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Johann Jacob Wecker
WECKER, Johann Jacob.

WECKER, Johann Jacob.
(1528 - 1586)

(Born: Basel, Switzerland, 1528; Died: Colmar in Elsass, Switzerland, 1586) Swiss physician & philosopher.

Wecker was a professor of logic and Latin at the University of Basel, before becoming a physician. He moved to Colmar, where he distinguished himself in treating the victims of the plague in 1565 and was made first physician of the city. He authored books on alchemy, pharmacy, cooking, & medicine.

Biographical references: ADB. Biographie Universelle: 44, 419. DBA: I 1338, 16-17. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 2, 533. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon, 1884-8: 6, 215-6. J÷cher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51: 4, 1839. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 29. WBI.

De Secretis Libri XVII, 1582

1. Latin, 1582 [First edition].
De Secre- | tis Libri XVII. | Ex variis authoribus collecti, me- | thodiceque digesti. | Per | Ioannem Iacobvm Vveckervm | Basiliensem, Medicum Colmariensem. | Acce▀it Index locupleti▀imus. | Cum Gratia & Priuilegio. | [ornament] | BasileŠ. | M. D. LXXXII.

8░: xlviii, 962 (i.e., 960) p., woodcut device of Peter Perna on title, many woodcut illus. in the text.

Very rare. The book is partly an encyclopedia of all sciences, mainly physical, chemical, medical, and astrological, and partly a vast collection of various recipes. Wecker's Secretis is perhaps the most widely used and frequently reprinted "book of secrets". It is essentially an encyclopedia of recipes and trade secrets, collected from about 150 different authors. It includes secrets of metals, of glass, of jewels, and how to counterfeit them, of meteors, as hail, rain, snow, thunder, lightning, tempests, and the like, of sciences, natural magic, mathematics, music, and astrology; secrets mechanical; secrets of sports, delights and recreations, etc. A large portion of the text deals with cookery. This first edition appears to be very rare, with Ferguson stating that he had never seen a copy.

Bibliographical references: BL [incomplete copy]. BM/STC German: 907. Caillet, Manuel, 1912: 3, no. 11368. Duveen, Bibliotheca Alchemica et Chemica, 1965: p. 612. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 2, 534. Graesse, TrÚsor de Livres Rares, 1859-69: 6, pt. 2, 427. NLM 16th Century Books (Durling): no. 4707. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 29. Thorndike, History of Magic, 1923-58: 6, 215-6.

2. Latin, 1587 [2nd edition].
De secretis libri XVII. Ex variis authoribus collecti, methodiceque digesti, & tertium iam aucti per Ioan. Iacobvm Weckervm ... Accesit index locupletissimus ... Basileae, Ex officina Pernea, 1587.

8░: [8], 902, [33] p. illus. Printer's device; head and tail pieces; initials.

Very scarce. Wecker's encyclopaedia of all sciences was first published in Basle by Perna in 1582 and throws much light on 16th century practises. Johann Jacob Wecker (1528-86) was a physician at Basle and Colmar and wrote a number of popular medical works. The present work, his best known, was reprinted many times and soon translated into French and English. It derives in part from the work attributed to Alessio Piemontese De secreti first published at Venice in 1555 and later translated into Latin by Wecker in 1559.

Bibliographical references: Adams, Cambridge Books, 1967: W-38. BL. Caillet, Manuel, 1912: no. 11368n. NLM 16th Century Books (Durling): no. 4708. VD16 [no copy listed]. Weil Catalogs: cat. 8, no. 286. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6710.

3. Latin, 1588 [3rd edition].
De secretis libri XVII. Ex variis authoribus collecti, methodiceque digesti, & aucti per Ioan. Iacobvm Vveckervm, Basiliensem, Medicum Colmariensem. Accessit Index Iocupletissimus. Cum Gratia & Priuilegio. Basileae, Ex officina Pernea, 1588.

