Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bill from Doctor Beam - 1805

Today I have decided to dip into the Cronin Fonds, which was donated to the Annapolis Heritage Society about a year ago, for another archival document. As I have been able to spend some time looking through this collection in the past few weeks, I am even more convinced that this is a historical treasure trove. Every time I look through this material there is something else which catches my interest. I must admit that I also going through material that is, for the most part, totally unknown to the wider world of historians.

Today's transcription is of a medical prescription from Dr. Beam. This is almost certainly Dr. Frederick Bohme who was working as a local physician at the time this note was written. Dr Bohme (1751 - 1831) is buried at Old St Edwards Church in Clementsport. The note itself is written on a small sheet of laid paper with no evident watermark. Sadly, the page has been exposed to water at some point in its history since it bears a large tide mark. There are also a few areas of loss which unfortunately hide a few of the key details. By the way, the prescription is fairly disgusting by any standard.

I should mention that the photograph in today's post has absolutely nothing to do with the topic. This is an image from a carte-de-visite which I purchased at an antique store a few years ago. The photograph, probably taken in the 1880s, is kept in an archival enclosure and mounted on the wall of my office at work. There is a pleasant madness to this image which I find appealing. When asked, I tell people that I keep this image on the wall so I am not the craziest looking person in the office. In actual fact, this may be the look which you develop once you take the following course of medical treatment.

Bill fr Doctor Beam 1805

Begin first with the vomit: mix it in eight tablespoons of warm water and take one tablespoonful every 15 minutes till it vomits freely and briskly 8 or 10 times; drinking plentifully of warm water to help its working.

The next night take two of the pills at bed time and next morning two of them every two hours till they work downward and then stop: Take a dose of them in this manner every week.

Boil the ingredients in a quart of water for ten minutes and when cold put a pint of ??? to it: take tablespoonfuls of this and ??? teaspoonfuls of the Drops in the vial three times a day when the Stomach is most empty in some Mint Tea. Your Food should be light and easy of digestion; and you must carefully abstain from every excess in the use of Spiritous Liquors.

Mr Calvert

All for now,
RGS

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