The American Science and Medicine collection contains miscellaneous items that document various aspects of science and medicine in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fields covered include anatomy, astrology, astronomy, botany, dentistry, geography, medicine, paleontology, physics, and physiology.
Agriculture, plants, and seeds
Communication and travel
Collecting specimens for natural history museums
Epidemics (influenza, cholera, yellow fever)
Higher education and honorary degrees
Mathematics and navigation
Medical techniques and treatments for diseases, wounds, and afflictions
Scientific and medical texts and lectures
Technological developments and experiments in machinery, and architectural projects
Below are some highlights from the collection:
April 19, 1788: Description of riot set off by alleged body snatching by medical students in New York
August 31, 1792: Order for an inoculation
June 30, 1796: Request to Charles Wilson Peale from members of a Paris museum to exchange specimens, including mastodon and opossums
January 15, 1826: Thomas Nuttall to a bookseller named Mr. Brown concerning 10 boxes of natural history specimens he is sending from Oahu, Hawaii
August 7, 1832: Account of the course and spread of Cholera in Albany, and fears that southern slaves will suffer the most from Cholera
September 13, 1833: Description of bright flashing lights appearing in the sky
August 24, 1835: Recommendation of a physician of the 'new school' of medicine who does not utilize bleeding, blistering, or calomelization (mercury cure)
December 15, 1840: Description of eye surgery performed on a patient at the Medical College of Geneva, New York
January 12, 1842: Discussion of constructing a microscope to view bacillaria
May 8, 1844: Astrological reading that predicts the recipient will marry a man from the north with light brown hair
September 19, 1848: Rules and customs of telegraphing
: Request for a list of names of locals with eye problems on letterhead for Narcissa Waterman, Eye Doctress
1722 [post]. Stephanus Adam AMsS; s.l.
"Observations Critiques d’un Botaniste habitant des Isles Occidentales de l’amerique, sur les plantes decrites par le R. P. Labat Dominicain, dans les six tomes de son voyage aux Isles." Botanical observations and critiques relating to Jean Baptiste Labat's Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l'Amerique . In French, no translation.
1747 August 22. James Gordon ALS to Bonham; s.l.
Request for seeds and seedlings from Carolina and Virginia. Includes a receipt of botanical specimens received.
1750 October 26-1751 January 29. James Gordon DS to Bonham; s.l.
Receipt of botanical specimens received.
1763 March 22. Richard Peters ADS to Hockley & Physick; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Order to pay surveyors for work on the Pennsylvania-Maryland boundary line.
1768 September 24. G. Caldwell DS; West Simsbury, Massachusetts.
Tools and equipment included in purchase of New Sterling Forge.
1768 December 22. Philip Soop D to Smith & Caldwell; West Simsbury, Massachusetts.
Account of material sold to Smith & Caldwell, mainly of fabrics, clothing, housewares, and bill for labor performed for the New Sterling Forge.
1771 November 18. John Winthrop ALS to John Temple; Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Sends thanks for aiding in receipt of honorary degree from University of Edinburgh. Expressions of friendship.
1773 July 13. B[enjamin] Rush ALS to Elisha Hall; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Happy to hear of Hall’s “settlement & good Prospects in Georgetown,” believing he can quickly recoup lost time from his medical apprenticeship. Has forgiven Hall for his poor behavior and hopes he has learned to control his temper. Muses on forgiveness and generosity. Provides advice on one of Hall’s “deplorable” medical cases, including dressing bones, preparing tinctures to encourage discharges, treating colic, indigestion, and jaw troubles. Advises possible medications and recommends fresh air and exercise, but “If she cannot use the latter have Recourse to the flesh Brush.” Sending a pamphlet [not present] concerning medicinal waters.
1785 March 15. Robert Boyd, Jr. DS to Samuel Boyd; New York, New York.
Contract for Robert Boyd, Jr., a blacksmith, to construct waterworks at Chamber's Creek in New Windsor, New York, for scythe making. Divides property and profits as the Boyds go into business together.
1787 February 24. William Little ALS to Dr. David Sherman; Hillsborough, [Massachusetts].
Submits a request for a variety of medicines for his family. Describes a case of a sore leg and desires advice about its treatment. Acknowledges that the doctor is not pleased with him and asks that he "not put me to trouble," as he cannot leave his sick family. Agrees to barter a cow.
1787 December 18. Arthur Campbell ALS to Jedidiah Morse; Richmond, Virginia.
Offering information about his region in response to Morse’s advertisement proposing "a system of Geography of the United States of America." "In the early part of my life, I happened to fall into the hands of the then enemies of America & was carried into Canada where I resided upwards of two years, during which time I became well acquainted with the Country adjoining to the West end of Lake Erie and between that and the Ohio, my place of residence being at Fort Detroit." Notes his varied travels, "from the Delaware to Savannah, and from Kentuckey, and Frankland, to the Atlantic." Warns Morse to be careful if he uses maps produced by Mr. Hutchins, believing his work "materially defective in the upper parts of the great Kanhawa, the Tenasee above the Cumberland Mountains, and the Kentucky and Sandy river." Offers to send information to help Morse create a "more perfect Map, than has ever yet appeared in any publication I know of." Believes Mr. Henry’s map of Virginia is "erroneous, and scarcely intelligible" in its western regions. Emphasizes his interest in "American literary productions" and the education of American youth, "an excellent means of preserving that spirit of liberty, which is the glory of the present Age." Envelope includes several docketing marks ranging from December 18, 1787, through November 26, 1794, indicating an ongoing correspondence and Campbell sending a map. "Nov. 26 1794 These documents may be relied on as accurate."
1788 April 19. Samuel A[llyne] Otis ALS to George Thacher; New York, New York.
Describes alleged body snatching by medical students and the reasons why this offended the public. Notes youth playing on Sundays near a hospital and spying on dissections, and a doctor's angry retort that he was "cutting up" one of their relatives. News of this claim incited a riot. Describes the riot at the hospital, how it spread the following day to the doctors' houses and the jail where they were kept for safety, and the efforts to suppress it. Notes deaths and injuries due to police retaliation, as well as the injury of John Jay when he tried to dispel the mob.
1791 August 29. T[imothy] Matlack, James Brindley, and John Adlum MsS Cy; [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].
“Report on Quilipahilla and Tulpehocken” Canal. Notes on water evaporation, canal locks, Chinese vs. lifting locks, drafts and plans for the canal.
1792 February 9. Henry Remsen, Jr. ALS to Jedidiah Morse; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Update on information gathered for Morse's American Geography , but lacking information on the South due to their tardiness in submitting enumerations.
1792 February 27. Jedidiah Morse Partially printed circular to [Thomas Johnson]; Charlestown, [Massachusetts].
Printed circular from Jedidiah Morse requesting information for his forthcoming “Gazetteer of North-America.” “WHOEVER undertakes to publish a geographical and topographical account of any country, must of necessity be dependent on others for much of his information; for it can never be expected that he should be personally acquainted with every part of the country which he describes.” Asks for the name of Johnson’s county, its boundaries, number of inhabitants, their nationalities, and religious denominations. Inquires about soil and agriculture, other productions and their transport, regional geography and “curiosities.” Requests information about the area’s early history, education, towns and their buildings. Includes a manuscript note stating Morses’s appreciation for any corrections Johnson can make to his Geography and apologizes for not being able to visit while in Boston. Also includes manuscript corrections to the circular, changing the date from June 23, 1783, to February 27, 1792, and changing the location and forwarding address from New York to Charlestown.
1792 August 31. John White DS to Dr. Warren; Boston, Massachusetts.
Early inoculation order for four children, signed by John White, Overseer of the Poor.
1792 November 1. A. Betteys ALS to John Betteys; Cambridge, [Massachusetts].
Letter to his uncle, Dr. John Betteys, concerning the state of smallpox in Cambridge and an outbreak in Menotomy, where people are carried to "pest houses" in an attempt to ease the spread. Visits Boston where no one is infected excepting those who have taken it by inoculation, and they are also carried to pest houses. Boston is trying to "clense [sic] the town."
1793 October 27. John Drury ALS to David Sherman; Marblehead, [Massachusetts].
Notes the recent death of his mother, his young infant, and uncle, as well as his grandmother's illness. Acknowledges the difficulty of making a living as a doctor and plans for the two to set up a joint “Practice of Physic.” Comments on the place to establish their business and purchasing and selling medicines for profit.
1796 January 30. [Jean- Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de] Lamarck and [Étienne] Geoffroy [Saint-Hilaire] LS to [Charles Willson] Peale; Paris, France.
