Manuscript Diploma of Doctor of Medicine for Wilhelmus Noortwyk. Leiden University, May 31, 1735

Diploma of Doctor of Medicine for Wilhelmus Noortwyk, Leiden University, 1735

Wilhelmus Noortwyk. [Diploma of Doctor of Medicine for Wilhelmus Noortwyk].


Leiden University, May 31, 1735. Manuscript on vellum, 65 x 30 cm, complete with large red lacquer seal (held in an iron container), attached to the document with a silk ribbon. Signed by the University's Secretary Jacobus Wittichius, the physicians H. Boerhaave ("decanus, & promotor"), B.S. Albinus and A. van Royen. Further with the signature of J.O. Westenberg, rector of Leiden University.


Folded thrice. Waterstained along the left vertical fold and the right outer edge, leaving the text still legible. Overall in good condition.


The original manuscript diploma of Doctor of Medicine for Wilhelmus Noortwyk (ca. 1713-1777), important Leiden anatomist. Signed by three leading physicians of the 18th century: Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738), Bernhard Siegfried Albinus (1697-1770), and Adrianus van Royen (1704-1779).


Wilhelmus Noortwyk matriculated at Leiden University on November 19, 1729, aged 18. He graduated M.D. on May 31, 1735, with a dissertation titled De natura humana, published in Leiden by Gerard Potvliet. He was a student of the great anatomist Bernhard Siegfried Albinus, renowned for his impressive preparations.


In 1743 Noortwyk published a significant work on the anatomy of the gravid uterus. For it he investigated the corpse of a young woman who died at six months gestation, and Noortwyk "apparently was the first to inject the uterine vessels of a young woman who had died near term" (Longo & Reynolds).


Cf. Lindeboom, Dutch Medical Biography, cc. 1437-1438; Longo & Reynolds, Wombs with a View, p. 124.

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