Label Copy for "Every Man His Own Doctor"

a complete list of all the pieces and their labels from the exhibition


Domestic Medicine and Folk Medicine

[John Tennent.] Every Man his own Doctor: or, the Poor Planter's Physician. Third edition. Williamsburg: William Parks, 1736.
The first American domestic medicine manual. Tennent was a Virginia doctor controversial for advocating Native American herbal remedies. The earliest surviving copy is of the second edition, Williamsburg, 1734. Franklin published another edition and sold it for a shilling, with a discount for those who gave it away in charity. It was reprinted at least 7 more times, including a German edition.

John Wesley. Primitive Physick: or, an Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases. Twelfth edition. Philadelphia: Andrew Steuart, 1764.
Wesley, the founder of Methodism, advocated common herbs which would supposedly do no harm and might cure. He rejected dangerous and expensive drugs like mercury and opium. First published in England in 1747, his book was reprinted dozens of times; this is the first American edition.

William Buchan. Domestic Medicine or, the Family Physician. Philadelphia: J. Dunlap, 1772.
Buchan was the first writer in English to combine in one book recipes for home treatment with general advice about diet, lifestyle, and how to live longer. First published in Edinburgh in 1769 and in America in 1772, it was reprinted at least 142 times over a century, and adapted to changing times until "Buchan" became in effect a brand name.

James Ewell. The Planter's and Mariner's Medical Companion. Philadelphia: John Bioren, 1807.
The first edition of the first successful American imitation of Buchan, reprinted half a dozen times before 1820.

John Gunn. Gunn's Domestic Medicine, or Poor Man's Friend in the Hours of Affliction, Pain and Sickness. Knoxville: the author, 1830.
The first edition of the most popular mid-19th century American domestic medical book. The frontispiece is an allegory of the origins of scientific medicine in primeval knowledge of plants. Gunn prescribed indigenous herbal medicines and reduced the mysteries of medicine to common sense. Democratic, nationalistic, challenging to authority, this was a home medical adviser suited to the Jacksonian frontier.

John Gunn. Gunn's Domestic Medicine or Poor Man's Friend. Second edition. Madisonville, Tennessee: J.F. Grant, 1834.
Though generally anti-authoritarian, Gunn cited the eminent doctors of the East; and though generally in favor of herbal cures, he also prescribed opium, mercury, and vigorous bleeding. He treated even the riskiest aspects of medicine as appropriate for domestic lay practice.

John Gunn. Gunn's Neuer Hausarzt. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 1864.
By 1868 Gunn's book had reached its putative hundredth edition, and was being sold by traveling salesmen door-to-door throughout the country, in both German and English editions, in elaborate gilt morocco bindings suitable for display on parlor tables along with the family Bible..

John Gunn. Gunn's New Family Physician; or, Home Book of Health. Hundredth edition. Sold to subscribers only. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 1868.
Metamorphosed by its publishers from "Poor Man's Friend" to the "Home Book of Health," later editions of Gunn included color illustrations and treatises on anatomy, physiology, hygiene, domestic economy, and physical culture.

Samuel Curtis. A Valuable Collection of Recipes, Medical and Miscellaneous. Amherst, N.H.: Elijah Mansur, 1819.
Meanwhile the ancient tradition of recipe books for home medical use continued. This one also includes recipes for beer, paint, mending china, etc.

Daniel Ballmer. A Collection of New Receipts and Approved Cures for Man and Beast. Shellsburg, Pennsylvania: Frederick Goeb, 1827.
Most recipe books included veterinary medicine, equally important for the vast majority of Americans who lived on farms. As this tooth-ache cure shows, many also incorporated elements of folk medicine, beliefs scorned by more mainstream writers like Buchan and Gunn..

William. H. Coffin. The Art of Medicine Simplified… for the Use of Families and Travellers. Wellsburg, Va.: W. Barnes & Co., 1853.
Smaller, cheaper imitations of Gunn were issued by small presses in the South and West, which sought to compete in their regional markets with nationally distributed titles.

Johann Georg Hohmann. The Long Lost Friend. A Collection of Mysterious & Invaluable Arts & Remedies… which appeared in print for the first time in 1820. Harrisburg: T.F. Scheffer, 1856.
After circulating in German for over 30 years, this collection of folk remedies, known as the "Pow-Wow Book," was finally translated into English. Folk medicine persisted and recipes proliferated because most illness cures itself: if the cow gets well after swallowing the charm, the charm must have cured the cow.

Midwifery and Nursing

Kurzgefasstes Weiber-Büchlein. [Ephrata,] 1798.
In colonial America, as in Europe, pregnancy, childbirth, and the diseases of children were managed by women and midwives. Some midwives got their start by delivering another woman's baby in an emergency. Others learned their trade from older midwives. Chapbooks sold by peddlers supplemented hands-on training.

Aristotle, pseud. The Midwife's Guide: Being the Complete Works of Aristotle. New York: Published for the Trade, 1845.
This mid-19th century midwives' guide, supposedly by Aristotle, was actually written in England in the 17th century and had been in print and in use in America since the mid-18th century, despite the fact that it was full of superstition and misinformation.

Valentine Seaman. The Midwives Monitor, and Mothers Mirror. New York: Isaac Collins, 1800.
Seaman was the first American who sought to teach midwifery to women in a formal course of lectures. This was designed to be his text book.

Thomas Hersey. The Midwife's Practical Directory, or Woman's Confidential Friend.. Columbus, Ohio: Clapp, Gillett & Co., 1834.