8░: )(8 a-z8 A-Z8 Aa-Ii8 KK2; ??l.; [16], 865, [30] p., illus., diagrs. Wecker's epistle dedicatrory to Baron Lazarus Svendius is dated, Colmar, 1st August 1582. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL.

4. Latin, 1592 [4th edition].
De | Secretis | Libri XVII. | Ex varijs authoribus collecti, metho- | diceque digesti, et terti¨m | iam aucti | per Ioan. Iacovvm Vveckervm, | Basil. Med. olim Colmar. | Accessit Index locupletissimus. | Cum Gratia & Priuilegio. | [ornament] | Basileae | Ex Officina | Pernea. | [rule] | cI[Backwards C] I[Backwards C] xcii.

8░: [8], 902, [34] p., woodcuts, diagrs., illus.

Very scarce. Reprint, for the most part page-for-page, of the same publisher's edition of 1587.

Bibliographical references: BL. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6711.

5. Latin, 1598 [5th edition].
De | Secretis | Libri XVII. | Ex variis Authoribus collecti, metho- | diceq; digesti, & aucti | Per | Ioan. Iacobvm Vveckervm, | Basiliensem, Medicum Colmariensem. | Accessit Index locupletissimus. | [ornament] | BasileŠ, | Typis Conradi Waldkirchii, | sumptibus Episcopianorum. | [rule] | cI[Backwards C] I[Backwards C] xciiix.

8░: )(8 a-z8 A-V8 X4 (X4 blank); ??l.; [16], 667, [27] p. (p. [694] blank): ill. (woodcut). Waldkirch's device (Heitz 201) on title page.

Very scarce. Based in part on the Secreti of Alessio Piemontese, also ascribed to Girolamo Ruscelli. Includes bibliography and index.

Ruscelli, Girolamo, d. ca. 1565. / Alessio, Piemontese, b. ca. 1471. Derived in part from the work attributed to Alessio Piemontese (probably pseud. of Girolamo Ruscelli), the first ed. of which bore title: De' secreti del reverendo donno Alessio Piemontese sei libri. Venezia, S. Bordogna, 1555. First translated into Latin and published, with additions, by Wecker under title: D. Alexeii Pedemontani De secretis libri sex ... Ex italico in latinum sermonē nunc primum translati per J. J. Weckerum. BasileŠ , 1559. cf. Melzi, Mazzuchelli, Graesse, Brunet, J÷cher, Brit. Mus. Catalogue, Hirsch, etc.

Bibliographical references: BL. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6712.

6. Latin, 1604 [Another edition].
De | Secretis Libri XVII. | Ex varijs Authoribus collecti, metho- | diceq; digesti, & aucti | Per | Ioan. Iacobvm Vveckervm, | Basiliensem, Medicum Colmariensem. | Accessit Index locupletissimus. | [ornament] | BasileŠ, | Typis Conradi Waldkirchii, | sumptibus Episcopianorum. | [rule] | cI[Backwards C] I[Backwards C] civ.

8░: )(8 a-z8 A-V8; ??l.; [15], 667, [27] p., illus.

Very scarce. A reprint, for the most part page for page, of the same publisher's edition of 1598.

Keckermann, Bartholomaus. Systema compendiosum totius mathematices.

Bibliographical references: BL. Graesse, TrÚsor de Livres Rares, 1859-69: 4, 427. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6713.

7. Latin, 1613 [Another edition].
De | Secretis | Libri XVII. | Ex varijs Authoribus collecti, metho- | diceq; digesti, & aucti | Per | Ioan. Iacobvm Vveckervm, | Basiliensem, Medicum Colmariensem. | Accessit Index locupletissimus. | [ornament] | BasileŠ, | Typis Conrad Waldkirchii, | sumptibus L. K÷nig. | [rule] | cI[Backwards C] I[Backwards C]c xiii.

8░: [16], 668, [27] p., illus. Text cuts and diagrams. Head- and tail-pieces. Large device on title.

