Indexes

For the first ten years of his letter publishing, Leeuwenhoek provided limited wayfinding assisitance to his readers. Many of the letters had summaries preceding the text. But it wasn't until 1695 that he published what we call an index, an alphabetical list of topics with page numbers at the end of a volume. The Lain volumes before Arcana Naturae were never indexed in this way, even in later editions.

Leeuwenhoek's first such index was a separately published pamphlet, printed by Boutesteyn in Leiden. The left sidebar (click to enlarge) displays its title page, the first page of the note to the reader (text below), and the title pages of the two parts, with this text:

Register

(Verstrekkende te gelijk voor een kort Inhoud)

Van alle de Werken van deHeer Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.

Verdeeld in twee Deelen:

Daar van het eende de stoffe die in the tien eerste Tractaten begrepen is: En het andere die van de vier vervolgen der Brieven aanwijst.

Door een Beminnaar der Natuurlijke-wetenschappen 't samen gesteld.

Index

(Providing at the same time for a short Contents)

All Works of Mr Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.

Divided into two Parts :

In the one, the things that are included in the first ten Treatises: And the other that points to the four following volumes of the Letters.

Put together by a Lover of Natural Sciences.

The two parts:

The Eerste Register Over de Werken van de Heer Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (First Index of the Works of Mr. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek) is on pages numbered 1-34.

The Tweede Register Over de Werken van de Heer Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (Second Index of the Works ...) is on pages numbered 1-29. The rest of the title reads: 't Welk Stoffe, in de Vier Vervolgen sijner Brieven bevat, aanwijst (It designates which things are contained in the Four Continuations of his Letters)

If the "Vier Vervolgen" (four continuations) in the second index are Dobell #10 Vervolg, 12 Tweede, 13 Derde, and 14 Vierde, then what are the "tien eerste Tractaten" (first ten treatises)? Dobell numbered nine, but apparently Leeuwenhoek saw them as ten. Dobell's #8 Levende Dierkens had two separately numbered sections: Letters 28 to 31 on pages 1 - 40 and then Letters 34 to 36 on pages 1 - 35. The first part had a title page and the second didn't, which was probably why Dobell treated them as one. To Leeuwenhoek, however, they were two.


Dutch editions

Beginning with Vifde Vervolg, Leeuwenhoek provided a blad-wyser, a page indicator, at the end of the volumes. The right sidebar (click to enlarge) displays their first pages:

15. Vijfde Vervolg, Letters 84 - 96

Blad-wyser of 9 unnumbered pages

Der voornaamste Zaken in dit Vyfde Vervolg der Brieven begrepen
The main Subjects included in this Fifth Contintuation of the Letters

16. Sesde Vervolg, Letters 97 - 107

Blad-wyser of 9 unnumbered pages

Der voornaamste Zaken in dit Sesde Vervolg der Brieven begrepen
The main Subjects included in this Sixth Contintuation of the Letters

In the 17th-century, the Dutch word register was used for both wayfinding tools: index and table of contents

Hexham's 1675 dictionary:

  • Index, Een Register, een wijser
  • Register ofte Tafel van een boeck, Register, Index, or Table of a book
  • Wijser, Shewer, or Demonstratour
  • Tractaet, a small book

Hexham has no entry for Blad-wyser. Sewell's 1735 dictionary has one:

  • Index, een Wyzer, Bladwyzer
  • Bladwyzer, a Table of a book
  • Trachtaat, a Treatise

Drukfouten, dus te verbeteren (on 9th page)
Printing errors, thus improving

18. Sevende Vervolg, Letters 108 - 146

Blad-wyser of 22 unnumbered pages

Der voornaamste Zaaken in dit Sevende Vervolg der Brieven begrepen
The main Subjects included in this Seventh Contintuation of the Letters

19. Send-Brieven, Letters I-XLVI

Register of 28 unnumbered pages

Register van woorden en zaaken
Index of terms and topics

Drukfouten (on 28th page)
Printing errors

20. Werken Deel I: Letters 28  - 52

none

Werken Deel II, Letters 54 - 83

Tweede Register Over de Werken van de Heer Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. 't Welk de Stoffe, in de Vier Vervolgen sijner Brieven bevat, aanwijst. 29 numbered pages.