George Denig. The Domestic Instructor in Midwifery … Compiled for the advantage and use of such as have not access to a physician. McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania: 1838.
During the antebellum period formally trained male physicians took over much of the practice of midwives in the Eastern cities, but further west and in rural areas midwives still played a major role, with the help of locally printed books such as these.

Robert Wallace Johnson. The Nurses Guide and Family Assistant. Second American edition, corrected. Philadelphia: Anthony Finley, 1818.
The earliest American nursing books were reprints of English books with notes by anonymous American editors ("Am. Ed.") The distinction between a paid nurse and a servant or a family member was hazy at this time.

Joseph Warrington. The Nurse's Guide. Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1839.
Much of the literature of nursing was concerned with the preparation of "invalid food." One nurse used this book as a place to jot down recipes.

J. S. Longshore. The Principles and Practice of Nursing, or a Guide to the Inexperienced. Philadelphia: Merrihew and Thompson, 1842.
By mid-century these books were aimed in part at nurses working under a doctor's supervision. Longshore had even begun to refer to "her profession."

Medicine Chest

Jacob Bigonet, Apothecary & Chemist. Wooden Medicine Chest. Philadelphia, ca. 1825.
This chest was probably outfitted for a ship, since it is beyond the size required for a home medicine chest. The drawers contained implements. Several pharmacies that made a specialty of fitting out such chests were located near the docks in Philadelphia.

Thomas Hollis. A Companion to the Medicine Chest, with Plain Rules for Taking the Medicines, in the Cure of Diseases. Boston: J. Howe, 1834.

The General Family Directory: Showing the Remedies which Every Family Should Keep in their Houses. New York: Comstock & Co., 1842.

The druggists who furnished medicine chests provided pamphlet guides to the use of the drugs. These pamphlets also reminded the customer where to go for fresh supplies.

Women's Medicine and Child Care

William Cadogan. An Essay Upon Nursing, and the Management of Children, from their Birth to Three Years of Age. 5th edition. Philadelphia: re-printed by William and Thomas Bradford, 1773.
Even where nurses and midwives were available, nursing and the management of children was the province of mothers and, in elite families, their servants. The diseases of children were seldom treated by doctors, and neglect was widespread. The most popular British work on the subject was a pamphlet, widely reprinted in America.

Hugh Smith. The Female Monitor, Consisting of a Series of Letters to Married Women on Nursing and the Management of Children… With Occasional Notes … by Dr. John Vaughan. Wilmington, Del.: Peter Brynberg, 1801.
First printed in London in 1767, this popular book was particularly concerned with breast feeding as key to the development of healthy children.

Alexander Hamilton. A Treatise on the Management of Female Complaints, and of Children in Early Infancy. New edition, with large improvements. New York: Samuel Campbell, 1792.
In 1792 the professor of midwifery at Edinburgh rewrote his textbook for "family use." The first such book by a doctor on all aspects of women's health, it was quickly reprinted in America.

Michael Underwood. A Treatise on the Dieases [sic] of Children, With General Directions for the Management of Infants from the Birth. New edition. Philadelphia: Thomas Dobson, 1793.
The most widely read Anglo-American pediatrics text of its generation. Like many medical books of the era, it was aimed at both educated laypersons and physicians.

Samuel K. Jennings. The Married Lady's Companion, or Poor Man's Friend. Second edition, revised, corrected and enlarged by the Author. New York: Lorenzo Dow, 1808.
After the turn of the century Americans began to produce their own guides to child management. They recommended the usual brutal bleeding and purging, hardly less than adults received.

[Mary Palmer Tyler.] The Maternal Physician; a Treatise on the Nurture and Management of Infants, from the Birth Until Two Years Old. By an American matron. New York: Isaac Riley, 1811.
The first American medical book by a woman was the anonymous work of the wife of the playwright Royall Tyler. Though she often copied the standard authorities, her advice was tempered by her own experience, and her motto was "Every Mother her Child's best Physician."

G. Ackerley. On the Management of Children in Sickness and in Health. New York: published for the author by M. Bancroft, 1836.
As cities grew, infant mortality reached horrifying rates, as many as half of all deaths. This pamphlet attempted to convince the poor to care responsibly for their children and to call the doctor sooner.

Lydia Maria Child. The Family Nurse; or Companion of the Frugal Housewife. Boston: Charles J. Hendee, 1837.
Novelist, abolitionist, author of a best-selling cook book, Mrs. Child also wrote this practical book of recipes for the harassed mother, one of whom marked this cure for nosebleed for ready reference.

Mary S. Gove. Lectures to Ladies on Anatomy and Physiology. Boston: Saxton & Peirce, 1842.
Before she was a hydropath and wife of Thomas Low Nichols, Mary Gove was a disciple of Sylvester Graham and a lecturer to women on health and physiology. The frontispiece symbolizes the health reformer's linked concern with the physical body and with spiritual improvement.

Elizabeth Blackwell. The Laws of Life, with special reference to the Physical Education of Girls. New York: George P. Putnam, 1852.
Blackwell was the first woman M.D. This book was written as she was setting up her practice in New York in order to overcome prejudice and to advertise her philosophy of health. Her laws of life were simple: exercise, hygiene, etc. All illness is caused by our willful disobedience of these laws. Her motto was "Prevention is better than cure."

