Scientist of the Day - Rembert Dodoens
Rembert Dodoens, a Flemish physician and botanist, was born June 29, 1517. Dodoens was the first of many great Netherlandish herbalists. His first herbal, Cruydeboeck (1554), was largely derived from the herbal of Leonhart Fuchs, but later compilations began to include plants gathered in his many travels. In 1574, he became physician to the Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna, and it was there that he got the first Western glimpse of the Codex Juliana, a gorgeous manuscript edition of the herbal of Dioscorides, made for the imperial princess Juliana in Constantinople in 512 AD, and one of the oldest surviving scientific manuscripts of any kind. Some of Dodoens' later herbals contain illustrations copied from this landmark manuscript. The images above are all taken from his Cruydeboeck and show, in addition to a portrait of Dodoens and the woodcut title page, a bur-reed (first image), two water lilies (third image), and a narcissus (fourth image). In 1964, Linda Hall Library organized its second exhibition, which it did in concert with the Clendening Library at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Spencer Library at KU in Lawrence. The exhibition was called One Hundred Herbals; it was designed to show that, among the three libraries, a scholar could find nearly all of the important herbals from the first two centuries of printing. For that exhibition, Linda Hall Library supplied two editions of Dodoens Cruydeboeck (1554 and 1608), the Clendening provided the first English translation of Dodoens, A New Herball, or Historie of Plants (1595), and Spencer Library exhibited a Latin version, the Stirpium historiae (1616). That exhibition brochure, long out of print, has just recently been made available online; the various Dodoens editions are listed on page 5. Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Comments or corrections are welcome; please direct to email@example.com.