The Special Collections of the History of Science Library currently focus on early modern natural history, medicine, and occult sciences, particularly books with unique annotations or enhancements. Our collection includes one of the surviving less than ten copies of Wolfgang Ambrosius Fabricius’s treatise on the doctrine of signatures, Ἀπορημα βοτανικον: de signaturis plantarum (1653), as well as a copy of the first edition of Levinus Lemnius’s book on the herbal allegories in the Bible, Similitudinum ac parabolarum (1568).

We also have several books with interesting provenance stories. In our collection, you will find an eighteenth-century Moleskine: a copy of the popular almanac Rider's British Merlin (1729) bound with parchment pockets, filled with the owner’s memoranda, bills, and recipes. Our most recent acquisition was an author-corrected copy of Histoire des plantes vénéneuses de la Suisse (1776), given to the author Philippe Rodolphe Vicat by the publisher and botanist Joseph-Ferdinand Lex, a friend of the renowned Swiss physician Albrecht von Haller.

As a library dedicated to Open Research, we aim to make our collections entirely digitised and open access. All our digitised images are licensed under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 International License.

We are not digitisation professionals and don't have professional equipment, so please bear with us regarding the quality of iPhone-taken images. Due to the limited time and resources, we only digitised the bindings, provenance marks, annotations and enhancements, graphs and illustrations, and selected pages of most of our collections. We hope to offer a complete digitisation of our Special Collections in the future. If you would like to know more about our collections or visit them in person, please feel free to email

For more information on the History of Science Library, visit

Recently Added Items

Histoire des plantes vénéneuses de la Suisse


Pierre Rodolphe Vicat, Histoire Des Plantes Vénéneuses de La Suisse, Contenant Leur Description, Leurs Mauvais Effets Sur Les Hommes et Sur Les…

Basilica Chymica


Oswald Croll, Osvaldi Crollii Veterani Hassi Basilica chymica, continens philosophicam propria laborum experienta confirmatam descriptionem ... In…

Similitudinum ac parabolarum


Levinus Lemnius, Similitudinum ac parabolarum quae in Bibliis ex herbis atque arboribus desumuntur, dilucida explicatio: in qua narratione singula…

Ἀπορημα βοτανικον de Signaturis Plantarum


Wolfgangus Ambrosius Fabricius, Ἀπορημα βοτανικον de Signaturis Plantarum (Nuremberg: Wolfgang Moritz Endter, 1653). History of Science Library,…

Cl. Galeni Pergameni Ars Medica


Galen, Cl. Galeni Pergameni Ars Medica, Quae et Ars Parva Dicitur (Lugduni: Apud Guliel. Rovillium, sub scuto Veneto, 1548). History of Science…