Botanic Medicine

Nicholas Culpeper. Pharmacopœia Londinensis; or, the London Dispensatory. Boston: J. Allen for N. Boone, D. Henchman, and J. Edwards, 1720.
Most early domestic medical practice incorporated centuries-old botanic traditions. Culpeper's guide to drugs was largely botanical, and was one of the earliest medical books reprinted in America.

Nicholas Culpeper. Culpepper's Family Physician. The English Physician Enlarged, Containing 300 Medicines, Made of American Herbs. Revised, Corrected, and Enlarged, by James Scammon. Exeter, N.H.: James Scammon, 1824.
A century later, Culpeper was still in print, revised to include American plants by a New Hampshire herbalist, who was also the book's publisher.

Samuel Henry. A New and Complete American Medical Family Herbal. New York: Samuel Henry, 1814.
Illustrations that permitted accurate identification of plants greatly increased the utility of herbals; but they also increased the cost. Color made the pictures still more useful, and still more expensive, since water color had to be added by hand to each copy individually. This is one of the first herbals featuring American plants, and the first to offer subscribers the option of having the illustrations colored by hand.

John Williams. New and Valuable Recipes for the Cure of many Diseases. For the Use of Families. New York: 1828.
Herbal medicine was disseminated in rural areas and among the poor in cheaply printed pamphlets providing lists of remedies. This one was reprinted dozens of times. These little books were often used to preserve handwritten family recipes.

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque. Medical Flora; or, Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North America … In Two Volumes. Philadelphia: Atkinson & Alexander, 1828; Philadelphia: S.C. Atkinson, 1830..
The eccentric Rafinesque was one of several American naturalists who published medical herbals. Here the color is printed, not applied by hand; but before the 1840s only one color could be printed at a time. Green was the logical choice.

Peter P. Good. The Family Flora and Materia Medica Botanica. New York: Published by the Author, 1845.
People with more pretensions – and dollars – could purchase full-length herbals embellished with engraved illustrations individually colored by hand, which were not only beautiful but "true to life."

Samuel Thomson. New Guide to Health; or Botanic Family Physician. Boston: Printed for the author, 1822.
Thomson said he learned botanic medicine from a female herbalist who cured his wife after a regular doctor failed. He believed illness was caused by cold and that the only cure was a restoration of the body's natural heat. This he accomplished with steam baths, cayenne pepper, and puking by means of Lobelia, a native American emetic. After a decade of local practice, he went public with this book.

Thomson's Patent. Engraved certificate filled out in manuscript, Otsego, New York, 1842.
Thomson sold the right to use his system to any family for $20, along with a book of recipes with key ingredients left out. He filled in the blanks and swore the buyer to secrecy. $20 was less than a family might spend on doctors in a year, but far more than he could have made on a book alone. By 1840 100,000 of these patents had been sold.

Samuel Thomson. Guide to Health, or Upper Canada Botanic Family Physician. Compiled by Henry A. Lawson, of Southhold, U.C. Kingston, [Ont.]: Printed for the proprietor, 1828.
Thomson sent agents all over the country, and even to Canada; this is one of three known copies of a Canadian version of his Guide. Unlike other sectarians who wanted people to replace one kind of doctor with another, Thomson really intended every person to be his or her own doctor. This appealed to a self-reliant and increasingly anti-elitist public.

Benjamin Thompson. The Steam Doctor's Defense; Exhibiting the Superiority of the Thomsonian System of Medicine. Boston: 1833.
The Thomsonian system also appealed to those who were reluctant to undergo the painful and frightening treatments of orthodox physicians: poisonous mercury purges, addictive opium, bleeding to the point of unconsciousness; and blistering with its lingering open sores.

Reuben Chambers. The Thomsonian Practice of Medicine. Bethania, Pennsylvania: 1842.
Many of Thomson's agents became competitors offering books. This book was sold for only $2, with a request that the subscriber not lend it.

The Philadelphia Botanic Sentinel and Thomsonian Medical Revolutionist. M. Mattson, editor. Vol. III, No. 7. Philadelphia: John Coates, Jr., November 23, 1837.
Those practicing Thomsonianism could subscribe to several journals, and also, as this issue shows, attend conventions, correspond with physicians, order medicine by mail, or patronize infirmaries and bath houses.

Morris Mattson. The American Vegetable Practice, or a New and Improved Guide to Health, Designed for the Use of Families. Boston: Daniel L. Hale, 1841.
Mattson worked with Thomson for two years on a revision of The New Guide to Health, then broke away with his own much more expensively illustrated guide.

Wooster Beach. The American Practice of Medicine … on Vegetable or Botanical Principles: as taught at the Reformed Medical Colleges in the United States. Volume III. New York, 1833.
Thomson intended his system to be simple and self-administered; there was no role for professional healers. His followers naturally tried to make a place for themselves by establishing practices, infirmaries, even medical schools. Wooster Beach wrote this textbook for botanic physicians, soon organized into the rival Eclectic school of medicine. This rift helped spell the end of Thomsonianism.

Other Sectarian Medicine

Constantin Hering. A Concise View of the Rise and Progress of Homoeopathic Medicine. Translated by Charles F. Matlack. Philadelphia: Hahnemannean Society, 1833.
Homeopathy was invented by Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor who was dissatisfied with the heroic bleeding and purging of orthodox medicine. He believed diseases could be cured by medicines which produce in healthy persons symptoms similar to those of the disease. His system was promoted in America by Constantin Hering, a disciple who emigrated to Pennsylvania around 1830.

