Gray's Anatomy: Wikis


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Henry Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body  
Author Henry Gray
Illustrator Henry Vandyke Carter
Country England
Language English
Subject(s) Human anatomy
Publication date 1858
An illustration from the 1918 edition

Henry Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, commonly shortened to Gray's Anatomy, by Henry Gray, is an English-language human anatomy textbook widely regarded as a classic work on the subject.

The book was first published under the title Gray's Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical Theory in the United Kingdom in 1858, and the following year in the United States. While studying the anatomical effects of infectious diseases, Gray contracted smallpox from his dying nephew and died at the age of 34, shortly after the publication of the 1860 second edition. Work on his much-praised book was continued by others and on 26 September 2008, the 40th British edition of the book and accompanying website was published under the editorship of Professor Susan Standring.



The British anatomist Henry Gray was born in 1827. He studied the development of the endocrine glands and spleen and in 1853 was appointed Lecturer on Anatomy at St George's Hospital Medical School in London. In 1855 he approached his colleague Henry Vandyke Carter with his idea to produce an inexpensive and accessible anatomy textbook for medical students. Dissecting unclaimed bodies from workhouse and hospital mortuaries through the Anatomy Act of 1832, the two worked for 18 months on what would form the basis of the book. Gray's death came just three years after the publication of his Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical. In England, it appears that Gray published the first two editions himself, in 1858 and 1860. Longman's claims to have begun publishing Gray's Anatomy since 1863.[1] This coincides with the publishing date of the third English edition of Gray's Anatomy.[2]


American Editions

The American rights were purchased by Blanchard and Lea, who published the first U.S., or "American Editions" of Gray's Anatomy in June 1859, after the American publishing rights were purchased by Blanchard and Lea, whose company became Lea & Febiger in 1908. Lea & Febiger continued publishing the American editions until the company was sold in 1990.[3]

The First American publication was edited by Richard James Dunglison, whose father Robley Dunglison was physician to Thomas Jefferson.[4] Dunglison edited the next four editions. These were: the Second American Edition (February 1862); the New Third American from the Fifth English Edition (May 1870); the New American from the Eighth English Edition (July 1878); and the New American from the Tenth English Edition (August 1883). Dr W.W. Keen edited the next two editions, namely: the New American from the Eleventh English Edition (Sept. 1887); and the New American from the Thirteenth English Edition (Sept. 1893).

In September 1896 reference to the English edition was dropped, and it was published as the Fourteenth Edition, edited by Bern B. Gallaudet, F.J. Brockway, and J.P. McMurrich, who also edited the Fifteenth Edition (Oct. 1901). The Sixteenth Edition (October 1905) was edited by J.C. DaCosta, and the Seventeenth (Sept. 1908) by DaCosta and E.A. Spitzka. Spitzka edited the Eighteenth (Oct. 1910) and Nineteenth (July 1913) editions, and in October 1913, R. Howden edited the New American from the Eighteenth English Edition. The "American" editions then continued with consecutive numbering from the Twentieth onwards, with W.H. Lewis editing the 20th (Sept. 1918), 21st (Aug. 1924), 22nd (Aug. 1930), 23rd (July 1936), and 24th (May 1942). C.M. Gross edited the 25th (Aug. 1948), 26th (July 1954), 27th (Aug. 1959), 28th (Aug. 1966), and 29th (Jan. 1973). Carmine D. Clemente edited and extensively revised the 30th edition (October 1984).[5] With the sale of Lea & Febiger in 1990, the 30th edition transpired to be the last American Edition.

Discrepancies in Numbering of American and British Editions

The mismatch between British and American edition numbering led to the existence, for many years, of two main "flavors" or "branches" of Gray's Anatomy: the U.S. and the British one. This can easily cause misunderstandings and confusion, especially when quoting from or trying to purchase a certain edition. For example a comparison of publishing histories shows that the American numbering kept roughly apace with the British up until the 16th editions in 1905, with the American editions either acknowledging the English edition, or simply matching the numbering in the 14th, 15th and 16th editions. Then the American numbering crept ahead, with the 17th American edition published in 1908, while the 17th British edition was published in 1909. This increased to a three year gap for the 18th and 19th editions, leading to the 1913 publication of the New American from the Eighteenth English, which brought the numbering back into line. Both 20th editions were then published in the same year (1918). Thereafter, it was the British numbering that published ahead, with the 21st British edition in 1920, and the 21st American edition in 1924. This discrepancy continued to increase, so that the 30th British edition was published in 1949, while the 30th and last American edition was published in 1984.[2][6 ]

Most recent available editions

An illustration from the 1918 edition.