Responding to a request for formal correspondence from Peale’s museum, written on Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle stationery. Desires an exchange of specimens, having a particular interest in mastodon bones, opossums, quadrupeds, moles, bats, beavers. Comments on the use of "[s]pirituous liquors" for preservation of specimens, the preparation of larger bones, and exchanging catalogs of printed works on natural history. Includes a transcript and a "Memorandum Regarding Peale" signed by Bashford Deane, June 1904.
1798 October 10. William Walker ALS to George Chalmers; St. Vincent.
Dr. Anderson, Superintendent of the Botanic Garden, is preparing plants to be shipped to the Bahamas. Concerned about safe conveyance of the specimens and their confiscation by "the Enemy," and discusses the particulars of shipment. Comments on breadfruit and "[g]rain and other kind of bread-food" being scarce for slaves.
1799 November 3. I. Little ALS to Robert J[ames] Leavenstone, [Livingston]; Shanderon.
“Facetious” letter with humorous medical diagnosis and remedy, emphasizing outrageous therapies. Includes a bill for services.
[18th century]. H. G. AMs to Mrs. Shepherd; s.l.
Formula for breast salve made from hartshorn sweet oil and laudanum.
1801 March 21. AMs; s.l.
"Memento of Mortality," describing the events leading up to the death of Daniel Garfield (1787-1801), written by his brother. Daniel was left behind during a hunting excursion and was found dead. "Various conjectures have been started as to the cause of his Death, the most reasonable is that he was suddenly seized with some convulsive fit occasioned by the rising of worms in His Stomach." Notes the Jury of Inquest. Details his activities preceding and after learning of his brother's death.
1802 April 6. N[athaniel] Bowditch ALS to E[dmund] M[arch] Blunt; Salem, [Massachusetts].
Inquiry to publisher about logarithm tables and verifying navigation tables. Asks about Nautical Almanacs and purchasing them cheaply.
1803 July 4. James Cairns, J. C. Carpue, and J. Tweedie DS; [London, England].
Certifying that Mary Gray is in a fatal condition due to a knife wound in her neck.
1804 June 27. [Joel] Barlow AL to [Joseph Michel] Montgolfier; [Paris, France].
Request for Montgolfier to show the operation of his hydraulic machine to Mr. Rotch, who will be returning to America soon and may need such machines. [In French]
[1805 January 28]. J. M. Galt DS; Williamsburg, Virginia.
Certifying that Cyrus Griffin is too ill to appear before the Senate in response to a subpoena. Signature verified by Thomas Griffin.
1810 May 24. Benj[ami]n Rush ALS to Josephus B[radner] Stuart; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Regarding "Cancer doctors," and their common career woes "from a return of the sores which were said to have been cured by them." Notes cancer doctors claiming to have obtained cures from Native Americans, which Rush finds improbable due to "Cancers being unknown among the Indians." Doubts the efficacy of vegetable cures, believing most to rely on arsenic. Warns Stuart that if he has found a cure it likely will yield "but a small profit... for a majority of the persons afflicted with them are poor people," while if he fails he will lose his good character. Letter arrived at the Clements Library with a portrait of Benjamin Rush, engraved by R. W. Dodson from a painting by T[homas] Sully. Printed in L. H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush, Vol. 2 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), pp. 1049-1050. Donated by Peggy Harrington, from the collection of Kevin Harrington, 2014.
1813 December 13. Charles Arnold ALS to [Charles] Delahoyde; Mr. Lucett; Hoxton, [England].
Writes regarding his wife suffering from an attack of insanity, responding to Delahoyde and Lucett's advertisement. Wife has been hospitalized at St. Luke's and with Dr. Burrows previously. Describes his current financial situation and will sacrifice as much as he can to find her a cure.
1815 December 9. Andrew F. Selden Warner ALS to Selden Warner; [New Haven, Connecticut].
Writing from the "Medical Institution." Describes a New Haven physician and an influenza striking students. Comments on medical lectures, professors, and students.
1815 December 20. Condy Raguet ANS to Wager & Co.; s.l.
Request for Holland gin for medicinal purposes.
1817 May 16; 1818 September 15. Josiah Meigs 2 ALSs to Joseph B. Robinson; Washington, D.C.
Has received Robinson’s drawing of the inclined wheel and will send it to the Patent Office. Liberty of U.S. encourages inventiveness. Comments on the policies of surveying Indian lands.
1818 November 9. Elisha Hayward ALS to Joseph Hayward; New Haven, [Connecticut].
Travelled to New Haven by stage and steamboat. Settling in at the Medical College, noting boarding with medical students. Attended an amputation.
1819 November 10. Decius Wadsworth ALS to Major Dollaby; Washington, D.C.
Technical discussion of the merits of a cannon designed by Townsend, possible alterations, and a disagreement about types of weapons requested.
1820 February 5. Sidney E. Morse ALS to Jedidiah Morse; Charlestown, [Massachusetts].
Regarding Jedidiah Morse's struggle with the church over his geographical publications. Recommends that the church replace him with a new minister. Thoughts on how to frame his dismissal and plans for re-entering the ministry.
1820 June 10. J[ohn] Farrar ALS to [Parker] Cleaveland; Cambridge, [Massachusetts].
Regarding a plate electrical machine for instructional purposes. Notes cost, the difficulty of obtaining large plates of glass, and compares it to moveable plate batteries.
1821 February 14. Robert Hare ALS to [Benjamin] Silliman; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Is hurried "preparing for Electricity," likely a college course, but encloses money to pay for a deflagrator. Discusses finances for an experimental apparatus and the timeline for its completion. Rejects Silliman's offer to relinquish his commission, due to Mrs. Hare's pride.
1821 February 26. J[ohn] G[eorge] Children ALS to William Phillips; [London, England].
Laments the ill success of a book translation and wonders if it should be redone as a "familiar work." Thoughts on the book market, its "caprice & fashion," and his share of the sales.
1821 December 18. B[enjamin] Silliman ALS; [New Haven, Connecticut].
Recommends Dr. James Gates Percival , a poet, "chemist mineralogist & Geologist," in response to an advertisement. Percival is in New York and intends to go to South America. Comments on pieces for a journal, likely The American Journal of Science .
1822 May 4. Davis Carpenter ALS to [Asa Carpenter]; Middlebury, [Vermont].
Includes a poem on religion and family and short rhymes about death and fate. News of family and acquaintances, including marriages, death, health. Comments on his education, including Latin, “Physick and surgery,” and attending medical lectures. Working with Dr. Jonathan A. Allen and trying to make enough money to cover expenses, as his father will not provide any support. Tells Asa of their father’s increasing abuse of alcohol, efforts to intervene, and his bad reactions to them.
1822 November 10. [Andre] Thouin ALS to Mr. Hersant; Paris, France.
Will supply seeds for exchange in North America in January. [In French]
1824 October 4. Robert G[oodloe] Harper ALS to William Howard; Baltimore, [Maryland].
Notes on constructing a canal on Deep Creek in Maryland, arguing that it is feasible. Provides details on water flow, locks, and boat traffic. Has sent this information to the Secretary of War.
1825 July 22. W. Washington ALS to James Barbour; Alexandria, [Virginia].
Recommends George Taylor, Jr., as a surgeon’s mate in the Army. Has taught Taylor medicine for several years and believes him competent, amicable, and respectable.
1825 August 15. William Loddiges ALS to George Odiorne; Hackney, [England].
Gives news of family and acquaintances, including Mrs. Hawkins who is cared for by her daughter. Alice used to be a governess, but her pupil is dying. Mrs. Hawkins's son is apprenticed to a "copper plate printer." Comments on his family's "botanical nursery" and his father (Conrad Loddiges, d. 1826). Notes a forty-foot-high palm, their use of steam to heat their conservatories, and high costs preventing much profit.
1825 September 13. Dan[iel] Drake ALS to R[ene] La Roche; Cincinnati, Ohio.
Describes his symptoms of "brain fever," consisting of paroxysms, bleeding in the head and other internal organs, and bleeding externally. Comments on medical journals and schools.
1826 January 15. Thomas Nuttall ALS to Mr. Brown; Oahu, [Hawaii].
Has sent ten boxes of his natural history collection to be accepted on his account and settled on his return. [Note: Original located in Gold Star Collection]
1826 February 15. A. H. Schenck ALS to James Tallmadge; Fishkill Landing, New York.
Correspondence delayed due to his preoccupation with the "Factory operations and construction of machines." His son suffers from inflammatory rheumatism, and other family members are sick with influenza. Seems to be an influenza epidemic, making factory operations difficult. Has not read newspapers to keep abreast of politics. Comments on Albany legislation, national politics, political parties, and South Carolinian political maneuvers. Notes New York state laws on manufactures.