Paul Francis Curie. Domestic Homeopathy… with Additions and Improvements, by Gideon Humphrey. Philadelphia: Jesper Harding, 1839.
Homeopaths believed that the smaller the dose the more effective the medicine, an idea that was widely ridiculed but which kept doses as small as one-millionth of a gram, thereby allowing nature's healing power to work.

Constantin Hering. The Homoeopathist, or Domestic Physician. Second American, from the fourth German edition. Philadelphia: Sold by Jacob Beh-lert and J.N. Bauersachs, with Boxes of Medicine accompanying each Book, 1844.
This book came with 46 vials of pills for $5, with simple instructions about which to take for which ailment. However, most homeopaths were trained physicians who discouraged home treatment. By 1860 there were 2500 of them in the U.S.

Francis Graeter. Hydriatics or Manual of the Water Cure, Especially as Practised by Vincent Priessnitz. New York: William Radde, 1842.
In the 1840s another alternative system of medicine arrived from Germany, hydropathy or water cure. It used no medicine at all, just water in a variety of baths, packs, and wet bandages, combined with the usual temperance, diet, and exercise.

Mrs. M.L. Shew. Water-Cure for Ladies. New York: John Wiley, 1849.
A thoroughgoing water cure required spas, of which the first in America was run by the Shew family in New York. Women's ailments seemed to respond well to water cure, and the spas also offered women a vacation from their families, female friendship, and physical pleasure. A fifth of professional hydropaths were women.

Russell T. Trall. The Hydropathic Encyclopedia. New York: Fowler and Wells, 1851.
Trall opened the second water cure establishment in New York in about 1843. There were never many such spas, and they were relatively expensive to patronize. Books like this opened the practice to regular doctors and to domestic use.

Sex and Birth Control

Onania; or, the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution, and all its Frightful Consequences, in both Sexes, Considered. Boston: for John Phillips, 1724.
The first American sexual hygiene publication. Puritans frowned on masturbation because it subverted marriage, leading to an excessive number of bachelors and spinsters and not enough children to sustain the community. Sex itself was not bad. Even adultery was preferable to habitual masturbation.

Aristotle, pseud. Aristotle's Master Piece Completed. New York: printed for the United Company of Flying Stationers, 1788.
The first, and for long the only American sex manual, hardly changed since the 17th century, reprinted scores of times before 1840, and usually sold under the counter. It was partly folklore (the cut shows birth defects caused by the thoughts of the parents at conception) but it portrayed sex as natural, necessary to health, and fun.

Mary S. Gove. Solitary Vice. An Address to Parents, and those who have the Care of Children. Worcester: T.W. and J. Butterfield, 1840.
A new cautionary literature about sex appeared in the late 1830s. Dietary reformer Sylvester Graham argued that sex in any form, even in marriage, was debilitating, and if indulged in more than once every few months could ruin health. His disciple Mary Gove daringly asserted that masturbation was equally prevalent among women and men, and that mothers were teaching it to children.

A Private Looking-Glass for Persons of Both Sexes; or Mysteries and Revelations in Physiology. New Orleans: 1848.
The 1840s saw the rise of a genre of books promising a scientific understanding of reproduction and sexual relations. Some, like reformer William A. Alcott's The Physiology of Marriage, were smugly didactic and saw dozens of editions. Others like this one were marginally transgressive and are now excessively rare.

Facts and Important Information for Young Men, on the Subject of Masturbation. Improved edition. Boston: Bela Marsh, 1846.
This tract claimed masturbation is more dangerous than illicit sex because there is no practical limit to its indulgence. Overstimulation of the body invigorates it briefly then causes debility, weakness, indigestion, depression, pains, and finally madness.

Ralph Glover. Every Mother's Book: or the Duty of Husband and Wife Physiologically Discussed, being a Short Treatise on the Population Question . New York: R Glover, 1847.
The early 1830s saw the first books on birth control, Owen's Moral Physiology and Knowlton's Fruits of Philosophy. Though serious reformers, they were accused of encouraging promiscuity. This piracy of Owen's book has a pitch for a device that killed semen in the vagina with electric shock. The frontispiece shows the effect on a family's health and welfare of not using birth control.

A.M Mauriceau [pseud., i.e. Madame Restell?]. The Married Women's Private Medical Companion. Embracing … Discovery to Prevent Pregnancy. New York: 1850.
Madame Restell was the most notorious abortionist in New York, and this widely distributed book was essentially an advertisement for her services, as well as for contraceptive devices sold through the mail by her husband.

Thomas L. Nichols. Esoteric Anthropology: a Comprehensive and Confidential Treatise on … the most Intimate Relations of Men and Women. Cincinnati: Valentine Nicholson & Co., 1853.
With his wife Mary Gove, Nichols wrote the frankest discussion of sexuality to date, and the most sweeping defence of a woman's right to choose if and when she would bear children -- and who would father them. They were branded "free lovers" but in fact they emphasized the dangers of excessive sex, a woman's right to refuse sex, and the "legalized prostitution" of loveless marriages.

James Ashton. The Book of Nature; Containing Information for Young People who Think of Getting Married, on the Philosophy of Procreation and Sexual Intercourse; Showing How to Prevent Conception and to Avoid Child-Bearing. New York: Wallis & Ashton, 1861.
Many sex books were prurient, but Ashton's stands out with its explicit yet proper language and its reliable information about birth control. Well aware of the sexual politics of reproduction, Ashton noted the different advantages and disadvantages of various methods of birth control for men and women.

