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Henry Gray (1827 -1861), and his treaty of Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical

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Henry Gray (1827 -1861),
The Treaty of
Anatomy,
Descriptive and Surgical
Rafael Romero-Reverón
Correspondence to Dr. Rafael Romero-Reverón. Department of Human Anatomy, José María Vargas
Medical School, Faculty of Medicine, Central University of Venezuela. Member of the Venezuelan
Society of History of Medicine. email: rafa1636@yahoo.es
ABSTRACT
Henry Gray (1827-1861), English anatomist and surgeon at Saint George's Hospital at London, most
notable for publishing his treaty of
Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical
. His career was developed at
Saint. Georges Hospital, from medical student to demonstrator to lecturer of anatomy, and curator
of the museum. He was Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Key words: Henry Gray, treaty of
Anatomy,
Human Anatomy, Gray’s Anatomy.
INTRODUCTION
The objective of this paper is to perform a
briefly review of Henry Gray 's contribution in
the field of human anatomy. The knowledge
of human anatomy (from the Greek word
ανατομία
(anatomē)
, which means
"dissection") composes a fundamental pillar in
the extensive and complex field of medicine.
Human anatomy has historically been a
cornerstone in medical education and this is
the field of medical studies where students
learn the fundamental language of medicine,
learn to develop understanding through
experimentation and develop skills in solving
several medical problems. Among the main
contributions in the field of learning and
teaching of human anatomy in English
language, those made by Henry Gray, stand
out. Little is known about Henry Gray’s life but
he was an outstanding anatomist notable for
publishing his treaty of
Anatomy, Descriptive
and Surgical.
Henry Gray’s childhood and his medical studies
Henry Gray was born in Belgravia, London,
England in 1827 and lived his entire life in his
family's home with his widowed mother Ann,
near the Saint George's Hospital. Facts about
his personal life are quite few. Henry Gray
came from a well off and well connected
family. He was one of four children of Thomas
Gray a private messenger to George IV and
William IV, the family apparently had no
financial problems. Basically nothing is
recorded of his preparatory education (Hayes
2008). His father's position as a royal
messenger allowed him to secure professional
training at Saint George's Hospital. where
Henry Gray registered as a student at 17 years
old. on 6 May 1845 For those who knew him
since he was a student, he was an extremely
persevering and disciplined learner and also a
systematic worker. He seemed very early to
have paid considerable attention to anatomical
studies. Henry Gray learnt his human anatomy
by the priceless method of making dissections
for himself, that rendered him an in depth
knowledge of human anatomy (Pearce, 2009).
HISTORICAL GLIMPSE
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He quickly got preference for research in
human anatomy rather than clinical practice.
While Gray was still a medical student he won
in 1848 the Royal College of Surgeons’
Triennial Prize for an essay entitled “The
Origin, Connexion, and Distribution of the
Nerves of the Human Eye and Its Appendages,
Illustrated by Comparative Dissections of the
Eye in the Other Vertebrate Animals.” Part of
this essay was incorporated into his later paper
on the development of the retina.
Henry Gray 's career as anatomist and surgeon
After completing his medical studies, Henry
Gray (Figure 1, above) remained at Saint
George's Hospital. To become a staff surgeon
at Saint George's Hospital, Gray first had to
pass the apothecaries exam, then an exam to
obtain membership in the Royal College of
Surgeons, and later a exam to become a Fellow
of the Royal College. He qualified as a member
of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1850 after
Gray had presented his paper "On the
development of the optic and uditoric nerves",
and the same year he was appointed house
surgeon at Saint George’s Hospital. In 1852 he
was selected demonstrator of anatomy. Later
in 1853 Gray was designated lecturer in
anatomy a position that permitted him to
continue his research in surgical anatomy.