1826 July 30. Samu[ue]l H[oneyman] Kneass ALS to [Fullerton] Tully [Kneass]; Harrisburg, [Pennsylvania].
Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Reigart, and Mr. Trimble recently left for Lancaster and Philadelphia. Refuses to tell Tully the name of “the Damsel for whom I yearn.” Brief mention of the Dutch. Read a publication on divination, curious to know how much of it that has entered into science is “fallacious.” Remarks on the publication’s discussion of pagan theology and the difference between natural and artificial divination. Curious whether Astrology, Physiognomy, Horoscopy, and Chiromancy retain elements of divination. Tells “an amusing description of Dancing,” including a brief reference to African American musicians. Recommends removing troublesome teeth, for “extraction tis much better than distraction.”
1827 January 19. L. Halsey, Jr. ALS to Daniel Fisher; Princeton, [New Jersey].
Discusses galvanic machine he wishes to construct and requests more information on the particulars of doing so. Asks about completing an order of Eaton's zoological textbook for a class.
1827 March 26. William Phillips ALS to Thomas Thomson; London, England.
Regarding copper ore, believes the specimen sent "a fair average kind." Gives particulars of copper mining in Cornwall, and thinks sending a miner from Cornwall to look at his site would not be wise due to the differing nature of the veins. Advises getting a miner from a limestone district.
1827 April 19. H[enry] T[homas] De la Beche ALS to William Phillips; Torquay, England.
Corrections to be made to Phillips’s geological map, "Tabular View." Made additions to "Characteristic Fossils" and cautions on how to use color. Included translations of "Foreign geologic works" for use in The Philosophical Magazine . Requests a copy of Faraday's Chemical Manipulation .
1828 March 5. Mason F. Cogswell ALS to David Hosack; Hartford, Connecticut.
Recommends Henry Burnham as physician. [Note: Original located in Mason F. Cogswell letters]
1829 October 26. Elizabeth Clyde and Joseph Clyde ALS to David Gregg and Rachel Gregg; Windham, [New York?].
Description of the accidental death of their cousin, Samuel Willson, from a gun explosion as he was ramming gun powder in a new piece given to him after the general muster. Notes the physical injuries, the doctors who tended to him, and his death and funeral.
1829 December 23. Samuel Howe ALS to Ephraim Drury; Grafton, [Massachusetts].
Asking Drury to do something with “the old Doct,” as he has turned verbally and physically violent. Notes family's unsuccessful attempts to intervene with his behavior.
1830 February 24. A. R. Avery ALS to William Mather; Brownville, [New York].
Encourages William Mather to deliver a course of "chemical lectures" in Brownville and Watertown. Asks for details on a possible course and the number of lectures per day.
1830 May 20. [Edioin?] L. James ALS to Benjamin James and Sally James; Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Notes on health. "I am following the proscriptions of a celebrated Root Doctor whose Medicines help me." His brother, Edmund, has not yet received a preaching position. Teaches thirty students and is living in a boarding house. Can see New York City, especially if he uses a spy glass. Comments on religion and his anxieties of his family's religious shortcomings.
1830 August 30. Dennis [Cooley] ALS to Hollis Cooley; Stoney Creek, [New York].
Regarding being arrested for disinterring a corpse. Notes the amount of his bond and other financial difficulties.
1830 November 4. [John James] Abert ALS to [ ] Mason; s.l.
Sorry to hear of Mr. L's illness, "but I suppose it is the wearing out of the machine, which is inevitable."
1830 December 23. Thomas J[efferson] Nevins ALS to Edw[ard] J. Eno; Penn Yan, [New York ].
Notifying Eno that his brother (Henry Eno, 1798-1882?), has relapsed into alcoholism and his health is suffering. Describes his efforts to keep Eno’s brother sober, including offering him employment in his law office. His brother has been boarding at a tavern, has lost his job, and has not gone to church in three years. Believes he should return to his father’s house. Edw[in] Eno forwarded the letter to S[tephen] Eno (b. 1764), and included a note, dated December 29, 1830, admitting his bewilderment about Harry’s case but willingness to offer whatever aid he can.
1831 September 12. United States Land Office D; Washington, D.C.
Survey of land and the Ohio River in Ohio Territory Township 1, Second range. Surveyed in 1786 by Absalom Martin and in 1802 by Elnation Scofield. Includes drawings of the township and descriptions of the soil and trees.
1831 October 25. Lau[sen?] West ALS to Samantha Boris; Lynne, [Massachusetts?].
Letter written to the sister of a deceased woman, detailing her last weeks alive. Describes the woman's illness, struggles with dysentery and a painful throat, visits by a doctor, and seeming recovery. Notes the woman tending to her child and her religious piety.
1832 July 23. V[incent] L. Bradford ALS to Thomas Bradford, Jr.; Dover, Delaware.
Asks whether there are any cases of cholera in Philadelphia and how business, his own included, is going. He suffers from some symptoms of cholera, and his wife is experiencing "bilious colic." Plans to stay in Dover until they feel better and to avoid cholera.
1832 July 31. T[homas] Bradford ALS to Eliza Bradford; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Discusses the cholera cases reported by the Board of Health. Cholera rages but only among the "lower classes of people, the intemperate, the licentious, & the wretched." There is no safety from cholera in the country, but says that by living prudently it can be avoided. Describes the premonitory symptoms and compares Philadelphia's outbreak to New York's. Hopes recent lightning storms will check the disease due to changing atmospheric conditions. Some people have fled the city. Notes family health and his involvement in settling church disputes.
1832 August 7. John McPherson ALS to William McPherson; Albany, [New York].
Asiatic Cholera rages among intemperate and temperate, spreading along "navigable water courses." Account of the course and spread of cholera in Albany, including people fleeing from sick relatives, the fast pace of the disease, and cases of residents close to their house. Describes premonitory symptoms and medicines to take. Fears Southern slaves will suffer the most from cholera, particularly in Georgia and the Carolinas.
1832 August 18. AL to Mrs. Patrick; Perth Amboy, [New Jersey].
Anxious about friends' health in New York City. Following newspaper accounts of cholera cases. Panic in Newark, New Jersey. Tells of burning beds of cholera patients. Notes other illnesses amongst friends, including "bleeding at the lungs" and "bilious fever." One woman is engaged to her doctor. Elegant red Amboy, New Jersey, oval stamp with ornaments.
1832 August 18. Susan [Goodrich] ALS to Margaret Goodrich; [Utica, New York].
Description of the cholera epidemic in Utica. Notes her use of diet, avoiding heat and evening air, and carefully managing social calls to prevent catching the disease. Religious reflections and thoughts on fear. Detailed observations on spread of disease, the people it struck, and speculation on causes. People predisposed to get it from lifestyle or location, noting that middling classes largely affected but that imprudence heightens the risk. Notes on funerals and making coffins.
1832 August 20. William H. Butler ALS to Steuben Butler; Nazareth, [Pennsylvania].
Description of astronomy studies and illustration of the solar system. Notes early thoughts on celestial bodies. Comments on the particulars of the solar system, including details of Mercury, Venus, Earth, the moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Herschel [Uranus]. Discusses comets, stars, how the sun remains stationery, and orbits.
1832 August 26. R. B. Gregory ALS to [Amanda M. Gregory]; Poughkeepsie, [New York].
Has been preoccupied with his studies, including Greek, Latin, History, and Algebra. Sickness in the family, recommends their mother go "to the medicinal springs." Attributes a local death to drinking too much cold milk, as well as cases of cholera. Believes local outbreak of cholera has passed, and believes himself safer in Poughkeepsie than Montrose, Pennsylvania, on account of more experienced doctors. Poughkeepsie brought in nurses from New York City to aid in treatment of cholera. Notes recent deaths.
1832. [Augustine Pyramus de] Candolle ALS to Mr. Cellerier; Geneva, Switzerland.
Informing Cellerier that the academic senate has forwarded his proposal. [In French]
1833 January 7. Edward G. Steel ALS to George B. Rollins; New Orleans, Louisiana.
Recently married and left Nashville. Recommends New Orleans as a place to live and make one's fortune. Does not need to leave New Orleans in the summer to escape yellow fever. Locals treat yellow fever with little fear and do not believe it contagious. Cholera abounds in New Orleans and in nearby plantations.
1833 January 25. David R. Hibbard ALS to Henry Barden; [New York, New York].
Apologizes for the delay in responding to Barden's letter, but "the small Pox has engrossed almost every moment of my time." Sending vaccines on quills, describing where the virus is located and how to best handle them. Comments on Barden's circumstances, his "scientific medical" work, and the manner with which his choice of home corresponds to what Dr. J[oseph] M[ather] Smith (1789-1866) taught them in regards to the impact of "air, exersize, diet, &c &c." Discusses his own work "to determine the extent to which vaccine proves a prophylactic against the Small Pox." Will be conducting experiments on cows produced by the "Governors of this Institution" [possibly the New York Dispensary].
