Gray's Anatomy is an English-language textbook of human anatomy
originally written by
Henry Gray and illustrated by Henry Vandyke
Carter. Earlier editions were called Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical
and Gray's Anatomy: Descriptive and Applied, but the book's name is
commonly shortened to, and later editions are titled, Gray's Anatomy.
The book is widely regarded as an extremely influential work on the
subject, and has continued to be revised and republished from its
initial publication in 1858 to the present day. The latest edition of
the book, the 41st, was published in September 2015.
1 Publication history
1.2 American editions
1.3 Discrepancies in numbering of American and British editions
2 Currently available editions
3 Cultural influence
7 External links
The English anatomist
Henry Gray was born in 1827. He studied the
development of the endocrine glands and spleen and in 1853 was
appointed Lecturer on Anatomy at St George's Hospital Medical School
in London. In 1855, he approached his colleague Henry Vandyke Carter
with his idea to produce an inexpensive and accessible anatomy
textbook for medical students. Dissecting unclaimed bodies from
workhouse and hospital mortuaries through the
Anatomy Act of 1832, the
two worked for 18 months on what would form the basis of the book.
Their work was first published in 1858 by
John William Parker in
London. It was dedicated by Gray to Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie,
1st Baronet. An imprint of this English first edition was published in
the United States in 1859, with slight alterations. Gray
prepared a second, revised edition, which was published in the United
Kingdom in 1860, also by J.W. Parker. However, Gray died the
following year, at the age of 34, having contracted smallpox
while treating his nephew (who survived). His death had come just
three years after the initial publication of his Anatomy Descriptive
and Surgical. Even so, the work on his much-praised book was continued
by others. Longman's publication reportedly began in 1863, after
their acquisition of the J.W. Parker publishing business. This
coincided with the publication date of the third British edition of
Gray's Anatomy. Successive British editions of Gray's Anatomy
continued to be published under the Longman, and more recently
Elsevier imprints, reflecting further changes in
ownership of the publishing companies over the years.
The full American rights were purchased by Blanchard and Lea, who
published the first of twenty-five[a] distinct American editions of
Gray's Anatomy in 1862, and whose company became Lea & Febiger in
1908. Lea & Febiger continued publishing the American editions
until the company was sold in 1990.
The first American publication was edited by Richard James Dunglison,
Robley Dunglison was physician to Thomas Jefferson.
Dunglison edited the next four editions. These were: the Second
American Edition (February 1862); the New Third American from the
Fifth English Edition (May 1870); the New American from the Eighth
English Edition (July 1878); and the New American from the Tenth
English Edition (August 1883). W. W. Keen edited the next two
editions, namely: the New American from the Eleventh English Edition
(September 1887); and the New American from the Thirteenth English
Edition (September 1893).
In September 1896, reference to the English edition was dropped and it
was published as the Fourteenth Edition, edited by Bern B. Gallaudet,
F. J. Brockway, and J. P. McMurrich, who also edited the Fifteenth
Edition (October 1901). There is also an edition dated 1896 which does
still reference the English edition stating it is "A New Edition,
Thoroughly Revised by American Authorities, from the thirteenth
English Edition" and edited by T. Pickering Pick, F.R.C.S. and
published by Lea Brothers & Co., Philadelphia and New York.
The Sixteenth Edition (October 1905) was edited by J. C. DaCosta, and
the Seventeenth (September 1908) by DaCosta and E. A. Spitzka. Spitzka
edited the Eighteenth (Oct. 1910) and Nineteenth (July 1913) editions,
and in October 1913, R. Howden edited the New American from the
Eighteenth English Edition. The "American" editions then continued
with consecutive numbering from the Twentieth onwards, with W. H.
Lewis editing the 20th (September. 1918), 21st (August 1924), 22nd
(August 1930), 23rd (July 1936), and 24th (May 1942). C. M. Gross
edited the 25th (August 1948), 26th (July 1954), 27th (August 1959),
28th (August 1966), and 29th (January 1973). Carmine D. Clemente
edited and extensively revised the 30th edition (October 1984).
With the sale of Lea & Febiger in 1990, the 30th edition was the
last American Edition.
Discrepancies in numbering of American and British editions
Sometimes separate editing efforts with mismatches between British and
American edition numbering led to the existence, for many years, of
two main "flavours" or "branches" of Gray's Anatomy: the U.S. and the
British one. This can easily cause misunderstandings and confusion,
especially when quoting from or trying to purchase a certain edition.
For example, a comparison of publishing histories shows that the
American numbering kept roughly apace with the British up until the
16th editions in 1905, with the American editions either acknowledging
the English edition, or simply matching the numbering in the 14th,
15th and 16th editions. Then the American numbering crept ahead, with
the 17th American edition published in 1908, while the 17th British
edition was published in 1909. This increased to a three-year gap for
the 18th and 19th editions, leading to the 1913 publication of the New
American from the Eighteenth English, which brought the numbering back
into line. Both 20th editions were then published in the same year
(1918). Thereafter, it was the British numbering that pushed ahead,
with the 21st British edition in 1920, and the 21st American edition
in 1924. This discrepancy continued to increase, so that the 30th
British edition was published in 1949, while the 30th and last
American edition was published in 1984.