Henry Gray was also curator of the Saint
George’s Hospital Museum. Gray’s career as a
surgeon and anatomist was oriented around
Saint George’s.Hospital but he was also
surgeon to Saint James’ Infirmary (Richardson
2008 and Hayes 2008). Besides his outstanding
treaty of
Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical
Gray published several papers, the earliest of
which was “On the Development of the Retina
and Optic Nerve, and of the Membranous
Labyrinth and Auditory Nerve,” these
researches were almost exclusively on the
chick embryo. He clearly revealed that the
retina develops from a protrusion of the brain,
a point then still being discussed. Gray also
presented one of the earliest major accounts of
the development of the layers of the retina. He
believed the labyrinth in the ear, develops in a
mode analogous to that of the retina. Gray’s
other anatomical paper was “On the
Development of the Ductless Glands in the
Chick,” in which he dealt with the suprarenals,
thyroids, and the spleen. On the basis of his
observations Henry Gray refused much of the
earlier writings on the embryological origin of
each of these glands. From his paper he
considered it to be confirmed that these, with
the thymus, should be classified in one group,
the ductless glands, a classification by no
means in general acceptance at that time,
which has since developed into what are now
known as the endocrine glands. He classified
these three glands on the basis of the similarity
of their mode of origin, their structure in the
first stages of development, and the mode in
which their tissues develop throughout the
fetal period (Hayes, 2008 and Pearce, 2009).
With the support of a grant from the Royal
Society, Gray continued his researches on the
spleen. These studies culminated with his
paper titled,
The Structure and Use of the
Spleen
, which was awarded the prestigious
Astley Cooper Prize in 1853, which was given
every third year by a judging panel that accepts
manuscripts of original research on a
predetermined part, pulled from a list that Sir
Astley Cooper (1768 1841) had drafted. The
spleen was current topic of inquiry and his
paper was published in 1854 (Richardson,
2008). In a historical introduction Gray
reviewed most of the preceding earlier
previous writings on the spleen. His own
observations included the origin of the spleen
from the dorsal mesogastrium, often attributed
to Johannes Müller (1801–1858) and early, if
not initial, descriptions of the closed and open
circulations, the lymphatics, and the nerves in
the spleen. He also performed chemical
experiments and ligaturing on the blood of the
spleen. This is a work of 350 pages divided into
four parts: development (embryology),
structure, comparative anatomy, and
physiology. Gray wrote others remarkable
papers as "An Account of a Dissection of an
Ovarian Cyst" (1853), "On Myeloid and Myelo-
cystic Tumors of Bone, Their Structure,
Pathology and Mode of Diagnosis" (1856) and
"Injured of the Neck" (1861). He also wrote
papers in pathology and is reputed to have
made good progress on a major treatise on
tumors at the time of his death. In May
31,1860 Henry was elected Fellow of the Royal
College in recognition of his contributions in the
field of anatomical studies. Gray was
candidate for the position of assistant surgeon
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at Saint George's Hospital in 1861 but.he never
assumed his new status because he died that
year.
Gray’s treaty of
Anatomy, Descriptive and
Surgical
In 1858 when Henry Gray was only 31 years
old, and after almost a decade of research he
published the first edition of his treaty of
Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical
, which
covered 750 pages and contained 363 figures
(Rifkin and Ackerman 2006). The arrangement
of the information and the close relation
between the text and the illustrations were
Gray’s work and demonstrate his clear
understanding of the fundamentals of his field
of study. The Gray’s ability to present, to
students and practitioners alike, the practical
information which they needed in an accessible
form. This accessibility has been one of the
great factors in the Gray anatomy's success
and has influenced others writers of human
anatomy textbooks. The first edition of
Gray's
Anatomy was dedicated to the most senior
surgeon of the Saint George's Hospital Sir
Benjamin Collins Brodie (1783 1862),
Serjeant-Surgeon to the Queen and
corresponding member of the Institute of
France. Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie was Gray’s
mentor and no doubt helped his rapid rise in
the hospital staff (Gray 1974). Henry Gray
wrote the original version of
Gray's Anatomy
with an audience of medical students and
physicians in mind, especially surgeons.