1833 March 26. Samuel George Morton LS to Jean-Gabriel-Victor de Moléon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Notification of election to the Academy of Natural Sciences as a corresponding member. Signed by Samuel George Morton. Written on official, illustrated letterhead.
1833 May 8. Joseph Henry ALS to Jacob Green; Albany, [New York].
Introducing Dr. Thomas Hunn, who will be traveling to Europe for medical and scientific education. Seeking letters of introduction to German, French, and English "savants." Comments on experiments on local magnetic fields.
1833 July 17. G[eorge] W[ashington] Carver ALS to Benj[ami]n McMurtrie; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Requests payment on an unpaid bill. Written on G. W. Carpenter's Chemical Warehouse illustrated stationery, with engraving of "Inspissated Extracts bottles (Quinine, Morphine, Cornine, and Piperine).
1833 September 13. AMs; s.l.
Description of bright flashing lights appearing in the sky in the early morning. "[I]t appeared as if all the stars were falling to the earth."
1833 November 10. Lyman [Cobbs] ALS to Daniel Cobbs; New Orleans, Louisiana.
Discusses epidemics in New Orleans. Comments on newspaper reporting on them, cost of internment and its burden on the poor, and treatment of deceased slaves. Recovering from a case of bilious fever and diarrhea, which he attributes to using "Vegetable Hygean Pills." Speculating with wares to trade on the river and describes flat boats.
1834 December 13. William Buckland ALS to Thomas Thomson; Oxford, England.
Seeking purchaser for William Phillips's mineral collection. If unable to sell as a collection, will have to sell it piecemeal in London.
1834 December 29-31. Theo[dore] F. Cornell ALS to Fred[eric]k F[relinghuysen] Cornell; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
In Philadelphia attending a course of lectures at the Jefferson Medical College, but has suffered a bout of "varioloid… (which is smallpox modified)." Describes his smallpox symptoms and medicines taken. Notes the death of two students from smallpox and Dr. Ely's providing a grave, "a portion of his own family Vault." Having experienced symptoms, he feels "secure in seeing small pox patients and have a better Idea of Eruptive diseases than theory could have given."
1835 June 1. A[dam] Sedgwick ALS to Thomas Thomson; Trinity College, [Cambridge, England].
Cannot determine who could be able to purchase William Phillips's mineral collection. The University of Cambridge is unable to purchase it, as they already have a "very valuable, tho' imperfect minerealogical collection" and are undergoing costly construction and developments. Provides other individuals to forward the information on Phillips's collection.
1835 August 24. Rev. Henry Channing ALS; New Haven, [Connecticut].
Regarding the welfare of the recipient, a fellow preacher. Channing recommends a physician of the ‘new school’ of medicine which does not utilize bleeding, blistering, or calomelization. Has personally witnessed and experienced the positive results of their practice.
1836 March 15. E[dward] Bringhurst ALS to Richard M. Acton; Wilmington, [Delaware?].
Death of Bringhurst's brother following an accidental shooting which led to infection. Speculation about an underlying heart condition contributing to his brother's death. Grief. Describes the medical treatments attempted, including surgery, plasters, leeches, blisters. Quaker family.
1836 March 16. G[eorge] B[rettingham] Sowerby ALS to Thomas Thomson; [London, England].
Seeking location of William Phillips’s mineral collection, details on it, and permission to show it to a gentleman from Liverpool. Notes the desired price for the collection. Sends letters from naturalists [not included]. Received the "lot of Conchology Books."
1836 May 10. William H. Pettit ALS to Seth Low & Co.; Louisville, [Kentucky].
Ordering Portuguese leeches. Notes the best way to package and send them. Wishes their presence to remain undetected on the canal boat.
1836 November 21. Douglass Houghton ALS to A. G. Hubbard; New York, [New York].
Inquiring after sale of Mr. Door’s marsh lands near Detroit.
1837-1936 and undated
1837 January 9. F. M. C. ALS to Robert M. Havens; New York, [New York].
Describes New Year's festivities in New York City. Prefers the countryside, but enjoys the art, books, and lectures in the city. Notes Professor Silliman's geology lectures at the Lyceum of Natural History. Notes his remarks on coal and providential design. Comments on learning Italian under Pietro Maroncelli, his political persecution in Italy, and imprisonment.
1837 January 30. William Culbertson ALS to M[ichael] S[impson] Culbertson; Cape Girardeau, [Missouri].
Dislikes Missouri and its residents. Believes it "the spot to see the glorious fruits of charlatanism," particularly quack medicine. Discusses a friend, a physician, who toured the South and plans on leaving Missouri as well.
1837 March 14. James L. Belden ALS to Nicholas Peck; Wetherfield, Connecticut.
Will try to send carrot and onion seeds, but the price is high for onions due to low supply. Discusses the best shipment route. Letter written on printed seed price list for Belden's "annual collection of garden seeds, raised in his garden."
1838 April 1. Clarissa Richardson ALS to Reuben Shattuck and Sarepta Shattuck; [Vermont].
Glad to hear that they safely made it Ohio. News of family and friends in Vermont. Discusses the "great many Deaths around us," including a number from smallpox and "lung fever." Includes a poem about remembrance and separation. A list of items and their prices appears on the back, including mare feed, saffron, sweet flag, skunk cabbage, licorice stick, and others.
1838 July 12. William Sullivan ALS to George Odiorne; Newport, Rhode Island.
Giving proxy to Odiorne for meeting of the Hydraulic Company, in hopes of expediting the "legal organization of the company." Committed to providing Boston with fresh drinking water. Studied Philadelphia's water system.
1838 November 2- 1839 January 16. Howard Alden DS to Mr. Sanford; s.l.
Doctor's bill for a long series of visits and medicines to treat Sanford's sick mother.
1838 December 4. W[oodbrige] S[age] Olmsted ALS to Mrs. Simeon Collins [Cynthia Collins]; Charleston, South Carolina.
Delayed in their journey on account of a “disaster at sea.” Lost all of their goods and his wife, Marianne, has taken gravely ill with the influenza. The doctor fears her lungs are diseased and urges them to travel to Florida to help restore her health. “The course which Doct Phillips prescribes is designed to bring out the irritation of her throat & lungs to the surface by means of ointment to the chest & a blister to the arm.” Fearful that Marianne may die. Encourages her mother to come to Florida to tend to her. “I do feel that the presence of one of you- her Mother particularly- would do more to restore her to health than all other means combined.”
1839 October 9. Lucretia Plummer ALS to Margaret Pilsbury; Bangor, [Maine].
Remarks on teaching and its difficulties. Relates family health and news. Bangor has been an unhealthy community, especially for children. Discusses the death of a Sabbath School teacher. Attends an astronomy lecture by Rev. Woodhull and remarks on [Mary] Gove and her anatomy and physiology lectures. Believes Gove to be "a real Grahamite" and describes the practices she advocates, of which Plummer especially approves of daily bathing. Attends an antislavery sewing society meeting and encourages Margaret to become an abolitionist.
1839 November 25. Ed[ward] Coles ALS to John Coles Rutherfoord; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Compliments the fourteen-year-old John on his refined letter, commenting on his education, good parentage, and responsibilities to live virtuously. Notes the impact of children’s behavior on their parents. Describes family members’ trouble with their teeth, including an extraction, and their frequent illnesses. “This intercourse to resort to Drs have not increased my confidence in their skill—on the contrary I have far less faith in them than ever.”
1839. U.S. Treasury Department D to Governors of the U.S.; Washington, D.C.
Proof sheet of Treasury Department's notice of distributing standard weights. Includes Ferdinand Hassler's instructions for use of standard weights, 1839. Also includes instructions for use of standard weights for U.S. Custom Houses, dated 1836.
 February 9. S[amuel] Colhoun ALS to John Roe; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Informs Roe of the progress of his son, W. T. H. Roe, in his medical studies at Pennsylvania College. Roe displays respectability and studiousness. Pleased with the college's success. Daguerreotype "on the mode of drawing by light" is drawing attention.
1840 May 29. Dennison Olmsted ALS to William Mitchell; [New Haven, Connecticut].
Mitchell’s request has been approved by Yale faculty, seemingly as it related to "Milne's work." Glad Mitchell still has zeal for astronomy, and refers to his article to be included in Silliman's journal. Laments his lack of time to devote to "original investigations" due to his obligations in writing books.