The 40th edition of Gray's Anatomy was published in September 2008 by Elsevier under the Churchill Livingstone imprint in both print and on-line versions.[7] The 39th edition of Gray's Anatomy was published in November 2004 under the Churchill Livingstone (UK) and C.V. Mosby (U.S.) imprints, and was also made available in CD-ROM format.[8] This is now only available via suppliers other than Elsevier.[9]

Companion publications such as Gray's Anatomy for Students, Gray's Atlas of Anatomy (and package versions containing both), and Gray's Anatomy Review have also been published. [10]

Older editions of the book continue to be reprinted and sold. On the World Wide Web, there are many offers for what seem to be reprints of the 1901 (probably U.S.) edition. Although such prints may serve artistic uses because their companion illustrations and anatomical cross sections are renowned for their rustic and often haunting presentation, they no longer represent up-to-date anatomical understanding, as much less was known at the time.

Henry Gray wrote the original version of Gray's Anatomy with an audience of medical students and physicians in mind, especially surgeons. For many decades however, precisely because Gray's textbook became such a classic, successive editors made major efforts to preserve its position as possibly the most authoritative text on the subject in the English language. Toward this end, a long-term strategy appears to have been to have the book contain a fully comprehensive account of the anatomical and medical understanding available at the time of publication of each edition. Given the explosion of medical understanding in the 20th century, it is easily appreciated that this led to a vast expansion of the book, which threatened to collapse under its own weight in a metaphorical and physical sense. From the 35th edition onward, increased efforts were made to reverse this trend and keep the book readable by students. Nevertheless, the 38th edition contained 2,092 pages in large format.[11]

Newer editions of Gray's Anatomy (and even several older ones) are still considered to be about the most comprehensive and detailed books of such type on the subject.[12]

The senior editor of the latest, 40th, edition of Gray's Anatomy book and accompanying website is Professor Susan Standring, who is Emeritus Professor of Anatomy at King's College London.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Longman publisher's profile". Retrieved 2009-10-08.  
  2. ^ a b Roger Warwick & Peter L. Williams, ed (1973). Gray’s Anatomy (35th ed.). London: Longman.   p.iv (Previous Editions and Editors - listings)
  3. ^ Lea & Febiger in Tredyffrin East Town Historical Society History Quarterly Digital Archives, pp.68–70 (Source: April 1999, Vol. 37, No.2, pp.63–70)
  4. ^ Gray's Anatomy: The Jefferson Years in Jeffline Forum, September 2003
  5. ^ Carmine D. Clemente, ed (1985). Gray’s Anatomy (30th ed.). Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. ISBN 0-8121-0644-X.
  6. ^ Carmine D. Clemente (1985) (American Editions of Gray's Anatomy - listings)
  7. ^ a b "Elsevier: Gray's Anatomy, 40th Edition: Standring".  
  8. ^ Description of 39th edition per earlier edit of this article
  9. ^ E.g. of one supplier per Google search - but there are others. See also libraries and second-hand bookshops
  10. ^ List of publications, including companion publications to Gray's Anatomy
  11. ^ Gray's Anatomy : The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery (British Edition. 38th Ed) (Hardcover) Amazon
  12. ^ 'Gray's Anatomy' is back after major surgery, By Glenn O'Neal, Posted 4/10/2005,

Further reading

  • Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, 40th edition (2008), 1576 pages, Churchill-Livingstone, Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-443-06684-9
  • Richardson, Ruth. The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy, (2008). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199552991
  • Hayes, Bill. The Anatomist: a True story of Gray's Anatomy, (2007). Ballantine. ISBN 978-0345456892

External links

Simple English

Henry Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body (or Gray's Anatomy) is an English-language human anatomy textbook.

It was first called Gray's Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical in the United Kingdom in 1858, and in the United States in 1859.

Other websites

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  • Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery, 39th edition (2004), 1600 pages, Churchill-Livingstone, ISBN 0-443-07168-3 — the U.K version.
  • Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, 39th edition (2004), 1627 pages, C.V. Mosby, ISBN 0-443-07168-3 — the U.S. version.
  • Online version of Gray's Anatomy from Yahoo


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