Mental Hygiene and Phrenology

William Sweetser. Mental Hygiene, or an Examination of the Intellect and Passions, Designed to Illustrate Their Influence on Health and the Duration of Life. New York: J. and H.G. Langley, 1843.
One of the leading causes of disease was long thought to be uncontrolled passions such as anger, lust, or fear. Mind and body, sickness and health were intricately related. This treatise on managing the passions is in effect a pioneering work in preventative psychiatry.

Isaac Ray. Mental Hygiene. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1863.
The second half of the 19th century saw the growth of a genre of mental hygiene books for laypersons, emphasizing the slippery slope leading from overworked nerves to full-blown mental illness. Ray was a leader in the first generation of American psychiatrists.

J.G. Spurzheim. Phrenology, in Connexion With the Study of Physiognomy. 1st Am. ed., with a biography of the author, by Nahum Capen. Boston: Marsh, Capen & Lyon, 1833.
Phrenology was a new framework for understanding human capacities and emotions that became popular in the 1830s. It was originated by the Austrian doctor F.J. Gall, who spent his life noting connections between cerebral anatomy, configurations of the skull, and personal characteristics. His pupil Spurzheim cast this work into a popular system.

The Phrenological Gem. A Concise View of the Science, With its Moral Influence. New York: Charles S. Francis, etc., [1836].
Phrenology became a system of pop psychology, a form of career and marital counseling. It assumed that the mind is divided into 37 "faculties" or personality traits, each represented in an "organ" or "bump" on the head, the size of which indicated the strength or weakness of the faculty. Thus an individual's moral character could be mapped.

The American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany. Vol. I, no.6. Philadelphia: A. Waldie, March, 1839.
Phrenology, like sectarian medicine, was promoted by means of journals, agents, and lectures as well as books. This journal reports on the 18-month American lecture tour of the Scot George Combe, author of popular books on phrenology.

Mrs. L.N. Fowler. Familiar Lessons on Phrenology, Designed for the Use of Children and Youth in Schools and Families. New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1848.
Phrenology helped people understand how to use a knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses to become better persons. The development of mind and body were thus inextricable.

O.S. and L.N. Fowler, The Illustrated Self-Instructor in Phrenology and Physiology. New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1855.
The Fowler brothers were the chief publishers of phrenology; they boasted the largest mail order business in New York. They were also its leading performers; they were constantly on the road doing public readings of character. A Mr. & Mrs. Atwood had this chart done by O.S. Fowler himself.

Note: For Phrenology broadsides see Main Gallery Posters, below


John Armstrong. The Art of Preserving Health: A Poem.Philadelphia: Re-printed by B.Franklin, 1745.
Until the mid-18th century most books on health for laypersons were concerned with regimen, or what we call lifestyle. These were as much works of moral philosophy (in this case versified) as medicine, written for educated, leisured readers, and read avidly in America; so much so that Franklin reprinted his own edition of this poem.

George Cheyne. An Essay on Health and Long Life. New York: Edward Gillespy, 1813.

Luigi Cornaro. Discourses on a Sober and Temperate Life. Philadelphia: T. Dobson, 1791.

These venerable treatises on lifestyle circulated widely in imported editions in colonial America, and after the Revolution they continued to find new readers in American editions. Cheyne was first published in England in 1725. Cornaro was a Venetian nobleman of the 16th century who attributed his longevity to a daily diet of 12 ounces of bread, broth, and eggs, and 14 ounces of wine.

Samuel Tissot. Advice to the People in General, with Regard to Their Health. 4th ed. Edited by J. Kirkpatrick. Philadelphia: John Sparhawk, 1771.
Tissot was the first to combine a treatise on diet, lifestyle, and longevity with recipes for domestic medical practice. His book first appeared in French in 1761, was translated into English a dozen times before 1778, and was reprinted in America.

George Wallis. The Art of Preventing Diseases, and Restoring Health, Founded on Rational Principles, and Adapted to Persons of Every Capacity. New York: Samuel Campbell, 1794.

A. F. M. Willich. Lectures on Diet and Regimen. Boston: Manning & Loring, 1800.

All the lifestyle books advocated the same things: moderation and regularity in eating, drinking, sexual activity, and the expression of emotions, combined with fresh air, cleanliness, and exercise. All medicine was holistic in this period; excesses in these areas caused minor ills that could easily become major if balance was not restored.

William Mavor. Catechism of Health … for the Use of Schools and Families. New York: Samuel Wood & Sons, 1819.

The Catechism of Health; or, Plain and Simple Rules for the Preservation of the Health and Vigour of the Constitution from Infancy to Old Age. . Ladies edition. Philadelphia: Office of the Journal of Health, 1831.

In the early 1800s hygiene began to be taught in schools with textbooks written in the ancient pedagogic question-and-answer format. They laid down the "laws of health" without explaining in detail how the body works. In the 1830s, however, the catechism shrank to a few questions for discussion, lessons in anatomy and physiology were added, and the modern health textbook was born.

Graham Journal of Health and Longevity. David Cambell, editor. Vol. I. Boston: G. P. Oakes, 1837.
Sylvester Graham (after whom today's crackers were named) was a health reformer as radical as any abolitionist. He began by promoting home-baked bread, and went on to crusade for total abstinence from meat, alcohol, and sex (except for procreation). He believed urbanization and prosperity were creating an unnatural and unhealthy style of life. His ideas were popularized in this journal.