1840 June 1. G[eorge] C[rosby] Finch ALS to [Hiram Bennett]; Somers, [New York].
Surprised to learn that Silas Wright (1795-1847) had called Bennett to fill his position in Washington. Is sure Bennett is "doing all you can for the advancement and support, of sound and correct principles, or to make use of a synonym, of the Democratic Republican party." Unable to get in politics due to the demands of his studies, but he is pleased with the physician he is studying under. Encourages Bennett to pursue his studies and profession in New York City. Asks if he saw Fanny Elssler (1810-1884) while in the city. Is courting a woman boarding with the doctor he is studying under. See also George C[rosby] Finch ALS to Hiram Bennett, December 1, 1843.
1840 September 28. H. Winchester & Co. ALS to Seth Low & Co.; Boston, [Massachusetts].
Acknowledges receipt of “your sample Rose leaves,” and is submitting an order for them as well as Bombay Myrrh. Corrects a recent bill sent to them. Written on “Botanic Medicine Store” printed advertisement. “…for the benefit of Botanic Physicians, as also for the accommodation of Private Families, who are in almost daily use of Roots, Herbs and Barks.” Production of “VEGETABLE MEDICINES” and their collecting “Indigenous Plants from all parts of the United States.” Includes a catalogue of “simples kept on hand,” listing the types of barks, herbs, roots, flowers, and medicinal plants available. Lists available compounds, including Cholera Syrup, Jaundice Bitters, Female Strengthening Syrup, Dysentery Cordial, and others.
1840 December 15. Eluta Swift ALS to Milton U. Swift; Phelps, [New York].
Describes eye surgery performed on her at the Medical College of Geneva, New York, where 140 students attended her procedure. Notes the cost, details of the surgery, and recovery. Gives her thoughts on his finding a wife. Comments on William Henry Harrison and Van Buren, and dislikes Whig political maneuvering.
1841 July 30. Sarah ALS to Catherine Tilton; Poughkeepsie, [New York].
Married Quaker woman discusses her absent husband, botanical studies with William Gibbons, and attendance with a number of female acquaintances at a series of Anatomy and Physiology lectures, which include mannequin dissections. Notes discomfort at the mixed-gender nature of public anatomy lectures and the establishment of an alternative lecture series for women. Justifies her attendance by noting the respectability of the women. Discussion of postage costs and reading materials. [Note: Original located in Quaker Collection]
1841 August 9. William H. Denny ALS to Richard Denny; Nottaway, [Virginia].
Notes local doctors' favorable thoughts on setting up practice as a physician in Nottaway. Muses on buying Dr. Agnew's "stand." Comments on his travels and meetings with local officials, notes a large funeral, and reflects on the doctors of the area. Records advice about how to set up a successful practice and the challenges he would face.
1841 December 16. A[rchibald] M. Catlin ALS to [Marcus Catlin]; Rockford, [Illinois].
Discusses debts, selling medicinal pills, and gaining a deep understanding of a disease’s nature in order to cure it. Suspects Marcus is suffering from bronchitis, commenting on the biology of the respiratory tract, Marcus’s symptoms, and prescribing medicine “not so much…according to the name as according to the nature & symptoms present.” Notes possible remedies to attempt and their effects.. Mentions Dr. Tully’s writings on bloodroot. Remarks on the difference between chronic and acute illnesses and discusses bowel movements and the information they provide about the liver. Recommends he cease studying and take up physical employment, particularly agriculture. Notes the health benefits of western countries and the positive impact of their mother nursing him.
1841 December 18- December 27. S. D. ALS to Mrs. David Coffin; Salem, [Massachusetts].
Sending small mollusk shells from Fiji and Peru, in return for shells recently sent to her. Comments on other shell collectors. Gives news of General Miller, John Gibaut, and Rev. J. U. Thompson. Promises to send a list of pastors of Salem's Second Unitarian Church.
1842 January 12. M. S. Petit ALS to Jacob Whitman Bailey; Fredonia, [New York].
Acknowledges receipt of a pamphlet on natural history. Constructing a microscope to view Bacillaria and aid his botanical studies. Includes a small sketch of his design for the microscope lenses. Comments on their exchange of plant specimens.
1842 June 25- 1843 March 21; 1854 November 25. Tillinghast & Adam ADS to Horatio Huntington; [Chenango County, New York?].
Bill for groceries and medicine. Includes an 1855 tax receipt for the sums Huntington is to distribute to Columbus, New York, after collecting taxes.
1842 September 11. J. D. Anderson ALS to Francis D. Anderson; Boston, [Massachusetts].
J.D. is staying in Boston, where she is being treated for back and stomach ailments. Describes her water treatments, medicine, price of services, etc. The medical boarding house is quite full. Notes that one "female assistant" fell ill with rheumatic fever and was removed to a "thompsonian," possibly for herbal treatment.
1842 December 10- December 15. Will Speer ALS to James P. Speer; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Thoughts and advice on leaving home for college. Describes life as a medical student, the use of cadavers, and the merits of dissection. Notes taking a friend to an anatomy lecture on the brain and his reaction to the dissected cadaver.
1843 February 2. G[eorge] B[rettingham] Sowerby, Jr. ALS to L[ovell Augustus] Reeve]; s.l.
Unable to illustrate Reeve’s book for lack of time and unwillingness to risk his reputation if his work did not meet his usual standards. Proposes that he do only some figures.
1843 March 6. James D. McCabe ALS to Chapin Aaron Harris; Richmond, Virginia.
Notes the economic depression and his uncertainty of being able to collect payments from patients. Unhappy with Richmond and thinks of moving, as charlatans do well in the area. Is preparing two students to attend dentistry school, possibly the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. Believes the dentistry college needs better publicity. Has difficulty incorporating "the Virginia Society," due to local intransigence.
1843 August 17. Dion[ysius] Lardner ALS; Columbus, Ohio.
Travelling on a lecture circuit. Unhappy with giving lectures in rooms rather than theatres.
1843 October 22. S. E. Willcox ALS to Melinda [Phillips]; Kirkland, [New York].
Detailing the final sickness and death of a brother from "dropsy in the head." Comments on grief, the corpse, and funeral sermon. Notes health of various family members, some suffering from rheumatism, and suspected deaths. Mentions a local man who moved west and is accused of stealing property. Discusses crops and her flock of chickens.
1843 December 1. George C[rosby] Finch ALS to Hiram Bennett; Somers, [New York].
Attended on a rich woman during her recent childbirth, which frustrated "The old Doctor in the neighbourhood." Has been "gaining the good graces of the better portion of our female community-- an acquisition so essential to the success and prosperity of a medical practitioner." Will be travelling to witness a will and attend to a sick friend. Notes the growth of the "Native American Party" in New York City. "Both parties Whig & Democrat here meet on common ground, and bind themselves to promote the best interests of our free institutions, excluding all foreigners from any holding of offices." Went to the museum to see "a litteral and living 'Tom Thumb' ... he is a perfect Lilliputian." Mentions his status as a bachelor but is seeking a partner. See also G[eorge] C[rosby] Finch ALS to [Hiram Bennett], June 1, 1840.
1844 May 8. Sullivan Sheffield ALS to Lucy H. Stacy; Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
Gives an astrological reading, predicting Lucy Stacy will suffer from some illness, has a respectable and wealthy family, and will marry a man from the north. Describes her future husband and where they will meet.
1844 July 7. Charles Lyell ALS; [England?].
Writes regarding notes on his speeches, which he has not been able to review as he has been away from home.
1845 April 7. A. E. Stibbins ALS to Hannah Avery; Albany, [New York].
Appreciated Avery's letter of consolation regarding the death of Stibbins' young child, Mary. Reflects on Mary's character and her death by croup. "It was agonizing to feel that nothing could relieve her, that she must 'choke to death' without the possibility of help- but so it was to be. On Thursday the Physician was first called, she lingered suffering most intensely till Tuesday March 4." Includes religious reflections.
1845 May 28. George M. Campbell ALS to Mariah Brigham; Montreal, Canada.
Letter from a Montreal physician to Brigham at the Asylum for the Insane in Utica, New York, with the history of a boy taken under their care. The patient is healthy and from a respectable and well-off family, but his parents neglected and were displeased with him. Notes a change in the boy's temperament towards volatility and the development of "monomania," which Campbell discovered after the patient offended a lady of means. Acknowledges that "lower Canada" has no places for the "treatment of the insane" except jails. Notes his high "venereal appetite" and case of syphilis, but does not believe him "addicted to masturbation." Mentions some family history with insanity.