Werken Deel III, Letters 84 - 146

Register van alle de Werken … verdeeld in twee Deelen, printed by Boutesteyn 1695, with a title page and two-page message to the reader. As above.

Deel IV, Letters I - XLVI

Register van woorden en zaaken. As above


Text of the note to the reader in Boutesteyn's Register:

Bescheiden Leeser.

Veel van de Noodwendigheid en 't nut van een goed Register aan een goed Boek te seggen, sou niet dan tijd en woorden gespild zijn; wijl sulks alle opmerkende Boek-oeffenaars ligtelijk toestemmen.

Hierom is 't dat wy de Beroemde en seer Stofrijke Werken, van de Heer Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, daar van niet onvoersien hebben willen laaten: Te meer, om dat een Liefhebber van diergelijke Stoffe sig seer geneegen toonde dit Werkje te volvoeren.

Weet alleenlijk tot Voorberigt dat (dewijl de tien eerste Tractaten, by twee verscheidene Boekverkoopers gedrukt zijn: en geen bestipt vervolg van 't Nomber der bladzijden houden) het aanwijsen der uitgekeurde Stoffen niet anders heeft konnen gescheiden, dan met den daatum der Brieven, en 't cijffertal der bladzijden daar by te stellen: 't welk in 't nasoeken wel eenigzins (dog de Tractaten wel geschikt, en naar 't Voorschrift, aan 't eerste Verbolg gegeeven, ingebonden zijnde, niet seer) moejelijk vallen sal.

Het tweede Register, of kort Inhoud van de vier Vervolgen, (die een andere Band uitmaaken) behoefd geen berigt, vermits het cijffertal der bladzijden behoorlijk vervolgd.

Modest Reader.

Much of the Necessity and benefit of a good Index to a good Book to say (?), would not time and words be wasted; which all of the noted diligent perusers of Books approve.

This is why the Famous and very Rich Works, of Mr. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, there of not have wanted to leave unprovided: all the more, so that a Lover of similar Things could not have completed this Work.

Note as a Preface that (because the first ten Tracts are printed by two different booksellers: and do not adhere to a precise sequence of the Number of pages) the designation of topics has been unable to be made except by the date of the Letters, adjusting the numbering of the pages: in which looking things up will be somewhat difficult (but the Tracts are well arranged, and in Order, given to the first Continuation, being bound, not very).

The second Index, or short Contents of the four Continuations, (that make up another Volume) need no note, because the numbering of the pages proceeds appropriately.

Latin translations

25. Arcana Naturae, Letters 32, 33, 37, 39, 40, 41, 61 - 92

The 1695 first edition had Leeuwenhoek's first index in Latin in the sense of an alphabetical list of topics and page numbers. On 13 unnumbered pages, it was titled Index Rerum praecipuarum hoc Opera Contenarum (Index of the Things of importance Contained in this Work). It was followed by a full-page emendanda.

The 1722 re-translation had an Index Rerum on 23 unnumbered pages, an expansion of the 1695 index. The final page had a short Errata.

26. Continuatio Arcanorum Naturae, Letters 93 - 107

The 1697 first edition and the 1722 reprinting had the same Index Rerum praecipuarum hoc Libro contentarum (Index of the things of importance contained in this book) on 8 unnumbered pages.

27. Epistolae ad Societatem, Letters 108 - 146

The only known editon, 1719, had an Index Rerum praecipuarum hoc Libro contentarum (Index of the things of importance contained in this book) on 10 unnumbered pages. The tenth page had a printer's mark.

28. Epistolae physiologicae, Letters I - XLVI

The only known edition, 1722, had an Index Rerum memorabilium (Index of memorable topics) on 25 unnumbered pages followed by a final half page Errata.