Presentation copy of the first edition of one of Montpellier physician Pierre Chirac's earliest books, an essay on the structure of human and other mammalian hair. Chirac's approach to the microscopic examination of mammalian hair was to compare its structure to that of an onion, observing superficial macro analogs, including a cartilaginous "capsule" and a glandular membrane. Chirac observes that hairs, like feathers, are tubular, with a hollow medullary cavity that he theorizes is filled with a matrix comprised of cerebral material—brain matter. Chirac examines most closely the whiskers of cats and dogs, and presents his arguments systematically, concluding with a folding engraved plate that illustrates the similarities between a dog's whisker and an onion. Chirac also discusses the diseases of hair and associated treatments. Chirac was accused of plagiarizing the work of a former Montpellier colleague, Placide Soraci, and though the case reached the assizes, it was never adjudicated. Our exemplar is a presentation copy by Chirac, with a few authorial corrections in ink in the text and extensive manuscript notes, dated 1689 (in another hand?) on verso of title. A single copy located in an American library (Harvard Countway).
Montpellier: Gontier, 1688.
12mo, 142 x 83 x 12 mm (binding); 142 x 82 x 11 mm (text block). A-L6, π1 (folding plate); 123,  pp. Contemporary limp vellum, titled in manuscript on spine: Des | che | veux. Covers worn and cockled, holes in upper free endpaper, probably from ink acidification. Interior: Title with small hole, affecting the letter P in Professeur; scattered stains and minor foxing passim. A good, unsophisticated copy.
Presentation copy from Chirac (Ex dono author penned to recto of upper free end).