Digital Highlights: Tea with Mrs. Quantock

Any fan of E.F. Benson’s Lucia series will remember Daisy Quantock, Lucia’s next-door neighbor in the village of Riseholme. Benson describes Daisy as being a middle-aged woman in perfect health and therefore devoted to whatever diet or exercise fad comes her way. In the opening chapters of Queen Lucia, the first novel in the series, Daisy is a firm believer in cleansing, particularly in cleansing uric acid from her system. Her husband is quite impatient with the system since it means a longer reign of a bad cook hired when Daisy was under the sway of Christian Science and endless lectures from his wife on the dangers to his system of the foods he craves.

Perhaps Daisy and her cook would have pored over something like The Apsley cookery book (1905), a collection of 448 recipes for those on the uric-acid-free diet. The authors provide recipes for everything from soup to nuts, quite literally, along with introductory chapters extolling the virtues of the diet, suggesting proper cookware, and a table of “food values.”

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read The Apsley cookery book.

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Digital Highlights: “The Magic Monitor”

This is a small book; but it contains as much reading as a large and heavy volume of five hundred pages, printed in large type. I mention this fact so that you will not mis-estimate the amount of labor I have performed to get it up. No one but myself can ever understand, or form a correct idea of, the research, study, experiment and experience that have been expended on these pages.

Most authors probably feel this way about their published works, but H. Monnett wanted to be sure there was no possibility for confusion when it came to his The magic monitor and medical intelligencer : containing wonderful and elaborate revelations concerning the following subjects–love, courtship & marriage, how to prevent an increase of family, how to cure self-abuse and its results, the detection, prevention & cure of all private diseases, etc.

The heading for his first chapter is almost equally eyecatching, in part declaring MERCURY! Beware of it. Monnett himself espouses a herbal system. He goes on to make brief mention of a number of Desultory Items, including that the healthiest children are born in the spring (February through May), that marriage blunts the imagination, and that “consumption” (presumably tubercular infection) has been corrected in both men and women through marriage.

Given that The magic monitor was published in 1857 it is, perhaps, depressing in its familiarity for the modern reader to find Monnett enthusiastically promoting the doctrine that a woman cannot become pregnant from a rape. Certainly the idea is nothing new.

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read The magic monitor.

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Digital Highlights: Who Wants to be a Mesmerist?

Who doesn’t want to finish up the summer with a new skill? Why not try mesmerism! Thomas Welton is here to help with his 1884 Mental Magic: “The public again, after a lapse of 20 years, being much interested in the above subject, and having no clear explanation given to them on it or how to produce for themselves far higher Phenomena of the same class, I venture to hope that this work will not be unwelcome…”

Welton not only offers step-by-step instructions on how to mesmerise, but also instructions on using the planchette, a divination tool popular among spiritualists. The planchette was something like a wheeled Ouija board, the idea being that the spiritual power would transfer through the medium and into the board through touch and then make itself known by writing on a sheet of paper laid below.

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read Mental magic: a rationale of thought reading, and its attendant phenomena and their application to the discovery of new medicines, obscure diseases, correct delineations of character, lost persons and property, mines and prings of water, and all hidden and secret things.

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Digital Highlights: Overworking Your Brain

“Brain-work” may not be something we’re thinking about in the middle of the summer but the dangers of overwork are always with us — at least, so thinks Horatio C. Wood. In 1880, he published Brain-work and overwork to publicize his view of the causes and cures of mental over-exertion which include gluttony and artificial stimulants — it seems unlikely that his arguments against coffee and tea made many converts. Still less attractive to the modern readers are his criticisms of the modern working woman: “Among the saddest wrecks of our modern civilization are the faded, heartless, helpless, and hopeless women…” (73)

Flip through the pages below or click this link to read Brain-work and overwork.

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Digital Highlights: “Every Man Can Be His Own Doctor”

Who doesn’t enjoy a good self-help read from time to time? This one comes stocked with suggestions for home medical treatment, rules for healthy living, and suggestions on how to take out stains (among other recipes)!

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read The American household adviser : an ever ready guide for the wants of the family (1875).

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Digital Highlights: Anyone for Tea?

Around this time of year, most of us enjoy some good iced tea from time to time: perhaps green or black, maybe with lemon, maybe with mint, or maybe some southern “sweet tea” (which I’ve never gotten to taste!)