Despite the existence of competing anatomical
texts, Gray’s anatomy quickly became the
standard reference work, a position which still
retains currently Gray's treaty of
Anatomy,
Descriptive and Surgical
was created in
collaboration with Henry Vandyke Carter
(1831-1897), an anatomical artist and medical
doctor and formerly a demonstrator of
anatomy at Saint George’s Hospital, who
assisted him with dissections to get the most
accurate representation possible.and he
provided illustrations (Roberts 2000). Gray and
Carter dissected unclaimed bodies during
eighteen months from the mortuaries under
the Anatomy Act of 1832 to explore human
anatomy. Carter's drawings were then made
into engravings by Butterworth and Heath.
Carter made his meticulous line drawings
accented by shadow to create the appearance
of depth. Because of Henry Vandyke Carter's
illustrations, this treaty of
Anatomy,
Descriptive and Surgical
became superior to
any other human anatomy text around at the
time (Gosh 2015).
Figure 2. Second cervical vertebra, or epistropheus,
from above view. (Henry Vandyke Carter's
illustrationAdapted from Gray’s Anatomy. Anatomy
Descriptive and Surgical 1918 Edition.
Figure 3: Cover of Gray’s
Anatomy
39th
Edition.
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The artistic and the diagrammatic combine
impeccably with Carter's added innovations of
the anatomical terms appearing on the parts
themselves (Figure 2). Unfortunately, Henry
Vandyke Carter never received any credited
neither royalties for his painstaking work. The
literary style apparently was greatly polished
by the assistance of Timothy Holmes, who also
was editor of the third (1863) through ninth
(1880) editions of the Gray’s anatomy. A major
Holmes innovation, which greatly aided the
success of the book was the introduction of
remarks on surgical anatomy into an English
textbook of anatomy. Holmes probably more
than any single person over the next twenty
years help keep Gray’s legacy alive. The
reviews of the first edition of
Gray's
Anatomy
in the medical press were excellent. Within a
week,
The Lancet
review called it “
a work of no
ordinary labor” and commented that it
“demanded the highest accomplishments both
as anatomist and surgeon for its successful
completion… . There is not a treatise in any
language in which the relations of anatomy and
surgery are so clearly and fully shown
.” The
British Medical Journal
characterized
Gray's
as
far superior to all other treatise on anatomy,
a book which must take its place as THE
manual of Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical
,”
(Hayes, 2008). After
Gray's
death, a second
British edition appeared in 1861 by the editor
J.W. Parker,with a number of revisions and
corrections by Gray and with 32 additional
illustrations, 27 of them by JG Westmacott
(1811-1884). An imprint of this English first
edition was published in the United States in
1859, with slight alterations, in which an
extensive index was added and a number of
small errors in the British volume were
corrected, edited by Richard James Dunglison
who also edited the next four editions.. Colored
pictures were introduced in the eleven edition
in1897, by its editor T. Pickering Pick. The book
was retitled Gray's Anatomy in 1938.The thirty
five edition of 1973 edited by Peter Williams
and Roger Warwick contained substantial
changes: over 780 new pages appeared and
many illustrations were added, the text was in
double columns. The references were
introduced by Professor Susan Standring also
in 1973 and she is currently the editor of the
Gray’s Anatomy 39th edition (Figure 3). This
treaty is still published under the title
Gray's
Anatomy
and is widely appreciated as an
extraordinary and authoritative textbook for
medical students (Pearce 2009). It has to date
seen thirty nine editions in United Kingdom and
thirty seven editions in the United States. It has
been translated no more than a dozen
language, been pored over generation after
generation of medical students, and sold
millions of copies.
Gray's Anatomy
has never
been out of print in more than 150 years. It has
been reprinted and revised by varying teams of
anatomists It is a practical textbook that would
remain useful long after the student entered
their professional world.
