Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900

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Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900 offers access to a collection of highly visual primary source material, together with supplementary features designed to aid research and teaching. The resource documents the history of ‘popular’ remedies and treatments in nineteenth century America.

The material covers popular trends such as phrenology, herbal medicine and hydrotherapy, and documents the rise of widespread advertising by commercial manufacturers of medical aids. The intended audience for these products was the ordinary man in the street rather than medical professionals, with the focus upon enabling him to treat himself and his family at home using an array of inventive methods and fashionable techniques.


  • A wide-ranging collection of illustrated trade cards, advertising popular remedies
  • Popular texts written for the general public to educate them on treating their medical conditions themselves
  • Ephemera and business documents relating to manufacturing and advertising
  • Writings on preventive medicine and guides to a healthy regimen
  • Comical illustrations satirizing the ‘quack’ doctor
  • ‘Self-help’ guides, focusing on common topics of interest such as sexual health, childbirth, and care of children

Provider: Adam Matthew
Coverage: 1800-1900

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