A. Ibbotson’s 1910s (possibly 1912? but there’s no date given) volume on Tea, from grower to consumer could be a nice light read to have with your tea, illustrated with photographs of tea plantations and starting with a beautiful frontispiece of the tea plant.

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read Tea, from grower to consumer.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlights: “The Hospital Pupil’s Guide Through London”

The hospital pupil’s guide through London, in a seres [sic] of letters : from a pupil at St. Thomas’s Hospital to his friend in the country ; recommending the best manner of a pupils employing his time, and interspersed with amusing anecdotes relative to the history and oeconomy of hospital’s [sic] (1800) claims to be a collection letters sent from a medical student in London to a friend who is planning to come to London and matriculate in the same medical school. There is no author name, although the initials “J.C.” are appended to a brief introductory letter directed to the country student’s sister. (The country student did not survive to come to London.)

J.C. (assuming those to be the initials of the author) writes an amusing and highly readable account of his time in London, discussing the student hierarchy (“The only persons more priveledged [sic] than Dressers are the Apprentices…” (11)), the order of his lectures (“…almost before I am awake, I go to the Midwifry [sic] Lecture…” (13)), and the design of London hospitals (“The entrance to Mr Guys [sic] Hospital is certainly very grand…” (34)). He describes student life, talks about his classes, and gives his friend advice over how and when to matriculate and with what professors for which subjects.

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read The hospital pupil’s guide.

Digital Highlights: News for (Alumnae) Nurses

In February of 1907, the Alumnae Association of the School for Nursing at the New York Hospital agreed upon the publication of a newsletter for their alums: “It is hoped that the paper, if continued, may help to keep the members of the association in closer touch with one another…” Eight members were appointed to “gather news.”

This inaugural issue included notes about a fund for sick nurses, and brief notes about alumnae clubs and members: “The new Club rules have been drawn up, and submitted to the nurses for approval. Mrs. Robinson is abroad for an indefinite time.”

As time went on, the newsletter included more content: news about the school, notification of upcoming meetings and events of interest to alumnae, and general pieces about the state of the nursing profession.

Click through the pages below or follow this link to read The Alumnae News.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlights: Coram and the Foundlings

b21686464_0006The Foundling Hospital, founded in 1739 by Captain Thomas Coram in London, is the subject of John Brownlow’s 1858 The history and design of the Foundling Hospital : with a memoir of the founderAt the time of the book’s publication, the Hospital was still on its original site in in Bloomsbury. The Hospital has since transitioned into a charitable foundation, named after the founder of the Hospital: Coram.

The Hospital itself has a fascinating history, starting from the very beginning with Coram’s lengthy struggle to get a Royal patent for the hospital and Parliamentary guarantees of funding to allow more children to be taken in. Approximately ninety-two children were taken in per year in the first fifteen years of the Hospital’s operations, the only restrictions in acceptance being a transmissible disease such as smallpox or syphilis. (9)

Brownlow’s is not the only history of the hospital and the London Metropolitan Archives and the Foundling Museum curate the Hospital’s records. Brownlow records that, as time went on and it became possible either that parents would want to reclaim their children or children track down their parents, those surrendering a child were requested to leave an identifying token: “A half-crown, of the reign of Queen Anne, with a hair. An old silk purse. A silver fourpence, and an ivory fish. A stone cross, set in silver.” (18) Many of these items, being quite durable, have survived and are held by one or the other of the above institutions.

Flip through the pages of Brownlow’s book below or follow this link to read The history and design of the Foundling Hospital : with a memoir of the founder.

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Digital Highlights: CSI (circa 1905)

Police procedurals — such as the popular CSI series and its spin-offs and imitators — were not the cultural presence in turn of the century America that they are today. The development of the detective story and the crime novel are fascinating topics in and of themselves, but so is the development of “legal medicine” — what we might now call “forensic pathology.”

Frank W. Draper was one of the original practitioners of legal medicine in Massachusetts. He held positions at Harvard University, first in 1877 as a lecturer in legal medicine under Professor Walter Channing and then in 1884 as a professor of the same subject. When the Office of the Massachusetts Medical Examiner was created in 1877 to replace the officer of the coroner, Draper was appointed as the first ME for the Commonwealth.

Draper wrote one of the original North American texts on legal medicine, A text-book of legal medicine in 1905 — as with many professors since his appointment, he had to create the textbook for the classes he taught.

Flip through the pages below or visit A text-book of legal medicine to read Draper’s full text.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!