Catharine E. Beecher. Letters to the People on Health and Happiness. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1855.
The famous sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe observed a recent and alarming increase in invalidism among American women, which she attributed to city life with its unventilated rooms, heavy diet, lack of exercise, and stressful human relations.

Samuel Sheldon Fitch. Six Lectures on the Uses of the Lungs; and Causes, Prevention, and Cure of Pulmonary Consumption, Asthma, and Diseases of the Heart; on the Laws of Longevity. New York: H. Carlisle, 1847.

E.L. White. A Popular Essay on the Disorder Familiarly Termed a Cold. Philadelphia: Bradford & Inskeep, etc., 1808.

It was commonly believed that the slightest cough or cold, if not treated at once, could lead to untreatable or even fatal conditions such as asthma or consumption; yet people still needed help making up their minds about when to call the doctor for apparently minor illnesses. Books such as these met this need. The American editor of White's book inscribed this copy to Benjamin Rush.

Usher Parsons. Sailor's Physician, Containing Medical Advice for Seamen and Other Persons at Sea. Second edition. Providence: Barnum Field & Co., 1824.

[Chandler Robbins]. Remarks on the Disorders of Literary Men. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1825.

As popular medical literature expanded, the idea that certain occupations are associated with certain diseases inspired a host of "niche market" books: Sailors get plenty of exercise but have poor diets and venture into sickly climates; scholars get no exercise, sit in cramped positions, and eat too well, while their overheated brains enervate their bodies.


Dr. Parkinson. Advice Gratis. Important News to the Sick and Afflicted! Dr. Parkinson … respectfully informs the Citizens of Plymouth and Vicinity that he may be consulted at the residence of Mrs. Spooner. [Plymouth, Mass., ca.1830.] Broadside.
Itinerant physicians often used broadsides to announce the location and nature of their practice, often with testimonial advertising.

Jasper H. Morse. One Hundred Valuable Recipes for the Cure of Various Complaints and Diseases: and Also for Mixing, Compounding, and Administering the Medicines. Haverhill: Gazette Press, 1840. Broadside.
A rare example of a receipt book in broadside form, suitable for hanging on the wall for ready reference.

Doct. E.L. Brundage, informs the Public that he has taken the Dwelling nearly opposite the court house, in Milford [Penna.], where the calls of patients will receive prompt attention. Newburgh, New York: J. D.Spaulding & Co., 1832. Broadside.
Physicians quite often distributed broadsides advertising their services or announcing a new or relocated practice.

Deshler's Anti-Periodic Pills, a newly discovered and certain Cure for Fever & Ague. Chas. D. Deshler, Agent, New Brunswick, N. J. New York: Pudney & Russell, 1854. Broadside.
This broadside was printed with eight different kinds of decorative wood types.

Nancy Linton. A Faithful Representation of her Actual Appearance & Condition after having been Cured by the use of Swaim's Panacea. [London:] Drawn on stone by W.H. Kearney, printed by C. Hullmandel, [1830s?] Hand-colored lithograph.
Swaim, one of the richest and boldest of the early medicine men, promoted his panacea with this hand-colored picture of his most famous cure. At first glance it looks like a "before" picture, but it is indeed an "after." Only Swaim's could have kept such a person alive, it suggests. Swaim claimed his panacea included no mercury, but it did, and Nancy Linton's condition suggests mercury poisoning.

Dr. Jayne's Family Medicines. Philadelphia: [ca. 1850.] Engraving.
Jayne, one of the most flamboyant medicine men of the mid-19th century, made his headquarters into an advertisement by building it as tall as technology would then allow. This was in a sense the first American skyscraper.

Shepherd's Medicines. Bodder & Co. proprietors, Baltimore. Philadelphia: Wagner & McGuigan. [ca. 1848.] Lithograph.

Dr. George Stuart's Botanical Syrup and Vegetable Pills, the Greatest Family Medicine in the World. Philadelphia: P. S. Duval, 1849. Lithograph.

Robert Shoemaker's Wholesale & Retail Drug Store. Philadelphia: Wagner & McGuigan, 1846. Lithograph.

One of the commonest kinds of advertisement in the mid-19th century was the lithographic poster illustrating the shop, factory, or ship of a company.

Dr. Harding's Vegetable Medicines; a Cure for Consumption. [ca. 1840.] Broadside.

Dr. Browder's Compound Sirup of Indian Turnip, for the cure of Consumption, Coughs, Colds, Spitting of Blood, and all other complaints of the Chest. Boston, 1846. Broadside.

Two early posters advertising botanic medicines.

The Celebrated Oxygenated Bitters, a Sure Remedy for Dyspepsia, Asthma, and General Debility. M. V. B. Fowler, wholesale agent; H. H. Jones, retail agent. New York: A. Hanford, 1846-47.] Color woodcut and relief print. (Loaned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, William H. Helfand Collection.)
Bitters were drinks containing vegetable drugs; most were alcoholic, but this one was not. This is one of the earliest American multicolor woodcut posters.

Dr. C.F. Brown's Young American Liniment. Philadelphia: Duross Bros., 1861. Color woodcut and relief print.
During the Civil War patriotism was used to promote an endless variety of products. Here color woodcut printing made a "before and after" illustration more effective.

A. Hawley & Co. Perfumers and Chemists. Philadelphia: Herline & Co., [ca. 1857.] Chromolithograph.
Posters advertising commercial enterprises were also known as "trade cards." These eye-catching lithographs, often printed in color, were posted in shop windows and other enclosed places. More chromolithograph trade cards were made in Philadelphia than any other large center.

