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Duverney [Du Verney], Joseph-Guichard

1. Dates
Born: Feurs, Loire, 5 Aug. 1648
Died: France, 10 Sept. 1730
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 82
2. Father
Occupation: Physician
His father, Jacques, was a village doctor.
Perhaps I should pause with that designation as village doctor, but I will stick with the general proposition that physicians were affluent when there is no evidence to the contrary.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: Avignon, M.D.
He went to Avignon to study medicine in 1662 and received his medical degree in 1667. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Anatomy, Zoology
Subordinate: Entomology, Embryology
The only major work written by Duverney alone and published during his lifetime was his Traité de l'organe de l'ouie (1683), the first thorough, scientific treatise on the human ear. He read numerous papers to the Academy of Sciences, of which the most important are a group dealing with the circulatory and respiratory systems in cold-blooded vertebrates. After his death a number of anatomical works were published from his papers.
Three anatomical structures are sometimes given Duverney's name. They are an incisura in the cartilage of the external auditory meatus, the pars lacrimalis musculus orbicularis oculi and the one commonly known as Bartholin's glands.
He was involved in the study of generation, and in his old age he studied insects.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Government, Academia
Secondary: Patronage
Shortly after 1667 he went to Paris, where he jointed the "Parisians", a group of anatomists, and probably assisted Claude Perrault in dissections.
He was elected to full membership of the Académie des Sciences in 1676.
He was appointed to the chair of anatomy at the Jardin du Roi in 1679.
He taught anatomy to the Dauphin and then, for a year, to leading aristocratic members of the court. The dauphin arranged for Duverney's admission to the Académie.
Duverney had a gift for making medical issues comprehensible to the general public, especially the female public.
Duverney did not practice medicine.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Aristrocrat
He occasionally gave lessons in anatomy to the Dauphin and to aristocratic members of the court. Through the influence of the Dauphin he gained admission to the Académie.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: None
Virtually all of the sources agree in saying that Duverney consistently refused to practice medicine because it would divert him from his anatomical studies.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, 1676-1730
He began to attend the weekly scientific meetings at the house of the Abbé Bourdelot. At these meetings he often spoke on anatomical subjects.
He was an important member of the "Parisians", a group of anatomists, who collaborated with each other to an uncommon degree, regularly performing dissections as a group and collectively reviewing both the text and plates before publishing their collaborative work. He was a close friend of Claude Perrault, the leader of "Parisians."
He began to connect with the Académie des Sciences in 1674, and was elected to full menbership in 1676.
He corresponded with Malpighi, Bidloo, Boerhaave, and Pitcairne.
  1. Renauldin, Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne, vol. XII, (Paris, 1855). CT153 .B6
  2. Fontenelle, "Eloge", Oeuvres, new ed., vol. VI, (Paris, 1742).
  3. Hoefer, Nouvelle biographie générale, 15, 552-4.
  4. J.A.Hazon, ed., Notice des hommes les plus celebres se la Faculte de Medecine en l'Universite de Paris, Paris 1778, pp. 151-7.
  5. Dictionnaire de biographie française, 12, 1038-9.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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