Currently available editions
An illustration from the American 1918 edition
The newest, 41st edition of
Gray's Anatomy was published on 25
September 2015 by
Elsevier in both print and on-line versions, and is
the first edition to have enhanced on-line content including
anatomical videos and a bonus Gray's imaging library. The latest
edition also has 24 specially invited on-line commentaries on
controversial anatomical topics as diverse as advances in electron
microscopy and fluorescence microscopy; the neurovascular bundles of
the prostate; stem cells in regenerative medicine; the anatomy of
facial ageing; and technical aspects and applications of diagnostic
The senior editor of this book and accompanying website on
ExpertConsult  is Professor Susan Standring, who is Emeritus
Professor of Anatomy at King's College London. The three most
recent editions differ from all previous editions in an important
respect: they present anatomical structures by their regional anatomy
(i.e. ordered according to what part of the body the structures are
located in – e.g. the anatomy of the bones, blood vessels and
nerves, etc. of the upper extremity is described in one place). All
previous editions of
Gray's Anatomy were organised by systemic anatomy
(i.e. there were separate sections for the body's entire skeletal
system, entire circulatory system and entire nervous system, etc.).
The editors of the 39th edition acknowledged the validity of both
approaches but switched to regional anatomy by popular demand.
Older, out-of-copyright editions of the book continue to be reprinted
and sold. On the internet in particular, there are numerous offers for
older editions. However it is not always clear which (British or
American) edition these books are republications of. Many seem to be
reprints of the 1901 (probably U.S.) edition. Also on the internet,
there are several sites where various older versions can be read
online. Although older editions may serve historic and
artistic uses because their companion illustrations and anatomical
cross sections are renowned for their rustic and often haunting
presentation, they no longer represent an up-to-date anatomical
Henry Gray wrote the original version of
Gray's Anatomy with an
audience of medical students and physicians in mind, especially
surgeons. For many decades however, precisely because Gray's textbook
became such a classic, successive editors made major efforts to
preserve its position as possibly the most authoritative text on the
subject in English. Toward this end, a long-term strategy appears to
have been to make each edition come close to containing a fully
comprehensive account of the anatomical medical understanding
available at the time of publication. Given the
explosion of medical knowledge in the 20th century, it is easily
appreciated that this led to a vast expansion of the book, which
threatened to collapse under its own weight in a metaphorical and
physical sense. From the 35th edition onward, increased efforts were
made to reverse this trend and keep the book readable by students.
Nevertheless, the 38th edition contained 2,092 pages in large
format – the highest page count of any and an increase from the
35th edition, which had 1,471 pages. The current 41st edition has
1,584 pages. Newer editions of
Gray's Anatomy –and even several
recent older ones– are still considered to be the most comprehensive
and detailed textbooks on the subject. Despite the aforementioned
efforts to keep
Gray's Anatomy readable by students, when the 39th
edition was published, students were identified as a secondary market
for the book, and companion publications such as Gray's Anatomy
for Students,[c] Gray's Atlas of Anatomy and
Gray's Anatomy Review
have also been published in recent years.
This article contains a list of miscellaneous information. Please
relocate any relevant information into other sections or articles.
In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the book that Tom
Becky Thatcher reading, and from which she tears a page, is
implied to be Gray's Anatomy.
Early in the 1970 Tamil film Malathi, medical students Gemini Ganesan
B. Saroja Devi try to obtain the 28th edition of Gray's Anatomy
from an old book shop.
In the 1991 movie The Addams Family Granny (Judith Malina) binge reads
Gray's Anatomy while Gomez (Raul Julia) is playing with his train
Steven Soderbergh film Gray's Anatomy, featuring monologuist
Spalding Gray, also takes its name from the title of the book, as does
Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings, a 2009 book by British political
philosopher John N. Gray.
In the 1998 Star Trek: Voyager episode "Message in a Bottle", the new
Emergency Medical Hologram
Emergency Medical Hologram designed by Ensign Kim begins reciting the
Gray's Anatomy when activated, beginning with a
description of the cell.
The American medical drama
Grey's Anatomy (2005 –) takes its name
from the textbook.
The name of Jim Leonard Jr.'s 2006 play Anatomy of Gray, which centers
on a doctor visiting a small town in Indiana in 1880, takes its title
as a play on Gray's Anatomy.
In Dan Brown's 2013 novel Inferno, Sienna Brooks, as a child, reads
all the 1,600 pages of
Gray's Anatomy in ten days.
In the ABC television series The Good Doctor (2017-present), the lead
character, Dr. Shaun Murphy, an autistic savant, often visualizes
Gray's Anatomy as he mentally diagnoses a patient's
^ This count excludes the previously mentioned 1859 US publication of
the English first edition.
^ Depending on the version at hand, even the suitability of reprints
and online versions for artistic purposes may be compromised due to
limitations in resolution and reproduction quality.
