Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal | Cincinnati History Library and Archives

Hauck Botanical Exhibit

Johann Bauhin, 1541-1613
Jean Henri Cherler, c1570-c1610

Historia Plantarum Universalis.
Yverdon, 1650-51.

Jean, or Johann, Bauhin, Swiss physician and botanist, is known for his work on the classification of plants. Historia Plantarum Universalis, the first international flora, containing descriptions of 5,226 plants, is indicative of the great strides made in the knowledge of botany during the sixteenth century.

Title page of Historia Plantarum Universalis
Title Page

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Born in Basel, Jean Bauhin was the first of seven children. His father, Jean Bauhin, was the physician to Margaret of Navarre. Jean, the younger, was interested in botany from childhood and received his basic education in Basel. From 1560-1563 he completed additional studies in France, Italy, and Germany. From 1561-1563, he studied with the naturalist, Guillaume Rondelet, at Montpellier, toured the Rhaetian Alps, visited the noted botanist, Leonhard Fuchs, in Tubingen, and studied flora in the Mount Albula region as well as in northern Italy and the Apennines.

This encyclopedic work was not published during his lifetime.

In 1563 he settled in Lyon and opened a medical practice. Five years later, religious persecution forced him to move to Geneva. There he practiced medicine and became the physician to Duke Frederick of Wurttemberg.

Cerasus Flore Pleno from Historia Plantarum Universalis
Cerasus Flore Pleno

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Bauhin developed several botanic gardens, collected plants during his travels, and published De Plantis a Divis Sanctisve Nomen Habentibus (a list of plants named for saints) in 1591 and De Plantis Absynthii Nomen Habentibus in 1593. However his reputation as a botanist came from his major work, Historia Plantarum Universalis. Compiled by Bauhin with assistance from his son-in-law, Jean Henri Cherler, this encyclopedic work was not published during his lifetime. It was finally edited by Dominique Chabree and Franz Ludwig von Graffenried and published in 1650-51, thirty-seven years after his death.


Catalogue of Botanical Books. Pittsburgh: Hunt Botanical Library, 1958. vol. 1, #251, p. 270.
Dictionary of Scientific Biography New York: Scribner, 1970. vol. 1, pp. 525-527.

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