Receipt book of Francis Kittredge, 1780

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Content Notes

Contains instructions for preparing and administering medicine for adults and children, and generalized uses for certain ingredients, written by Dr. Francis Kittredge (1728-1808) in 1780. Preparations include ointment for scurvy, bone ointment, nerve ointments, procedures to soothe a sore mouth and to stop excessive bleeding, and treatment to kill worms. The materials used to prepare bone ointment include fresh butter, hog fat, chamomile, garlic, and night shade, among other ingredients. The recipe for "simple nerve ointment" instructs the preparer to simmer half a pint of neet foot oil, a pint of rum, and one jell of oil of turpentine over a "gentle fire." Kittredge writes that oil of St. John's Wort is effective in treating swelling of the legs, for cold and aches, and for burning and scalds, while oil of Elderflower is indicated for belly aches. The manuscript is housed in a binding created by the Harvard Medical School library. Tipped into the binding is one letter from Frederick O. West, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, that accompanied his donation of the Kittredge receipt book to the library in 1919. There is also one letter of unknown provenance enclosed with the receipt book, which contains an inventory of the estate of Antipas Brigham, of Grafton, Massachusetts, signed by Worcester County Judge Joseph Wilder on 7 November 1749. It is unclear if this letter has any connection to Frederick O. West or Francis Kittredge.

Biographical Notes

Francis Kittredge (1728-1808) was a physician in Boston and New Hampshire. In 1775, Kittredge was appointed by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts to be a surgeon at a Boston hospital, one of several that were established to help treat wounded soldiers during the American Revolution. His son, Francis Kittredge (1758-1837), was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and physician practicing in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. It is unclear which Kittredge created the receipt book.