For Men Only! Dr. Hay's College of Anatomy (Geo. S. Eldred, proprietor,) Showing All Parts of the Human System Both Male and Female in Health and Disease … an Educational Institution Made of Wax. Coldwater, Michigan: Kitchell's Liniment Print. [ca.1870.] Broadside with woodcut illustration.
The wax museum advertised in this crude poster was a come-on. It was staffed with agents who lured gullible men into a back room where doctors examined them and sold them cures for masturbation and sexual disorders.

An Analytical View of the System of Doctor Gall, on the Faculties of Man and the Functions of the Brain, or Cranioscopy. 3rd ed., translated [by Peter Hill]. New York: Printed by Sleight & Robinson, Published by G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1832. Letterpress with lithography.
One of the earliest American phrenology posters listed 29 "faculties" (the number was later increased to 37) and their characteristics, with a map of their locations on the skull.

Know Thyself! Lectures on Phrenology. New York: Office of the Phrenological Journal, S. R. Wells, Publisher, [ca. 1865]. Color woodcut and relief print.
Phrenologists often corroborated their theories by referring to portraits of the heads of famous and infamous men and women.

Wm. Carroll. A Free Lecture! The First of a Course of Lectures on Phrenology! … will be delivered at [blank]. New York, 1860. Broadside.

J.B. Moore. Instructive and Amusing! Phrenology and Electric Psycology! … Lecture at [blank]. Boston: Hooton's Press, [ca. 1840.] Broadside.

Phrenology was widely disseminated by itinerant lecturers, who announced their arrival in town with posters, printed in advance with the place and time of the lecture filled in by hand.

Dr. Hoofland's Celebrated German Bitters and Balsamic Cordial. Prepared by Dr. C.M. Jackson. Philadelphia: L.N. Rosenthal, 1859. Chromolithograph.
Chromolithography, lithography in colors, was introduced in the 1850s and revolutionized advertising posters. A riot of colors ensued, some more lifelike than others.

If You Wish Perfect Health Use the National Bitters. Schlichter & Zug, Proprietors. Philadelphia: R.F. Reynolds, 1867. Chromolithograph.
Chromolithography was used to bring blooming color to this picture of health.

Dr. McMunn's Kinate of Quinine and Cinchonine, in Fluid Form and Always Ready for Use. New York: Thomas & Eno. [ca. 1865.] Chromolithograph.
A contrasting picture of illness made convincing with chromolithography. Through the door of the sickroom is a view of workers harvesting the bark of the cinchona tree, from which quinine was made.

Green Mountain Boys Gathering Materials for Paine's Celebrated Green Mountain Balm of Gilead and Cedar Plaster. Boston: Forbes & Co., 1868. Lithograph.
Advertisements often depicted the natural sources of proprietary medicines rather than the factories in which they were bottled.


Newspapers and Magazines

The American Weekly Mercury, Philadelphia, March 30, 1721.
The first American proprietary medicine advertisements outside of New England show there was already rivalry in the trade. Here two Philadelphia women each claim to be the only one to prepare "Spirit of Venice Treacle" properly.

The Columbian Magazine, or, Monthly Miscellany. Philadelphia, July 1788.
Early American magazines also had proprietary medicine advertisements, not in the main text but on the blue paper wrappers, which were often doubled to create more advertising space.

General Advertiser, Philadelphia, February 5, 1793.
The front and back pages of newspapers were often devoted to advertising; the news was in the middle. In the 1790s a single page of Franklin's grandson's newspaper had advertisements for a dentist, a wet nurse, and two patent medicines, Boerhave's Extract and Lee's Essence for the Tooth-Ache.

Connecticut Gazette, New London, August 14, 1803.
Woodcut images of druggist's shop signs sometimes appeared in newspaper advertisements. Samuel H.P. Lee, at the sign of the Golden Mortar in New London, Connecticut, took advantage of the similarity between his name and that of Samuel Lee of nearby Windham, the first American to patent a medicine. The first Lee contested the infringement, but to no avail. The patent was for the formula, not the name. Soon the other Lee had a patent too.

Daily Times, Boston, June 11, 1842
It was not uncommon by the mid-19th century for a medicine manufacturer to buy the entire front page of a newspaper for advertisement.

Peterson's Magazine, Philadelphia, March 1871.
At the end of the 1860s patent medicine advertisements moved from the wrappers to the back pages of the national monthly fashion magazines.


Patrick McNaughton. By Authority of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. Dr. Anderson's Famous Scots Pills. Philadelphia: Carey, Talbot, and Spotswood, [ca. 1785].
The only copy known of one of the earliest surviving American broadsides advertising a proprietary medicine. Dr. Anderson's Scots Pills were among the British medicines most intensively marketed in colonial America.

Tobias Hirte. Indianisch-French-Crieck-Seneca-Spring-Oel. Chestnut Hill: Samuel Saur, 1792.
Moravians in Northern Pennsylvania saw Indians using as a medicine a tarry substance skimmed from the waters of French Creek. Tobias Hirte, a Philadelphia apothecary, soon was bottling it. The substance was petroleum, which was a medicine long before its usefulness as a fuel was discovered.

Tobias Hirte. Dr. Van Swieten's, Late Physician to His Imperial Majesty, Renowned Pills. [Philadelphia, 1793?]
Hirte also imported this English medicine.

Dr. I. Edrehi, Native of Turkey … has for sale .. Amulets, which is a preventative of Cholera, Scarlet Fever, and Other Contagious Diseases. [ca. 1845].
Folk medicines were also advertised by broadsides.