Very scarce. Derived in part from the work attributed to Alessio Piemontese (probably pseud. of Girolamo Ruscelli), the first edition of which bore title: De' secreti del reverendo donno Alessio Piemontese sei libri. Venezia, S. Bordogna, 1555. First translated into Latin and published, with additions, by Wecker under title: D. Alexeii Pedemontani De secretis libri sex ... Ex italico in latinum sermone nunc primum translati per J.J. Weckerum. Basileae, 1559. cf. Melzi, Mazzuchelli, Graesse, Brunet, Jocher, Brit. mus. Catalogue, Hirsch, etc.]

"It is arranged in a most systematic manner, and in this respect is superior to all the others..." Esoterica 5244. "Recueil de secrets et recettes mÚdicales, de dissertations sur Dieu, les anges et les dÚmons, les astres et les ÚlÚments, les sciences, la magie, l'astrologie,etc." Krivatsy/NLM 12624 (1604 ed. with same printer and page count, noting it is an exact reprint of the 1598 ed.)

Bibliographical references: BL. Caillet, Manuel, 1912: 11368. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 2, 534n. Ferguson, Histories of Inventions, 1981: 1, 35. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6714.

8. Latin, 1629 [Another edition].
De | Secretis | Libri XVII. | Ex variis Authoribus collecti, metho- | diceque digesti, & aucti | per | Joan. Jacobum Weckerum, | Basiliensem, Medicum Colma- | riensem. | Accessit Index locupletissimus. | [ornament] | BasileŠ, | Sumptibus Ludovici Regis. | [rule] | M. DC. XXIX.

8░: [16], 667, [27] p., illus. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6715.

9. Latin, 1642 [Another edition].
De | Secretis | Libri XVII. | Ex Variis Authoribus Col- | lecti, methodiceq; digesti, & aucti | Per | Joan. Jacobum Weckerum, | Basiliensem, Medicum Colma- | riensem. | Accessit Index locupletissimus. | [ornament] | BasileŠ, | Sumptibus Ludovici Regis. | [rule] | M DC XLII.

8░: [15], 667, [27] p.: illus.

Very scarce. A page for page reprint of the same publisher's edition of 1629.

Bibliographical references: BL.

10. Latin, 1662 [Another edition].
De | Secretis | Libri XVII. | Ex Variis Authoribus | Collecti, methodiceque digesti, | & aucti | Per | Joan. Jacobum Weckerum, | Basiliensem, Medicum Colma- | riensem. | Accessit Index locupletissimus. | [ornament] | BasileŠ, | [rule] | Sumptibus Ludovici Regis. | Excudebat Joh. Rodolphus Genath. | M DC LXII.

8░: [15], 667, [27] p., illus. Page size: 190 x 120 mm.

Very scarce. A reprint, for the most part, page for page, of the same publisher's edition of 1629.

Bibliographical references: BL.

11. Latin, 1701 [Another edition].
De secretis libri XVII. Ex variis auctoribus collecti, ... atque tertia hac editione non wolum ab innumeris menis, obscuritateque purgati, sed & Theodore Zvingeri... Additionibus e pharmacia & chymia utilissimis aucti. Basel, J.L. K÷nig, 1701.

8░: [calderon]2 A-3C8 3E6; ??l.; [12], 764, [32] p., c75 woodcut illus.

Very scarce. New edition edited by Theodore Zwinger (see Ferguson II, 575-6) with a preface by the publisher dated 1701 of this important work of secrets. Wecker (1528-1586) was a popular physician and author of various medical, pharmaceutical and other works. The present work is "A book of miscellaneous secrets, drawn from a variety of named authorities, which had a great vogue" (Duveen). The later part of the work deals with secrets of chemistry, physics, mechanics, etc. (with illustrations) [6] leaves, 764 pp., [19] leaves (last 3 blank). With about 75 text woodcuts. Some foxing. ž Blake 483; Neu 4294; Duveen 613; Ferchl 569; Ferguson, Books of Secrets I, 13-16; Rosenthal 891.