1845 August 31. A. B. Elmson ALS to Dorcas N. Sawyer; Portland, [Maine].
Account of sickness in the family, describing her symptoms of fever, vomiting, and swelling. Fears her children are too sickly to be able to go to the city to be educated and spinal trouble eliminates the possibility of mechanical employments. Notes on benevolence and religion.
1845 October 13. Henry [C. Mayer] ALS to [Charles F. Mayer]; Westfield, [New York].
Sends thanks for the gift of books. His wife has not answered their letter on account of their children taking ill, with one struck with bilious fits. Medicine, diet, and exercise have failed to subdue his heart disease, “so that I have not been able to walk twenty paces without stopping from a sense of suffocation attended with palpitation and pain in the side and arm.” Met with Dr. Jones and Dr. Pelton locally and with Dr. Buckler and Dr. Hale in Washington, D.C. Discusses symptoms, doctors’ explanations of them, and attempted remedies for nosebleeds. Comments on the effect of climate on his health. Remarks on the Chesapeake & Ohio canal, the New York & Erie Railroad, politics, and nativism.
1846 January 17. Edward Whinery ALS to David Purviance; Fort Madison, I[owa] T[erritory].
Comments on Iowa. Believes himself to be the "No 1" physician in the area, "though there were seven or eight Physicians here when I came now there are but six and two of these are Herb Drs." Asks after Charlotte Fisher's health, as he has an obstetrics patient with similar symptoms which he cured when he "removed the foetus by an operation." Details of the house he is constructing and the possibility of building a "business house" as well. Believes there are more opportunities for business in Iowa than in Flushing, Ohio.
1846 January 20. Henry Fitch Farnsworth ALS to Luther Fitch; Memphis, [Tennessee].
Farnsworth, a man who is "engaged in dispensing & vending medicine" criticizes doctors for causing more harm than good and for practicing without training. The city of Memphis is growing and agricultural and manufacturing prospects are good.
1846 March 19. N. W. Fisher ALS to E. B. Walsworth; Palmyra, [New York].
Surprised that Gov. Seward based his defense of his client, Wyatt, on the grounds of moral insanity. Believes such a case shows the depravity of the times, corruption of the judicial system, and threatens to absolve criminals of guilt. Wonders if Seward will defend William Freeman on the same grounds. The temperance cause is doing well in his area. Invites Walsworth to visit and attend his Sabbath service.
1846 March 30. A. D. Bunnell ALS to Francis Austin; Keyport, New Jersey.
Regarding an order and shipment of fruit trees. Not able to fill the entire order and trees are of differing sizes, due to low stock. Notes prices and includes a bill.
1846 April 3. John Locke ALS to James Ferguson; Washington, D.C.
Declining invitation to address the Franklin Agricultural and Horticultural Society due to a previous engagement with the "Magnetical department of the coast survey of the United States." Can only speak for pay, having depleted his funds setting up a laboratory at the Medical College of Ohio and in promoting science. Recalls his personal history of working on a farm, and expresses sympathy and connection to agriculture. Endorses the combination of agricultural and scientific labors, and wishes scientists would "make themselves more worthy of the confidence of practical farmers and mechanics."
1846 May 6. E[dward] Newman ALS to Silvanus Thompson; [London, England].
Gives details on the Primula elatior, a flower, and tells how to differentiate the elatior from the jacquin types. Tried sending a copy of his manual to the University college but had the wrong address.
1846 May 30- June 2. S. C. Clemons ALS to Allen Clemons; New Orleans, [Louisiana].
Theory and specifications for a steam jet engine for ocean going vessels. Detailed description of how the mechanism would function.
1846 June 1. William M. Boling ALS to Lewis Shanks; Montgomery, Alabama.
Letter to Shanks, of the Memphis Medical College. Boling is flattered that he has been appointed Chair of the Theory and Practice of Surgery in the Medical Department of the University of Tennessee, but at present, he is unable to accept or decline. Two medical schools are currently being established in Memphis. Boling believes that only one will succeed and worries that he will attach himself to a school which will soon close. Boling would prefer the Chair of Obstetrics. [Note: Original located in the Harvey L. Sherwood Collection]
1846 June 17. [Lewis Weston] Dillwyn AL to Samuel Garney; [Swansea, Wales].
Sending a copy of his book.
1846 October. W[ooster] Beach Pr. LS to Joel Everett; New York, New York.
Request for a missionary in Smyrna to collect specimens for Beach’s new natural history museum in exchange for a copy of Beach’s medical work or for American specimens.
1847 February 19. F. G. De Peyster ALS to Andrew Nichols; New York, [New York].
Believes that water from the Croton aqueduct has caused illnesses. Iron in the underground water pipes is corroding. Has performed experiments with the water.
1847 February 28 - 1847 April 21. J[ane] D[ale] F[auntleroy] ALS to Miss Goldsmid; New Harmony, [Indiana], Cincinnati, [Ohio], & Louisville, [Kentucky].
Mr. Fauntleroy is gone most of the year tending to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Discusses Robert Dale Owen, regent of the Smithsonian, and the difficult work of getting the Institution running. Has begun her journey by steamboat to visit her husband, being accompanied by Alexander Dallas Bache, head of the Coast Survey. Hopes to write a book of "moral sentiments" for her children, and requests information on Syrian Jews, India, its caste system, and its relationship to England.
1847 June 21. George W. Jones ALS to Joseph W. Jones; Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
Regarding the Inventor’s Institute and its president Dr. Solomon Andrews. Describes Perth Amboy, the atmosphere at the Institute, and his dreams of becoming a practical mechanic. Written on a printed circular of the Inventor's Institute minutes from 19 May 1847.
1848 March 2- 1857 January 13. John M. Riggs Ds.; [Hartford, Connecticut?].
Three bills/receipts for dental work performed by Riggs for Romanta Wells and his children. Includes fillings, extractions, and creating dentures.
1848 June 3. S. J. Peabody ALS to Joseph Hillman; Ann Arbor, [Michigan].
Regarding patent medicine sales in Ann Arbor, particularly Osgood's Chologogue, and advice to print circulars in German for emigrants in the area. Discusses where they could sell their own chologogue and how to brand it. Describes broken bottles, wrappers, and packing boxes.
1848 June 7. Mary Pierce Jackson Dickinson ALS to Beulah N. Jackson; [Wellsboro, Pennsylvania].
Comments on William Norris's illness and death from fits, thought to be caused by smoking.
1848 September 2. E. Foreman ALS to Henry C[harles] Lea; Baltimore, [Maryland].
Offers fossil shells he exchanged with Dr. Tuomy and collected at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.
1848 September 3. Eliza Ingram ALS to Franklin Hubbard; Bensonville, [Massachusetts].
Taking the water cure. Describes the exercise regimen, high expenses, and the doctor. Gives advice to her sons for plain living, diet, and exercise in order to maintain their health. Written on a printed ad for the Northampton Water-Cure from Dr. David Ruggles.
1848 September 19. S. C. Dodge ALS to Charles R. Wright; Burlington, [Vermont].
Rules and customs of telegraphing. Advises to always charge by the word and never go over the line.
1848 October 1. Jervis [McEntee] ALS to M[ary] S[wan] McEntee; Fishkill Landing, [New York].
Written to his sister at the "Female department, Institute" at Clinton, New York. Mother and father are in town, with their father recovering from an ax wound. Describes the wound, the pain his father suffered, and Jervis's insistence on calling a surgeon. Details the treatment. Notes Dr. Ryer's visit to Rondout, describes his army officer's uniform, and his leaving for California soon. Mentions accidental deaths at Tarrytown "by the falling of a dirt bank" and other men "killed in the tunnel."
1848 December 23. Robert A[insworth] Mercer, Jr. ALS to James W. Ansley; Mobile, [Alabama ].
Has been working on a boat and has been sickly. Notes many deaths in New Orleans due to cholera and local fear because of it. Asks after acquaintances and sends respects. Feeling stronger after drinking "brandy strate," but warns Ansley not to tell on him. Attended a party, noting drinking alcohol and visiting with women. "...if the Cholera comes up your way all you got to do is drink good brandy."
1849 April 1. John A. Wills ALS to Charlotte L. Wills; Memphis, [Tennessee].
Discusses the cholera epidemic in Memphis, but is not worried as it is only among the lower classes. Takes precautions to avoid catching it, regardless.
1849 August 8. Samuel Lachman ALS to R[obert] C. Justis; St. Louis, [Missouri].
Cholera epidemic in St. Louis has claimed from 8,000 to 12,000 people, but seems to be ending. Names acquaintances who have died. Running a sawmill here is profitable. Knows a number of belles, who he will introduce to Justis.
