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Two Herbals  

Reading list and websites for more information on this exhibit
Last Updated: Sep 26, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
Learn More About Two Herbals Exhibit Print Page

Rare Book Talk on Two Herbals

Rare Book Talk on Two Herbals: Picturing Nature from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

Thursday, December 7, 3 - 4 pm

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the 1517 edition of Hortus Sanitatis, a late medieval compendium with over 1,000 charming and sometimes enigmatic woodcuts of plants, animals, and birds as well as mythical creatures -- dragons, harpies, hydras, and mermen. Just 25 years later, Leonhart Fuchs published his landmark work De Historia Stirpium, 1542.  A masterpiece of the German Renaissance, this herbal has over 500 illustrations including 100 plants new to Europe, drawn and printed with precision and accuracy.

Learn more about these remarkable books – why they were published, and what they can tell us today about European natural history 500 years ago. This will be a “turning the pages” event. Participants will have an extraordinary opportunity to view and ask questions about the books. Space is limited and reservations are required.   Free. Register online   or call 215-988-1698.

 The Two Herbals exhibit is on view October 2 through December 5, 2017.


To learn more about Cucurbita images in the 1503 Prayer Book:

Paris, Harry S., Marie-Christine Daunay, Michel Pitrat, and Jules Janick. 2006. “First Known Image of Cucurbita in Europe, 1503–1508.” Annals of Botany 98 (1): 41–47.
Digital versions of  De Historia Stirpium and Hortus Sanitatis are available online:
  • De Historia Stirpium
    The the Smithsonian's digitized facsimile of Fuchs's herbal on the Biodiversity Heritage Library platform.
  • Hortus Sanitatis
    Digitized version of Hortus Sanitatis from Cambridge University.

Recommended Books

Most of these books are available in the PHS Library.

Cover Art
Herbals Through 1500 - Frank J. Anderson (Editor)
Call Number: QK99 .A546i
ISBN: 0898351898
Publication Date: 1985-01-01

Cover Art
An Illustrated History of the Herbals - Frank J. Anderson
Call Number: QK99 .A546
ISBN: 1583481141
Publication Date: 1999-01-29

Cover Art
Herbals, Their Origin and Evolutions - Agnes Robertson Arber
Call Number: QK9 .A664 1970
ISBN: 1906621160
Publication Date: 1970
PHS library holds a print copy of this classic, originally published in 1912.

Cover Art
The Illustrated Herbal - Wilfrid Blunt; Sandra Raphael
Call Number: QK99 .B659i
ISBN: 0500277869
Publication Date: 1994-10-01

Cover Art
Picturing the Book of Nature - Sachiko Kusukawa
Call Number: QH46.5 .K87 2011eb
ISBN: 9780226465289
Publication Date: 2012-05-01
To access this eBook, click on book title and log on with PHS membership number.

Cover Art
The Naming of Names - Anna Pavord
Call Number: QK96 .P38 2005
ISBN: 1596910712
Publication Date: 2005-11-29

Cover Art
The Book in the Renaissance - Andrew Pettegree
ISBN: 0300178212
Publication Date: 2011-11-22

Cover Art
The Renaissance Herbal
Call Number: QK14.5 .N496 2013
ISBN: 0893279811


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