Gray's Anatomy
main
relevant point would be its emphasis on
surgical anatomy. Henry Gray was working on
the second edition of his treaty of
Anatomy,
Descriptive and Surgical
when he
caught smallpox from his nephew and although
he had been vaccinated, Henry Gray died at the
age of 34 on June 13, 1861 in London, 3 years
after the first edition of his treaty was
published (Richardson 2008). At that time, it
was common practice to burn everything in the
room of a smallpox victim. Thus, no written
records of Gray exist. He was buried at
Highgate Cemetery in London ( Hayes 2008
and Pearce 2009). Henry Gray was a pioneer
and a prodigy of modern descriptive and
surgical human anatomy. He had an
outstanding career at Saint Georges Hospital
from demonstrator to lecturer of anatomy and
also curator of the museum (Netter and
Friedleander 2014). A precisely illustrated
work, Gray’s treaty of
Anatomy, Descriptive
and Surgical
is as beautiful as it is practical, and
is still highly valued as an authoritative
textbook in the field of human anatomy. that
has influenced and instructed many student of
medicine over more than 150 years . Gray’s
Anatomy has undergone many refinements
and revisions throughout the years, but it is
substantially still the same brillant work.
Despite the aforementioned efforts to keep
Gray's Anatomy
readable by students, when
the 39th edition was published, students were
identified as a secondary market for the
textbook, and companion publications such as
Gray's Anatomy for Students
,
Gray's Atlas of
Anatomy
and
Gray's Anatomy Review
have also
been published in recent years.
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p. 1257.
3. Hayes B. 2008 The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray's Anatomy. New York: Ballantine Books.
p. 272
4. Netter FN, Friedleander G. 2014. Frank H. Netter MD and a brief History of Medical Illustration
Clin Orthop Relat Res 472: 812-819.
5. Pearce J. 2009. Henry Gray's Anatomy. Clin. Anat. 22:291295.
6. Richardson R. 2008. The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy: Bodies, Books, Fortune, Fame. New
York: Oxford University Press; p. 322.
7. Rifkin B., Ackerman M. 2006 Human Anatomy (From Renaissance to the Digital Age). HNA
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8. Roberts S. 2000. Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter: creators of a famous textbook. J Med
Biogr. 8:206-12.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Little is generally known of Henry Gray, the author of Gray's Anatomy, and even less of his colleague Henry Vandyke Carter, who played a vital role in the dissections and illustrations leading to the production of the first volume in 1859. This essay attempts to sketch briefly the salient, know aspects of these two men and their divergent careers. It traces succinctly the subsequent fate of the unique anatomy book that has influenced and instructed almost every student of medicine. Clin. Anat. 22:291-295, 2009. (C) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Evolutions in Anatomy illustrations: a Study from Classic Period in Europe to Modern
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Gosh S. 2015. Evolutions in Anatomy illustrations: a Study from Classic Period in Europe to Modern Times Anat Sci Educ; 8. p. 175-188.
Gray's Anatomy. Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical 1901 Edition
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Gray H. 1974. Gray's Anatomy. Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical 1901 Edition. Running Press. p. 1257.
The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray's Anatomy
  • B Hayes
Hayes B. 2008 The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray's Anatomy. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 272
Frank H. Netter MD and a brief History of Medical Illustration
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  • G Friedleander
Netter FN, Friedleander G. 2014. Frank H. Netter MD and a brief History of Medical Illustration Clin Orthop Relat Res 472: 812-819.
The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy: Bodies
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Richardson R. 2008. The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy: Bodies, Books, Fortune, Fame. New York: Oxford University Press; p. 322.
Human Anatomy (From Renaissance to the Digital Age). HNA books
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  • M Ackerman
Rifkin B., Ackerman M. 2006 Human Anatomy (From Renaissance to the Digital Age). HNA books, New York, p.297-306. ISBN o-8109-5545-8.