Patrick's Rare Books

Cooper, On Hernia, 1844, First American Edition

Cooper, On Hernia, 1844, First American Edition

The Anatomy and Surgical Treatment of Abdominal Hernia. With Numerous Plates. By Sir Astley Cooper, Bart. F.R.S. Surgeon to the King, and Consulting Surgeon to Guy’s Hospital. From the Second London Edition. By C. Aston Key, Senior Surgeon of Guy’s Hospital, and Lecturer on Surgery. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard. 1844.

The first American edition from the second London edition of 1827.

Full brown leather with original boards, newly rebacked in period style. Original black title plate preserved and re-laid on new spine. Scattered scuffs, chips, and stains of original leather over boards. Hinges strong. Original end papers. Library stamps to head and tail of text block, main title, and random leaves. Toning at edges of end papers. Mild damp staining of ffep and half title. Two 19th century prior owner’s hand writing on main title. Brown rectangular stain on main title (and correspondingly on frontis) near the gutter where the leather title plate had been laying loose within the book prior to being respined. Moderate to heavy foxing, though plates relatively spared compared to their blank versos and corresponding pages of textual explanations. Binding tight throughout. Margins well retained.

Twenty-six plates. Plate xii is placed as frontis piece. Additional in-text figures.

Ffep, half title, frontis (plate xii), main title, v – xvi, 17 – 427, two blanks.

Thornton, pg 156 states this work was first issued in two parts 1804-1807 and it was “his first and greatest work.”

Waller 2114 describes the first edition (1804) in imperial folio.

G-M 3581 lists the first edition as 1807: “Cooper’s first book, luxuriously produced, in which he described for the first time the transversalis fascia, with full appreciation of its importance in hernia, as well as the superior pubic ligament with [sic: which] bears his name.” He also studied femoral and diaphragmatic hernias. The second edition includes his description of the femoral hernia which bears his name.

“...the treatise on Hernia...brought him international fame as a surgeon. … The basic daily rote of the surgery of hernia still remains as taught by him. Before his time the whole subject was confused, ill-understood and beset by quackery.” (Brock pf 73).

Sir Astley Paston Cooper, 1768 – 1841, was surgeon to Guy’s Hospital. He collaborated with Benjamin Travers (1783 – 1858) on his Surgical Essays. (Thornton pg 156).as a member of the Royal medical Society of Edinburgh (founded in 1737 as an association of students) (Thornton pg 201).

“Astley Cooper’s duties as lecturer in anatomy involved him in the difficult problem of the supply of human subjects for the students. … as a student he almost certainly took part in ‘resurrections’ himself. … It is well known that Astley Cooper was notorious in his active associations with the resurrection men and in the support he gave them. The occasions were few on which he was not paying maintenance to the families of some of them while the men were in prison for their body-snatching.” (Brock, pg 22).

Additionally, Cooper performed a successful operation, including ligation, on carotid artery aneurism (G-M 2955). In 1817 he ligated the abdominal aorta (G-M 2941). His first book was on inguinal hernia and he well-described the transversalis fascia and its importance in the surgical anatomy of hernia (G-M 3581).

Cooper requested that upon his death he be autopsied and the results published. The post-mortem examination took place at Guy’s Hospital by John Hilton (with others in attendance) and the results were published in the Guy’s Hospital Reports, 1841, 6, 229. (Brock, pg 164)