^ Written by Richard L. Drake, Wayne Vogl and Adam W. M. Mitchell
Gray's Anatomy – The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice 41st
edition". 26 September 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
^ Gray, Henry; Carter, Henry Vandyke (1858), Anatomy Descriptive and
Surgical, London: John W. Parker and Son, retrieved 16 October
^ Richardson, Ruth (2005), "A Historical Introduction to Gray's
Anatomy" (PDF), in Susan Standring, Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical
Basis of Clinical Practice (39th (electronic version) ed.), Edinburgh:
Elsevier Churchill Livingston, p. 4, retrieved 16 October
^ Gray, Henry; Carter, H.V (1859), Anatomy, descriptive and surgical,
Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, retrieved 16 October 2011 (Per
National Library of Medicine holdings). Note: This is not the
'American' edition. American rights had yet to be purchased. It is an
American publication of the English edition.
^ a b Moore, Wendy (30 March 2008), "
Gray's Anatomy celebrates 150th
anniversary", The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, retrieved 16
^ A brief history of
Gray's Anatomy (PDF), ElsevierHealth, retrieved
16 October 2011
^ Poynter, F. N. L. (6 September 1958). "Gray's Anatomy: The First
Hundred Years" (PDF). British Medical Journal: 610–611.
^ "Longman's 1863 publication of Gray's Anatomy", Pearson Education:
History, Pearson Education, retrieved 16 October 2011
^ a b Roger Warwick & Peter L. Williams, eds. (1973), Gray's
Anatomy (35th ed.), London: Longman CS1 maint: Uses editors
parameter (link) p.iv (Previous Editions and Editors - listings)
^ Lea & Febiger in Tredyffrin East Town Historical Society History
Quarterly Digital Archives, pp. 68-70 (Source: April 1999, Vol. 37,
No.2, pp. 63-70)
^ "Gray's Anatomy: The Jefferson Years" in Jeffline Forum, September
^ Gray, Henry
Gray's Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical, 1896 13th
^ Carmine D. Clemente, ed. (1985),
Gray's Anatomy (30th ed.),
Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, ISBN 0-8121-0644-X pp.
^ Carmine D. Clemente (1985) p.vi (American Editions of Gray's Anatomy
^ Inkling. "Unsupported Browser". Expert Consult.
^ Elsevier: Gray's Anatomy, 41st Edition
Gray's Anatomy vol.39e Introduction (PDF), 2004,
ISBN 0-443-06676-0, retrieved 21 March 2012 See page
^ Henry Gray. "Anatomy, descriptive and surgical". Open Library.
^ "Gray, Henry. 1918. Anatomy of the Human Body". Bartleby.com.
^ "Gray's Anatomy". Education.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on
12 Oct 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
^ Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery
(British Edition. 38th Ed) (Hardcover) Amazon
^ Description of 35th Edition (1973) at
WorldCat Retrieved 21 March
^ 'Gray's Anatomy' is back after major surgery, By Glenn O'Neal,
Posted 4/10/2005, USATODAY.com
^ "cf. page 11".[dead link]
Elsevier Health Bookshop". www.us.elsevierhealth.com.
^ Roschke, Ryan (November 30, 2017). "In Case You Didn't Know, This Is
Grey's Anatomy Got Its Title". PopSugar.
^ Standring, Susan (November 2005). "Gray’s Anatomy, 39th Edition:
The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice". American Journal of
Neuroradiology. 26 (10) 2703-2704.
^ Holtz, Andrew (January 5, 2010). The Real Grey's Anatomy: A
Behind-the-Scenes Look at thte Real Lives of Surgical Residents.
"Introduction". Penguin. Google Books. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
^ Horbury, Alison (July 28, 2015). Post-feminist Impasses in Popular
Heroine Television: The Persephone Complex. Palgrave Macmillan. Google
Books. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
Gray, Henry (1858), Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical, London: John W.
Parker and Son, retrieved 16 October 2011 Online- and PDF
versions of the 1st edition at Open Library/Internet Archive. Several
other editions are also available at this site.
Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice (40th ed.),
Churchill-Livingstone, Elsevier, 2008,
Richardson, Ruth (2005), "A Historical Introduction to Gray's Anatomy"
(PDF), in Susan Standring, Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of
Clinical Practice (39th (electronic version) ed.), Edinburgh: Elsevier
Churchill Livingston, retrieved 16 October 2011, A brief history
of the British Edition of the book.
Richardson, Ruth (2008), The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy, Oxford
University Press, ISBN 0-19-955299-1
Hayes, Bill (2007), The Anatomist: a True story of Gray's Anatomy,
Ballantine, ISBN 978-0-345-45689-2
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Gray's Anatomy plates.
Online version of
Gray's Anatomy — The complete 20th U.S. edition of
Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918. NB: This is the
most recent American version that is in the public domain.
Online audio recording of the text of the same edition in five parts:
First edition of Gray's Anatomy, 1858 (direct PDF link)
Gray's Anatomy. 2014. Episode 5 of the
BBC TV series The Beauty of
Video of @Google
Talk by Bill Hayes on Gray's Anatomy
Selected images from the 1st edition of
Gray's Anatomy From The
College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library
Gray's Anatomy for students in libraries