Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Norman Bedortha Collection, 1847-1848

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: Norman Bedortha collection
Creator: Beach, A.
Inclusive dates: 1847-1848
Bulk dates: 1847
Extent: 11 items
The Norman Bedortha collection contains 11 letters written by Bedortha about the health of Reverend A. Beach of Oppenheim, New York. Beach suffered from "paroxysms," and Bedortha recommended a number of water-based cures to his physician, L. G. Hoskins, and to others attending to the patient's health.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2007. M-4582.5.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Norman Bedortha Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Norman Bedortha was born in Massachusetts on November 12, 1811, one of many children of Luther Bedortha, who served as a major in the War of 1812. After receiving a medical degree and studying eclectic medicine, he became head of the New Lebanon Springs Water Cure Establishment in New Lebanon, New York. In the early 1850s, he left New Lebanon for Saratoga Springs, where he owned a water cure and a hotel. He and his wife, Lorinda Moore (1809-1875), had two children, Mary Lyon and Charles Edward. He died on February 5, 1883.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Norman Bedortha collection contains 11 letters written by Bedortha about the health of Reverend A. Beach of Oppenheim, New York. Bedortha, who worked at a water cure in New Lebanon Springs, New York, offered his opinions on Beach's prolonged treatment for "paroxysms," based primarily on cold baths and the application of wet bandages to different areas of the body; Bedortha also advocated occasional emetics. Though he remained cautiously optimistic, Bedortha cautioned the patient's wife that "I am inclined to think if he can be kept from another paroxysm for 2 or 3 weeks he will get along but I must say he is liable at any time to die suddenly. But hope for the best & let his courage & spirits be kept up as much as possible" (February 18, [1847]). Though the outlook at first appeared grim, the reverend showed steady improvement and was able to move to New Lebanon Springs by June 1847; though he suffered a relapse, Beach had mostly recovered by the end of a year, when the doctor advised a diet partially comprised of "animal food" to further his recovery (March 30, 1848).

Subject Terms

    • Hydrotherapy--United States--History--19th century.
    • Medicine, Popular.
    • Medicine--Practice--New York (State)--New Lebanon.
    • Medicine--United States--History--19th century.
    • Physicians--New York (State)—New Lebanon.
    • Bedortha, N. (Norman), 1811-1883.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   49, Small Collections Folders   42-43
    Norman Bedortha collection,  February 18, [1847]-March 30, 1848 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library Book Division holds the following volume:

    Bedortha, Norman. Practical Medication: Or the Invalid's Guide: with Directions for the Treatment of Disease. Albany, N.Y.: Munsell & Rowland, 1860.