Henry Gray's anatomy

Grays Anatomy does not exist. However there is a very important book called Gray's Anatomy, but out of deference to computers that are unable to grasp the niceties of the English language, we have had to omit the precious apostrophe.

One of the most treasured books in my library is a fairly ancient edition of Gray’s Anatomy. It's tatty, well thumbed, and still has a slight odour of formalin.

It’s treasured firstly just because it is a Grays, one of those great books like the Bible and Winnie the Pooh that have stood the test of time. But also because it's quite old, seventy years, and belonged to my mother. On the fly she penned the words, When I leave this world, in these cold hands, all that I may take with me, is what they’ve given away. Food for thought for anyone, but particularly for a chiropractor.

Henry Gray was born in 1827. He studied anatomy, becoming a lecturer at St. George’s Hospital medical school in London.

2008, when I first wrote this blog, was really quite an important year. It was exactly 150 years previously that the first edition of Gray's Anatomy was published. In 1858, when he was only 31 years old.

Hands are important to us; and so are our heads.

Graphic of the temporal bone from Gray's anatomy where much TMJ pain begins.

Henry Gray's anatomy

Henry Gray's anatomy is still the most revered and respected anatomical text; the publishers recently marked the anniversary with the 41st edition.

Who was Henry Gray?

Henry Gray.

Ongelooflijk, as the Dutch say. Unbelievable! He was only 31 years old.

A truly mammoth task, it took Gray, with help from colleague Henry Vandyke Carter, and others I am sure, only three years from conception to publication of the first text for students and surgeons.

Ask any author. Three years to produce ANY book is a wonder; Gray’s anatomy in so short a time? Unbelievable. Perhaps he had a premonition. It was only three short years later that he caught smallpox whilst caring for a relative and died at the tender age of 34.


That gives us more food for thought. As an aside, many chiropractors, myself included, still have grave doubts about vaccinations, but let’s give credit where it is due. Vaccinations have rid the planet of the terrible scourge of smallpox.

And today we consider the importance of a Covid-19 vaccinations with over 100,000 people having died from the disease.

The 40th edition of Gray's Anatomy, normally being obliged to worship at the Holy Grail of computers, I would have to omit the treasured apostrophe of English language, will be published this year by Churchill Livingstone, and C.V. Mosby.

It's still the most authoritative text on anatomy, it will make a fine gift for any chiropractor, or student. It certainly will not be a white elephant.

It may cost you a bit[1].

  1. Gray's Anatomy 41st Edition

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