Waring Historical Library Inaugural Theses

The 1,858 inaugural medical theses in the Waring Historical Library collection are, in the words of John Harley Warner, "one of the finest extant collections of antebellum American medical theses."

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Organogeny or the science of organisation

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will be instructive to trace our predecessors through the rugged path which conduced to such truths, when we will be then better able to judge to what further inferences they lead.

It was long the subject of disputation whether the old adage of omne vivum ex ovo was not rather the expression of a preconception, than the literal announcement of the law of creation. The spiritual nature of man appeared a priori to suffer in the event of an origin so material as this, and the denial of the existence of an ovum in the human species and other classes of mammalia, seemed the natural inference which the premise evolved.

It was towards the end of the seventeenth century, that Regnerus de Graaf, in his dissertation “De Meulierum Organis generationi Inservientibus”, first announced the presence of an ovum in quadrupeds and in man;* but the vehement resistance he encountered in the angry debates with Swammerdam exemplifies the uncertainty that still invested a truth which his experiments had already divulged in one of its phases.

Having detected, in the uterus of rabbits, ova which had acquired considerable development, De


  • De Graaf believing the vesicles of the ovary to be ova, and finding them in all animals, says: “Ova in [illegible] animalium genere reperiri confidenter asserimus; quandoquidem ea non tantum in avibus, piscibus tam oviparis quam viviparis; sed etiam in quadruprdibus, ac homine ipso evidentissime conspiciantur. De Mulier: Org: Cap. XII. P. 229.

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