Bibliographical references: BL.

French Editions

12. French, 1586 [First edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature. Recueilis de divers autheurs & divisez en 17, livres. Lyon, B. Honorati, 1586.

8░: [16], 1086, [91] p., diagrs. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL.

13. French, 1606 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de natvre. Recueillis de diuers autheurs, & diuisez en XVII. liures, par Jean Jacqves Uvecker ... Traduits en franšois, selon la traduction latine: reueu, & corrigÚ de nouueau ... Tovrnon, C. Michel, & T. Sovbron, 1606.

8░: *8 A-Eeee8 Ffff6 (Ffff6 blank); ??l.; 8 p.l., 1246 [i.e. 1146], [49] p. illus., diagrs. Notes Signatures:

Very scarce. Translated from the Latin of Wecker whose first edition bore title: D. Alexeii Pedemontani De secretis libri sex ... Ex italico in latinum sermone nunc primum translati per J. J. Weckerum. BasileŠ, 1559. Wecker's work is in part derived from that attributed to Alessio Piemontese (probably pseud. of Girolamo Ruscelli) first published with title: De' secreti del reverendo donno Alessio Piemontese sei libri. Venezia, S. Bordogna, 1555. cf. Melzi, Mazzuchelli, Graesse, Brunet, J÷cher, Brit. mus. Catalogue, Hirsch, etc. Error in paging: p. 890-989 omitted.

Bibliographical references: BL.

14. French, 1614 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature. Recueillies de divers autheurs, & divisez en xvii livres. Rouen, chez C. Le Villain, 1614.

8░: [16], 858, [45] p., diagrs. and other illustr. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6716.

15. French, 1620 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature, recueillies de divers autheurs & divisez en XVII. livres Rouen, M. de Preaulx, 1620.

8░: [16], 858, [45] p., diagrs. Printer's mark on title page. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL.

16. French, 1627 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature, recueillies de divers autheurs, & divisez en XVII. livres. Reveu, corrige, augmente & mis en meilleur ordre que les precedentes impressions. Rouen, [C.] Le Villain, 1627.

8░: [16], 1012, [41] p., illustr. Printer's mark on title-page. Title-page printed in red and black. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL.

17. French, 1633 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature recueillies de divers auteurs et divisez en XVII Livres. Rouen, Claude Le Villain, 1633.

8░: 1012 p. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL.

18. French, 1639 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature, recueillies de divers autheurs, & divisez en XVII livres. Reveu, & corrige, augmente & mis en meilleur ordre que les precedentes impressions. Rouen, L. du Mesnil, 1639.

8░: [16], 1012, [41] p., illustr. Title-page printed in red and black. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 6717.

19. French, 1651 [Another edition].
Les Secrets et Merveilles de Nature, recueillies de divers Autheurs. Livre non seulement necessaire aux curieux, ains Ó tous ceux qui font frofession des Arts Liberaux, et Subtiles Inventions ... reveu, corrigÚ, et augmentÚ ... Rouen, 1651.

12░: with numerous woodcuts. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL. Zeitlinger & Sotheran, Bibliotheca Chemico, 1921-52: 2, 269, no. 5297.

20. French, 1652 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature, recueillis de diuers autheurs, & divisez en XVII livres. Lyon, Chez Simon Rigaud ..., 1652.

8░: [48], 904 p. ill.

Very scarce. Edited by Pierre Meyssonier. A translation of De secretis libri XVII.

Bibliographical references: BL.

21. French, 1653 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature, recueillis de divers autheurs & divisez en XVII livres. Reveu, & corrige, augmente, & mis en meilleur ordre que les precedentes impressions. Lyon, S. Rigaud, 1653.

8░: 48], 904 p., illustr. Printer's mark on title-page. Title-page printed in red and black. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL.