1849 December 10. Emery [Putnam?] ALS to N. B. Putnam; Northampton, [Massachusetts].
Commenced water cure at Phillipsburgh, Pennsylvania, having trouble with his "liver, stomach and digestive organs." Had to stop treatment in order to teach, but remained ill and quit in order to resume it. Attributes depression to a malfunctioning liver. Was advised to go south rather than north for treatment and is now with Dr. Denison.
1849 December 23. Edward Hitchcock ALS to John H. Morrison; Amherst, [Massachusetts].
Defense of the concept of “bodily identity” and the possibility that God could recreate bodies in the same form even with different matter. Describes his understanding of how resurrection could function scientifically.
1850 May 2. William R. Prince & Co. DS to John T. James; Flushing, New York.
Invoice for plants and seeds sent to John James in Urbana, Ohio. Written on printed letterhead for "Prince's Linnaean Botanic Garden and Nurseries," which includes a list of books for sale.
1850 November 13. Daniel A. Robinson ALS to Superintendent Utica Lunatic Asylum; Farmington, New York.
Writing on behalf of the superintendent of the poor for Ontario County, New York. Describes the case of Mary Webb who fell into mania after an out of wedlock pregnancy and miscarriage and who shows signs of nymphomania. Notes treatments attempted and ongoing symptoms.
1851 January 31 - February 14. Amer Adye ALS to Zebina Cushman; Bainbridge, [Indiana].
Health of the family, including the death of newborn twins. Has been working a sawmill, providing details of their charges, difficulties with the river, and expectations for piloting logs to Natchez or New Orleans. Describes the land he acquired, improvements on it, and crops and livestock. Comments on the "bilious fever" caused by "a very great scent... which infected the atmosphere." Notes a Whig 4th of July Barbecue at Mount Carmel, Indiana. Describes the people in the region, noting their religion and lack of education. Discusses a cattle disease and its infection of people and dogs.
1851 February 18. Mason ALS to N. Carroll Mason; Jacksonville, [Florida].
Severe illness, probably tuberculosis, prevents his return home. Describes his symptoms and the failure of treatments.
1851 March 31. Esther Alexander ALS to Mary Hewitt; Rochester, [New York].
Has been unwell and too feeble to journey home. Skepticism of recent ‘spirit rapping’ demonstrations, and describes some doctors' investigations and debunking of them.
1851 September 11. George D. Coggeshall ALS to Brewer, Cushing, & Stevens; New York, New York.
Encloses resolutions adopted by the Board of Trustees of the College of Pharmacy, New York City. Regards standards on imported drugs and the establishment of a national convention of pharmacists.
1852 October 27. Cy; Albany, [New York].
Copy of a bill for amounts the County of Saratoga owes J[ames] H[enry] Salisbury at the State Laboratory for chemical analysis performed on specimens, per orders of William T. Odell, District Attorney. Describes the processes and analyses performed on samples, noting associated costs.
1853 September 10. Joseph Henry LS to Brantz Mayer; Washington, D.C.
Presenting a copy of the Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota Language from the Smithsonian, in recognition of the services Mayer has rendered.
1854 January 10. James Stewart ALS to Thorpe, Smith, Hanchett & Co.; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania].
Regarding the sale and acquisition of plants for an exotic florist shop in Syracuse. Mentions rare plants at Mr. Buist’s place.
1855 February 10. Horace Yeomans ALS to General Medical Officer of the Lunatic Asylum at Utica; Kingston, Canada.
Description of Yeomans’s history with Dr. P. G. Fitch, a patient at the asylum, and requests information on his case. Fitch had fallen ill and during his convalescence showed signs of insanity. Becomes agitated, harried, incoherent, and increasingly violent. Notes the efforts to remedy him, including medicine and blisters, to little effect.
1855 June 25. William H[enry] Cook ALS to Lydia J. Pierson; Cincinnati, [Ohio].
Requesting articles from Pierson for the Physio-Medical Recorder , a “radical Reform Medical paper” advocating the rights of women to medical education. Pierson had formerly supplied articles for the Journal of Medical Reform .
1855 June; 1855 September. New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum Ds to Collector of Cumberland County, New Jersey; Trenton, New Jersey.
Bills due for maintenance of patients from Cumberland County. Lists individuals, items, costs.
1855 August 20. R[oger] C. Phillips ALS to Jay Gould; Cincinnati, [Ohio].
Discusses a possible map of Cincinnati. Describes the character and nationality of the people of Cincinnati and Kentucky.
1856 September 13. Joseph Chandler Barrett ALS to Mrs. Chandler; Cohasset, Massachusetts.
Describes construction of a lighthouse at Minot’s Ledge. Gives specifications, cost, and difficulties faced. Discusses the family he boards with, newspapers, and briefly notes the politics of Fillmore and Fremont.
58 July 5. Sallie [Strahy?] ALS to "Uncle"; Mercer County, Virginia.
Wishes she could visit, but is deterred by the "fever and flux…raging in your neighborhood." Invites him to come visit instead.
59 September 16. James G[ ] ALS to Calvin E. Hull; Gallatin, Tennessee.
Notes from a travelling salesman on medicine sales in Nashville, [Tennessee], and the area. Requests two or three thousand almanacs, finds them especially good to distribute in the Market House. Selling medicine, which local doctors oppose due to it infringing on their sales at drug stores. "...Made a Cure on a doctors Wife. he will send you a certificate of cure made." Has been travelling in Kentucky and Tennessee, stopping at "a great many P[ost] offices & store towns not on map." Notes the sale of 1860 almanacs written by Ayer and Jayne and his desire "to get ahead of them if I can."
[c. 1850s?] October 2. Unknown ALS to “Brother”; Kershaw, South Carolina.
Is retiring from ministry due to weak lungs. Hopes to begin a farm, but must teach to raise money. Has been reading about the science of agriculture, and describes how science informs farming practices. Advocates the benefits of an education for farmers. Gives details on crop rotation, raising and feeding cattle, and agricultural journals and books. [Incomplete]
1860 June 8. Betsey G. [Pelton?] ALS to H. M. Gaylord; Beloit, Wisconsin.
Detailed account of tuberculosis symptoms and treatment. Also notes tornadoes.
1860 July 8. Hattie ALS to [Rebecca Price]; Colchester.
Family news. Tending to a woman who is ill. "A cancer is a dreadful disease, I never knew much about them before."
1860 August 2. J[ohn] Torrey ALS to [Joseph] Henry; New York, [New York].
News on fern research, conferring with specialists, and sharing specimens between researchers and the Smithsonian. References scientists such as Dr. Gray, Eaton, and Brackinridge. Miscellaneous scientific news.
1860 November 21. R[obert] Chambers ALS to Robert Clarke; Boston, [Massachusetts].
Regarding books received and friends in Cincinnati. Sends a portrait of himself [not included].
1860 December 2; 1861 January 1861. James [Townsend?] and C. Moore 2 ALSs to Charles and G. Moore; New Haven, Connecticut, and Cottonwood Oil Wells, Pennsylvania.
(7 pages [total])
Written on Townsend City Savings Bank stationery, the letter discusses stocks in the Seneca Oil Company, the amount of oil being produced, and profits. Includes religious reflections and gratitude, news of their mother's illness, South Carolina's secession, John Buchanan's negotiations with the forts, and laws relating to slavery in Virginia and Texas. The Moore letter gives a technical description of the process of preventing water from entering an oil well. Also discusses the attempts to drill deeper, struggles to get an effective well running in various locations, and an "ignorant engineer" who believes a Pittsburgh well had been running continuously for fifteen years.
1861 May 27. B[enjamin] C[ollins] Brodie ALS to [Benjamin Guy] Babington; Betchworth, Surrey.
Writing in reference to the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society's discussion of the treatment and recovery of persons suffering from asphyxia due to drowning. Concerned that the Society did not consider the length of the heart's action during cases of asphyxia. Notes his experiments on live animals and believes that contractions of the heart after several minutes of suffocation are not capable of fully circulating the blood. Does not think that once the heart has stopped due to asphyxiation that it can be restarted.
1866 January 3. William Doe & James Plumer Smith Pr. DS to William G. Tritt; Crawford, Pennsylvania.
Contract for shares in the Sugar Creek Eagle Petroleum Company's lands in Plum Township and Troy Township, Pennsylvania.
1866 November 12. J[ames] E[dwards] Oliver ALS to Ellen M. Wellman; Lynn, Massachusetts.
Writes of Charlotte Cushman's acting as Lady MacBeth and the philosophical questions it raised for him. Night watchmen will ring bells to alert the town of a meteor shower. Provides scientific details on meteors, including their velocity and power, which he compares to contemporary events and practices to provide scale. Describes how meteors gain speed in space, the formation of asteroid belts and new planets, and meteor showers.
