Patrick's Rare Books

Monro, Bursae Mucosae, 1788

Monro, Bursae Mucosae, 1788

A Description of All the Bursae Mucosa of the Human Body; Their Structure Explained, and compared with that of the capsular ligaments of the joints, and of those sacs which line the cavities of the thorax and abdomen; with remarks on the accidents and diseases which affect those several sacs, and on the operations necessary for their cure. Illustrated with Tables. By Alexander Monro, M.D. Professor of Physic, Anatomy, and Surgery, in the University of Edinburgh; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Surgery of Paris. Edinburgh: Printed for C. Elliot, T. Kay, and Co. No. 332, opposite Somerset-Place, Strand, London; And for Charles Elliot, Edinburgh. 1788.


Folio in blue-green paper over boards with brown paper spine. Brown paper title plates on front board and spine. Boards smudged. New end papers. Three leaves (including title) with marginal paper repairs. Small tears at fore-edge of Tab VIII (not affecting image). Deckled edges. Margins enormous. A few very small, ink stains. Minimal foxing and toning. Otherwise, clean, bright, and tight throughout.


New ffep, blank, title, to Royal Society and Contents, 5 – 10 text, Tab 1 (top), 11 –12 text, Tab II (top), 13 – 14 text, Tab III (top), 15 – 16 text, Tab IV, Tab V, 17 – 20, Tab VI, Tab VII, 21 – 54, Tab 8 (folding), 55 – 58, Tab 9, 59 – 60, Tab X, Tab I (bottom), Tab III (bottom, folding), unnumbered folding plate, original blank, new blank.


We have seen two states for this work. Some copies have the folding plates laid on linen so the tops and bottoms of the plates are together. In others, like this copy, the leaves were never brought together to unite the portions of the plates, so a bit of flipping and letter-hunting is necessary to correlate the images with the explanations when identifying structures.


Alexander Monro Secundus (1733 – 1817) is generally regarded as the greatest of the three Alexander Monros (they held, in turn, the Chair of Anatomy at Edinburgh from 1720 to 1846 (Thornton, 1966). Secundus studied under his father, Primus, as well as Hunter, Albinus, and Meckel the Elder. Indeed, it was Albinus who named the bursae mucosae (Heirs of Hippocrates 634 and 635).


Secundus is the one who is credited with the discovery of the eponymous Foramen of Monro in the brain (see Garrison Morton 1385, and Waller. 6645 and 6646).


G-M 399.2 “The first serious study of this subject and the most original anatomical work by the greatest of the Monro dynasty.