Saturday, August 8, 2015

Finding an Author Whose Last Name Begins with X

According to the automatic tabulator on the running head of the website, there were 6754 authors in the database as of August 8, 2015, including many for every letter of the alphabet except X. No authors in the bibliography had last names beginning with that letter. Would it be possible to fill this gap?

I thought about it occasionally, but could not think of a good way to approach the problem. Today, in an exchange of emails I mentioned this issue to my friend and colleague Fritz-Dieter Söhn. Fritz had the excellent idea of checking Hirsch's Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte aller Zeiten und Völker (See entry No. 6716)In that comprehensive listing of physicians' names four candidates turned up: three ancient Greek physicians: Xenokrates, Xenkritos, and Xenophon, but virtually nothing survived of whatever these physicians might have written. Thus they could not be included. The fourth name that turned up was that of Francisco Ximénez, a friar and nurse at the Convent of San Domingo de Mexico. Ximénez edited and expanded Francisco Hernández's Quatro libros. De la naturaleza y virudes de las plantas, y animales que estan receuidos en el vso de medicina en la Nueua España for publication in Mexico City in 1615. (See entry No. 1820.1). Because Ximénez's name appeared on the title page of the Hernandez book as editor and co-author of portions of the work, it was appropriate to add Ximenez to the author list of the bibliography, Thank you, Fritz, for finding the first X-name for the author database!

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