1866 December 23. William H. Orr ALS to Mrs. Hasbrouck; New York, New York.
Hopes to visit and have a “Hygiene breakfast.” Written on The Herald of Health and Journal of Physical Culture stationery, which includes subscription information and a list of books on health and hygiene by publisher Miller, Wood & Co.
1868 May 4. Essex Institute Pr. D; Salem, Massachusetts.
Program for a meeting of the Essex Institute featuring a display of local marine invertebrates, including some under microscopes, and an address by Edward S. Morse. Specimens all acquired in the Salem area. Includes prints of aquatic life.
1869 December 18. William Wilson LS; Paddington, England.
Regrets not being able to respond to requests that require investigation, due to his busy schedule. Comments on botanical specimens sent to him and his numerous foreign correspondents. Is having difficulty arranging his collection and hoped his daughter could help remove duplicates, and gives short notes on assistants. Discusses possible trades in specimens. Experiences respiratory distress. A death notice for William Wilson and his interment at Hill Cliff Cemetery is also enclosed.
1870 April 14. T. H. Leavitt Litho. LS; Boston, Massachusetts.
Promoting and seeking information on peat fuel. Believes it to be a rising industry, as people grow weary of the cost and effects of their current fuel sources. Advocates it for use in "steam service both stationary and locomotive, as also marine," smelting and working with iron, and the production of bricks and glass. Produces machinery to make peat fuel.
1871 December 25. J[ared] P[otter] Kirtland ALS to Sophronia Camp; East Rockport, Ohio.
Feels isolated in Ohio, not spending much time in public except to vote. Studies natural science, horticulture, bee culture, and agriculture. Remembers Durham and describes associates in East Rockport. Comments on railroads, the improvement and use of lands in Ohio, and a grandson who had emotional difficulties. Traveled to Florida, where he met a woman and her family suffering economically after the war. Made their living with flower and vegetable gardening, practicing botany, and collecting local specimens. Gave him some shells and insects.
1872 February 19. Geo[rge] W. Latham ALS to Sarah; Elizabethport, [New Jersey?].
Recovering from a cold and uses sage tea to help with his night sweat. Notes a local man sick with typhoid fever and general illness in the area.
1872 December 7. Charles C[ardale] Babington ALS; Cambridge, [England].
Attempts to dissuade the recipient from destroying his herbarium and notes. Advises him to print labels for the mounted collection "to say that you are not answereable for the correctness of the name &c."
1873 March 18. George B[arrell] Emerson ALS to [Asa] Gray; [Boston, Massachusetts].
Asks after Gray's "draughtsman," Mr. Sprague, wishing him to produce drawings for his new edition of Trees and Shrubs .
1876 July 11- July 31. Dr. H. Earnest Goodman Docs. to Alice & N. S. Sherwood; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Four partially printed documents for dental services rendered to the Sherwoods and a stay at the Philadelphia Orthopedic Hospital.
1877 March 6. B[enjamin] C[ollins] Brodie ALS to J. R. R. Stebbing; Hawthornden, [Surrey].
Anticipating Stebbing’s departure. Asks for a recommendation for someone to continue working with his son.
1878 September 10. Society Francaise de Secours Mutuels de Lafayette DS; Brooklyn, New York.
Subscription list for donations for victims of yellow fever in the southern states.
1881 September 5. C[harles] H[enry] Hitchcock ALS to A[rnold] Guyot; Hanover, New Hampshire.
Thanks for sending the publication Contributions from the E.M. Museum . Pleased with the information on Dinocerata.
1884 August 18. James Hall ALS to Robert Clarke & Co.; Albany, [New York].
Seeking Kentucky Geological Survey publications. Inquiring due to information contained in Samuel Garman's On the Reptiles and Batrachians of North America .
1890 November 29. Erie Medical Company ALS and 4 printed items to S. Preston; Buffalo, New York.
(5 pages [total])
Solicitation for the sale of two books: Sexual Debility and Atrophy. A Book for Men, Married or Single , and A Treatise for Men Only . The works promise to cure sexual, physical, and emotional difficulties, restoring manhood. Includes separate printed advertisements for each volume, an order form, and a return envelope. Written on Erie Medical Co. illustrated stationery.
[c. 1890?]. Nellie [M. B.] ALS to Ida; s.l.
(5 pages [total])
Detailed account of consultation with a female physician, possibly a clairvoyant, who described the internal health of Nellie's acquaintances and recommended treatments of Ida’s bladder.
1894 February 23. Cora ALS to Ma Davis; Battle Creek, Michigan.
Cannot visit Ma as she remains ill. Cured of the grippe, but has a bronchial “affection” and works with a lung specialist. Calls herself a “medicated carcass.” Illustrated letterhead: “Battle Creek Sanitarium.”
[c. 1895]. A. P. Roth Pr. LS; Georgetown, Ohio.
Request for list of names of locals with eye problems. On letterhead for Narcissa Waterman, Eye Doctress.
1897 June 26. Sir John [William] Dawson ALS to J. Dangerfield; Little Meter, Quebec.
Argues against evolution, proclaiming the only known evolution is that of the embryo, "all others are imaginary and many of them absurd." Believes animal and plant evolution too complex for a simple hypothesis. Recommends his book Modern Ideas of Evolution .
1904 June. Bashford Dean TMsS; s.l.
"Memorandum Regarding Peale to Whom was Sent the Letter Signed By Larmarck [sic] and Geoffroy."
1913 May 13. Trevey Slack ALS to "Friend"; Moberly, [Missouri].
Letter by a con artist, describing various patent medicine sellers and successful techniques for duping customers. Specific mentions of "La Vita" medicine show, its techniques, wares, and profits. The head of the show travels with his family, ten African Americans, and a doctor. Other schemes mentioned: sales of books ( Multum in Parvo ), microscopes, typewriter parts, etc. Notes a salesman in Colorado selling an "Indian weed" on railroads, despite their attempts to stop him.
1935 November 30; 1936 January 2. J. F. Schirmer Partially printed DsS; Saginaw, Michigan.
"United States Internal Revenue Form for Opium or Coca Leaves, or Compounds, Manufactures, Salts, Derivatives or Preparations thereof under Section 2 of the Act of Congress, Approved December 17, 1914." Duplicates of the Schirmer Drug Company's order form for codeine syrup and opium derivate sent to the Hollings-Smith Company in Orangeburg, New York, and the Frank W. Kerr Company in Detroit, Michigan. Both issued November 19, 1935.
Undated. Carlo Acton ALS to Conte Veneratissimo; s.l.
On medicine. (In Italian)
Undated. Ruth Cuffe ALS to Loisea Crownishield [Louisa Crowninshield?]; s.l.
Sending items recently purchased, likely medicines for women's health. "you muste take it a longe Between time of having your month turns." Mentions herbal remedies, including mouse-ear tea. Signed, "Ruth Cuffee doctrish."
Undated. Emily ALS to Elizabeth T. Hall; [Hopkinton, Massachusetts].
State and treatment of illness following the birth of a baby. Taking oil in an attempt to relive bowel distress.
Undated. John D. Godman ALS to R[obert] Walsh, Jr.; s.l.
Letter to the editor of the National Gazette . Writes on the foundation of The American Journal of the Medical Sciences , its principles, and its reception in Europe.
Undated. M. Hogan ALS to Thomas [Butler?]; [New York].
Details of trying to send letters to Madame de Malleveault in the West Indies. Supports taking a trip to France for health reasons. Change in climate "fortifies a constitution and gives new vigour."
Undated. J. R.S. L. ALS; s.l.
Comments on the doctor's recommendation of using morphine for the recipient's recurring headaches.
Undated. Washington Medical Society Df; Washington County.
Draft constitution of the Washington Medical Society, laying out rules of governance and calling members to take memorandum of extraordinary cases and discoveries.
Undated. Ms.; s.l.
Recipes for an ointment and to relieve stomach pain.
Undated. Ms.; s.l.
“Treatment of the Cholera.” Describes symptoms, treatments, and recipes for medicine. Incomplete and in two hands.
Undated. Ms.; s.l.
Recipe for medicinal tea to treat the ague, made from bark and roots. Includes directions on how frequently to drink the medicine.
Undated. AL to Charlotte; Upper Bangor, [Gwynedd, Wales].
Hopeful that Charlotte is in better health, and notes his own recovery from a neurological disorder. Still suffering from indigestion, and describes the actions necessary to eat due to “not being able to masticate my food properly for want of teeth.” Comments on the woman he had been boarding with, having to move out as she came near “her confinement” and his prejudices against the Welsh. Discussion of unemployment, separation, and depression. First page includes a black mourning border.