edition. "... Dutch pioneer in microscopy, the first to see and describe Bacteria, Red Blood Corpuscles, Spermatozoa" (Horblit 65). A complete set of the second series of Leeuwenhoek's famous letters ("Send-brieven", numbered I-XLVI) to the Royal Society of London which is the last volume of his collected work. The attractive frontispiece by J. Goeree shows the portrait of Leeuwenhoek held by an angel. A complete set of the first Dutch edition contains letters 28-146 and the here offered I-XLVI.
The letters in the Dutch language preceded the Latin versions and are thus from a collector's point of view far more desirable than the Latin edition.
In 1672 Leeuwenhoek began to make his own microscopes with extremely powerful lenses, with which he examined innumerable organic and inorganic structures. Regner de Graaf introduced him to the Royal Society in 1673, and from then on for half a century he wrote long letters to the Society in which he described a vast array of discoveries. He was the first to observe, inter alia, the red blood cells, and he saw the passage of blood from the arteries to the veins in the fin of a fish in 1688. This event was the final proof of Harvey's circulation theory. He first described, in about thirty letters, micro-organisms, including bacteria, protozoa, and rotifers. His discovery of unicellular life made him the father of Microbiology. At the suggestion of the medical student Johann Ham, Leeuwenhoek examined seminal fluid and observed spermatozoa, which he called 'little animals' (animalcula). He was convinced that man was preformed in them, and thus started a long-running debate with the Harveian school. He is one of the greatest figures in the history of microscopy, and is with Hooke the only seventeenth-century microscopist about whose technique anything is known.

Provenance: Bookplates of Pierre Lambert, Docteur Flandrin and H.F. Bienfait.

Dobell no. 20 (page 394).