Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

Return to main Biobliography page

BOREL, Pierre.

(1620 – 1689)

(Born: Castres, Languedoc, France, 1620; Died: Paris, France, 1689) French physician, chemist & mineralogist.

Borel studied medicine at Montpellier and opened a practice at Castres in 1641. In 1653 he went to Paris, where a year later he was appointed physician to the King. He actively studied throughout his life the fields of chemistry, optics, astronomy, philology and bibliography, and is known today for his writings on these subjects. Furthermore, he was an avid collector of all types of objects both natural and artificial, which during his lifetime he assembled into a large and varied cabinet. Borel was the first author to write a bibliography of chemistry Bibliotheca Chimica (Paris, 1653) and an early history of the telescope De Vero Telescopii Inventore (The Hague, 1656).

Biographical references: ABF: I 127, 271-303. Bonnaffé, Dictionnaire des Amateurs Français, 1884. DBF: 6, 1095 [by J. Boyer]. DSB: 2, 305-6 [by E. Farber]. Feller, Biographie Universelle, 1851. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon, 1884-8: 1, 632. Hoefer, Histoiré de la Chimie, 1866-9. Niceron, R.P., "Pierre Borel", Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire des hommes illustres dans la republique des lettres avec un catalogue resumé de leurs ouvrages, 36, (1736), 218-24. Poggendorff: 1, col. 240. Puech-Milhau, M., "??", Revue du Tarn, 4th Series, 7, (1936), 279-80. WBI.

Les Antiqitez, 1649

1. French, 1649 [First edition].
Les | Antiqitez, | Raretez, Plantes, Mineraux, | & autres choses considerables de la Ville, & | Comté de Castres d'Albigeois, & des lieux | qui sont à ses environs, auec l'Histoire de | ses Comtes, Euesques, &c. | Et un recueil des Inscriptions Romaines, & autres | antiquitez du Languedoc, & Prouence. | Auec le Roolle des principaux Cabinets, & autres | raretez de l'Europe. | Comme aussi le Catalogue des choses rares de Maistre | Pierre Borel, Docteur en Medecine | Autheur de ce Liure. | [ornament] | A Castres, | Par Arnavd Colomiez, Imprimeur du | Roy, & de la Ville, 1649.

2 parts in one volume. [Part 1] 8°: π4 e4 A-H4 (E1 signed D1); 40l.; [16], 1-64 p.; [Part 2] 8°: π4 I-Z4 Aa-Cc4 Dd3; 79l.; [8], 1-150 p. Woodcut arms on title page, repeated on the first leaf of the second part.

Contents: [Part 1] [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [4 pgs], Dedication.; [2 pgs], "Av Lectevr."; [7 pgs], "In Musæum Petri Borelli D. | Medici, Castrensis."; [1 pg], "Table des Chapitres: du premier Liure."; 1-64, Text.

[Part 2] [1 pg], Sectional title page, "[ornament] | Les | Antiqvitez, | Et Raretez, De | La Ville, Et Comté | De Castres D'Albigeois. | Livre Second."; [1 pg], Blank.; [4 pgs], "A Messievrs."; [2 pgs], "Table des Chapitres du Livre second."; 1-149, Text.; 150, "Pseavme."

Rare. In part one of this work, Borel gives a history of Castres, France, his home town, which is a tract of considerable historical significance. Included are several chapters describing the minerals, flora and fauna of the surrounding area. Appended as the second part of the treatise is a catalog describing the contents of Borel's natural history cabinet that contained animals, plants, minerals, rarities, and musical and scientific insturments. Preceeding the catalog is an 8 page list of other European museums and private collections arranged by city.

Ghost edition: The 1645 edition listed by some bibliographies is most likely a phantom.

Facsimile reprint, 1973: Les antiquités de Castres, avec le rôle des principaux cabinets et autres raretés de l'Europe. Genève, Minkoff Reprint, 1973. 8°: 64, [8], 150 p. [ISBN 2826601504.]

Bibliographical references: BL [576.b.28.]. Brunet: 1, 1112-3. Cabinets de Curiosités: no. 53. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 70. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 271.

2. Latin, 1666.
Hortus seu armamentarium simplicium, mineralium, plantarum & animalium, ad artem medicam utilium. Cum brevi et accurata, iuxta celeberrimos authores, eorum etymologia, descriptione, loco, temperie & virigus ... Castres, Bernard Barcoudan, 1666.

8°: [8], 384, [4] p., woodcut vignette of a basket of fruit on title. Page size: 174 x 106 mm

Rare. First edition, rare, of Borel's last work, a catalogue of over 500 plants, minerals, animals, and other substances used in medicine. Each entry describes the plant etc., its habitat, its medical virtues, and other properties. There is at least one, and usually more than one citation of authorities ranging from Galen and Dioscorides to Fuchs and Mattioli.

Bibliographical references: BL [957.l.12.]. NLM 17th Century Books (Krivatsy): 1575. NUC.