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Library Company of Philadelphia
Every Man His Own Doctor: Popular Medicine in Early America
by James N. Green, curator. Essays by Charles E. Rosenberg and William H. Helfand.
Charles Rosenberg's essay provides an historical context for the approximately ninety books and pamphlets in the exhibition, which range in date from the early eighteenth century to about 1870. They range widely in subject matter as well, but they all have one feature in common: they were intended to be read by laypersons, not by doctors. Indeed, one of the main themes is the role played by the printing press in disseminating medical knowledge to the public and in promoting systems of practice. Some popular medical books were little more than advertisements. This fact provides a link to William Helfand's essay on the history of the advertising of medical services and proprietary medicines in America in the same period of time. Mr. Helfand's essay provides the context for the sixty or so broadsides, prints, and posters that line the walls of the gallery. Some of the most striking images are reproduced here. (Philadelphia: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1998.)
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