22. French, 1680 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature, recueillis de divers auteurs, & divisez en XVII livres. A Rouen, Chez Jacques Lucas ..., 1680.

8░: [16], 1012, [41] p. ill.

Very scarce. A translation of De Secretis libri XVII. Edited by Pierre Meyssonier.

Bibliographical references: BL.

23. French, 1699 [Another edition].
Les secrets et merveilles de nature: recueillis de divers auteurs, & divise en xvii libres. order que les precedentes impressions. Rouen: Jean-Baptiste Resongne, 1699.

8░: [16], 1012, [41] p. Page size: 166 x 112 mm.

Very scarce. "Livre non seulement necessaire aux curieux, mais a ceux qui sont presession des arts liberaux, art militaire & subtiles inventions."

Bibliographical references: BL.

English Edition

Eighteen Books, 1660

24. English, 1660 [English transl.].
[Contained within a single rule box:] Eighteen Books | [rule] | Of the | [rule] | Secrets | [rule] | Of | [rule] | Art & Nature, | [rule] | Being | [rule] | The Summe and Substance of | [rule] | Naturall Philosophy, | [rule] | Methodically Digested. | [rule] | First designed by John Wecker Dr in Physick and now | [rule] | much Augmented and Inlarged by Dr R. Read. | [rule] | A like work never before in the English Tongue. | [rule] | [Printer's device] | [rule] | London | [rule] | Printed for Simon Miller at the Starre in St Pauls | [rule] | Church-yard. 1660.

[Engraved title page reads:]

[Contained within an elaborate frame incorporating seven portraits of leading scientists including Johann Wecker and the translator R. Read:] Secrets | Of | Art | And | Natvre.

4░: π1 a4 B-Xx4 χ2; 193l.; [8], 1-346, [12] p., engraved title containing seven portraits by Gaywood and numerous woodcuts in the text.

Contents: [2 pgs/=π1], Blank, verso title page incorporating seven portraits.; [2 pgs/=a1], Title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs/=a2], "To The | Reader."; [3 pgs/=a3r-a4r], "A Summary view of the whole Work."; [1 pg/=a4v], "Authors made use of in this Treatise."; 1-346 (=B-Uu6v), Text.; [8 pgs/=Xx1r-Xx4v], "The Alphabeticall Table."; [3 pgs/=χ1r-χ2r], Publisher's list.; [1 pg/=χ2v], Blank.

Very rare. Considerablly augmented translation by R. Read of De secretis libri XVII. It contains many original contributions by the translator as well as many woodcuts in the text. The secrets of metals including some minerals and fossils are treated in book ten, while Book XII treats the secrets of jewels including methods of both counterfeiting them as well as detecting fakes.

Bibliographical references: BL. Ferguson, Histories of Inventions, 1981: Suppl. 3, ??. Zeitlinger & Sotheran, Bibliotheca Chemico, 1921-52: 2, 269, no. 5296.

Pedemontani Translation

Secretis Libri Septem, 1603

25. Latin, 1603 [4th edition].
D. Alexii | Pedemontani | De Secretis | Libri Septem: | A Ioan. Iacobo | Weckero, Doctore Medico, ex | Italico sermone in Latinum con- | versi, & multis bonis Secretis | aucti diligentiusq; ca- | stigati. | Accessit eiusdem Vveckeri opera, octavus | de artificiosis vinis liber. | Editio Qvarta. | [ornament] | BaseleŠ, | Sumptibus Lvdovico KŘnig. | [rule] | cI[Backwards C] I[Backwards C] ciii.

8░: A-Z8 Aa8 Bb4; ??l.; 361, [25] p.

Very scarce. Wecker's book of secrets went through many editions and was translated into several languages. He distinguished himself in treating the victims of the plague in 1565 and was made first physician of the city of Colmar. Besides secrets, this work, first published in 1582, treats of angels and demons, magic, elements, and astrology. This edition not in Caillet, Duveen, or Ferguson.

Bibliographical references: BL.

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