To the Editor:—
In the editorial on Leeuwenhoek, entitled "The Bedellus of Delft" (JAMA177:860-861 [Sept. 23] 1961), several items appeared to me to be incorrect. As a former editor-in-chief of "The Collected Papers of A. v. Leeuwenhoek," I should like to comment on the following:The statement is made that "Leeuwenhoek was not the first to discover microscopical organisms." I believe that he was unquestionably the discoverer of his "little animals." In addition to being janitor or bedellus, he was also a wine-gauger of Delft ( 1679 ) and passed an examination for surveyor (1669). Instead of 375 letters written to the Royal Society, the number is approximately 250. The definition of a "book" should be liberal. Sheafs of his "letters" were prepared in Latin as well as Dutch and are available in several editions. These should be considered as books.There are several microscopes extant. I have proved in
Schierbeek A. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. JAMA. 1962;181(3):274. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050290096020
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