St John's College MS N.22 (James 546)

William Heberden, Lectures on poisons. English, 1749.

'Three lectures containing some observations on the history, nature, and cure of poisons. Read at the college of physicians on the 24th, 25th & 26th of august, 1749. By W. Heberden M.D. Fellow of St John's College Cambridge.' The physician William Heberden (1710-1801) took his BA from St John's in 1728, was elected a Fellow in 1731, and received his MD in 1738. He moved to London in 1748 and was elected to the Royal Society in the following year. The text in this manuscript formed the Goulstonian lectures, which Heberden delivered to the Royal College of Physicians in 1749. To Medical Transactions, Heberden later contributed numerous papers, including his celebrated work on angina pectoris. His most important work, Commentaries on the History and Cure of Diseases, was published by his son in 1802 and became a medical classic. In his later years, Heberden attended both Dr Johnson and George III.

Manuscript extra information

250 x 200mm. [3], 85, [5] folios (the text is written on the rectos only). Paper. Elegant 18th-century copperplate hand throughout (not Heberden's autograph). Binding: 18th-century gold-tooled and sprinkled calf over pulpboard; all edges gilt; pink, green, yellow, and blue marbled endpapers; red label on spine with gilt lettering 'Lectures on poisons'; rebacked and resewn by J.P. Gray & Son, Dec. 1971.

The inscription 'St John's College Library' in an 18th-century hand on the front flyleaf suggests that this manuscript may have been a gift of the author. Three former classmarks (Nn.4.11, Nn.4.12, Gg.9.25) appear on the same flyleaf, crossed through. College bookplate (1700) inside front board.