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Winslow, Jacob

1. Dates
Born: Odense, Denmark, 17 April 1669
Died: Paris, 3 April 1760
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 91
2. Father
Occupation: Cleric
Peder Winslow, dean of the Lutheran Church of Our Lady in Odense. Winslow was the grand nephew of Stensen.
No information about the financial status of the family.
3. Nationality
Birth: Denmark
Career: France
Death: France
4. Education
Schooling: Copenhagen, Leiden; Paris, apparently M.D. in Paris
He entered the University of Copenhagen to study theology in 1687, but rather quickly he discovered medicine.
1691-6, attended what is called Borch's College (the College of Medicine founded by Ole Borch), where he worked under a barber-surgeon named Buchwald. However, the sight of blood alarmed him, so that he never really practiced surgery (though he did write some on it). Before he left Denmark, he earned a bachelor's degree, a bachelor of medicine apparently. As usual I assume the equivalent of a B.A.
About 1696, he was prosector for Caspar Bartholin (the younger). He was soon nominated for anatomicus regius (a position he never held because of his conversion to Catholicism).
1697, with a royal grant he went abroad to study anatomy. He was in the Netherlands for fourteen months; he studied in four different cities (Leiden, Amsterdam, The Hague, Haarlem) and thus not really at any university. (I ammend that; I do not see how he could study medicine in Leiden and not be associated with the university.) He then moved on to Paris.
A few years after he arrived in Paris (in 1704 to be exact) he earned the licenciate (the equivalent of another bachlor of medicine) which carried the right to practice. In 1707 he added an M.D.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran, Catholic
Born Lutheran; converted in Catholicism in 1699, soon after he arrived in France.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Anatomy
Subordinate: Physiology, Surgery
Winslow was regarded as the greatest anatomist of the early 18th century. His Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, 1732, was translated into English, German, Italian, and Latin; by 1775 it had come out in thirty-two separate editions.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Government, Medicine, Academia
Secondary: Patronage
Winslow went to the Netherlands with a grant from the Danish government; it was terminated when he converted to Catholicism.
Bishop Bossuet and other French patrons supported him during the transitional period.
In 1704 he received the status of medical licenciate that enabled him to practice in Paris. He maintained a busy practice, and became physician to two hospitals.
He became an assistant in anatomy and surgery at the Jardin du Roi.
c.1705, Duverney took Winslow as his pensionnaire.
1708, Associate member of the Academie des Sciences. Full member in 1722.
In 1721 he was appointed Professor of Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine.
1728, Docteur-regent of the Faculty of Medicine.
1743, Professor at the Jardin du Roi; held this post until 1758.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Government Official, Eccesiastic Official, Unknown
Römer spotted Winslow when he was a student. He introduced Winslow to Mathias Moth, a privy counsellor; these two arranged the grant that enabled Winslow to travel abroad to study.
See details above for Bossuet.
For all his talent, Winslow needed patrons for the various appointments in Paris, and I have not seen who they were.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medicine
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, Berlin Academy
Member of the Academie in 1722.
Member of the Berlin Academy.
  1. Egell Snorrason, L'anatomiste J-B Winslow, 1669-1760, (Copenhagen, 1969).
  2. Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, 15, 606-7.
  3. T. Vetter, "La vie active de Jacques-Benigne Winslow," Nordisk medicinhistorisk arsbok (1971), 107-29.
  4. J.A.Hazon, ed., Notice des hommes les plus célèbres de la Faculté de Médecine en l'Université de Paris, (Paris 1778), pp. 203- 9.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. V. Maar, L'autobiographie de J.B. Winslow, (Paris and Copenhagen, 1912). _____, "Lidt om J-B. Winslow," in Festschrift til Julius Petersen.
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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