T. W. Dyott & Sons' Extensive Medicine Establishment … Columbian College. [Philadelphia: 1846]
Thomas Dyott, the first great American proprietary medicine manufacturer, owed his success to sparing no expense on advertising. He had his own glass factory in a model industrial village; he styled himself "Doctor" and his shop a "college."

Dr. O. S. Martin. Read and Circulate, the Well Known and Popular Indian Physician, Dr. O. S. Martin, would respectfully inform the Ladies and Gentlemen of this place and vicinity that he has taken rooms at [blank filled in manuscript]. Schoharie, New York: "Republican" Power Press, 1860.
Itinerant physicians often used handbills to announce their arrival in a town; they were printed with the location of the temporary office left blank so they could be used over and over again. An "Indian Physician" was a botanical doctor.

Dr. C. W. Kierstead's Unrivaled Remedy, the King Of All Pain!. Philadelphia: 1865.
A portrait of the supposed inventor of a medicine was commonly used to establish product recognition and to convey an image of authority.

Books, Pamphlets, and Almanacs

Thomas Prior. The Authentick Narrative of the Success of Tar Water, in Curing a Great Number and Variety of Distempers; With Remarks: by Thomas Prior. Boston: Re-printed by Rogers and Fowle, 1749.
To this reprint of a British puff for Tar Water, the Boston divine Thomas Prince added an appendix instructing Americans how to make their own with native pitch pine: every man his own apothecary.

Poor Richard Improved: Being an Almanack …for the Year of our Lord 1759. Philadelphia: Franklin and Hall, [1758].
Early American almanacs often included recipes for curing the ills of man and beast, as well as a "Man of Signs" diagram, showing the parts of the body supposedly governed by the signs of the zodiac.

Samuel Solomon. A Guide to Health; or, Advice to Both Sexes. 52nd ed. Stockport [England]: Printed for the Author; and sold by Robert Bach, New York, [1800.]
Popular medical guides were often little more than advertisements. This book was devoted to promoting Solomon's Balm of Gilead, a product mainly intended to discourage masturbation. It was reprinted endlessly and distributed in America as well as in England.

Catalogue of Drugs & Medicines, Dye-Stuffs, Paints, West India Goods and Groceries. Dover, New Hampshire, 1802.
An early example of a printed trade catalogue of medicines.

Lee's Patent & Family Medicine Store. Evening Amusement, Maxims for the Preservation of Health, and the Prevention of Diseases. New York: 1817.
Amusing little books carrying advertisements were often given away in drug stores.

Houck's Panacea. Baltimore: Robert Neilson, 1845.

Jew David's or Hebrew Plaster, the Most Successful Pain Extractor in the World. [New York: Comstock & Co., ca. 1845.]

Dr. Sherman's Messenger of Health, Describing the Wonderful and Extraordinary Vir-tues of His Medicated Lozenges, Poor Man's Plaster, Tooth Paste, &c. New York, 1843.

Health and Happiness, the Blessings of Life. [Dr. Sherman's All Healing Balsam.]. New York: 1846.

Woodcut illustration helped reinforce the advertiser's message.

Dr. Jayne's Medical Almanac and Guide to Health for the Year 1849. Philadelphia: Stavely & McCalla, [1848.]

William Collom. The Thomsonian Almanac for 1839. Philadelphia: A. & J. W. Comfort, [1838].

Free almanacs got advertising for medicines into the home and kept it there all year long. One New York druggist saw an opportunity in the crowds setting out for the California gold fields: he pasted his own handbill on the back of an almanac furnished by a Philadelphia drug manufacturer.

J. Hamilton Potter. The Consumptive's Guide to Health: or the Invalid's Five Questions. Philadelphia: the author, 1849.
The author included several chapters advertising his own patent medical devices.

James C. Jackson, How to Treat the Sick Without Medicine. New York: Austin, Jackson, & Co.,1868.
This entire book was an advertisement for one of the great rural water cure spas.


Dr. M.G. Kerr & Bertolet's Compound Asiatic Balsam. Norristown, 1849. Wood engraving.

Judson's Chemical Extract of Cherry & Lungwort. New York: Comstock & Brothers, 1851. Wood engraving by W.L. Ormsby.

Perry Davis' Vegetable Pain Killer. New York: Wellstood, Hanka, Hay, & Whiting, 1854. Engraving.

Jayne's Expectorant. Philadelphia: D. Jayne & Sons, [ca. 1855]. Wood engraving

Jayne's Carminative Balsam. Philadelphia: D. Jayne & Son, 1857. Engraving

Brandreth's Pills. New York: Benjamin Brandreth, 1868. Engraving.

Dr. Morse's Indian Root. New York: W.H. Comstock, [ca. 1860]. Wood engraving, with pills.

Genuine Green Seal Pills. Philadelphia, [ca. 1860]. Wood engraving with wax seal and pills.

Wright's Indian Vegetable Pills. New York, [ca. 1860]. Engraving, with pills. Three different packages.

Dr. Brandreth's Pills. New York, [ca. 1850]. Tin box, with pills.

Schenck's Mandrake Pills. Philadelphia, [ca. 1850]. Engraving, with pills.

Jayne's Sanative Pills for Liver Complaints. Philadelphia, [after 1906]. Engraving, with pills.Two different packages.

IntroductionBook in the SickroomAdvertising HealthExhibit HighlightsLabelsLibrary Co.